Rest in peace, Mary Maloney

Democrats all over Iowa were saddened by the news that Polk County Treasurer Mary Maloney died unexpectedly on January 29. Many who offered their condolences on social media described Maloney as a true public servant. Her work since 1989 to modernize the treasurer’s office and keep it running smoothly was highly regarded. She was often the highest vote-getter in Iowa’s largest county when she was on the ballot, even outperforming other Polk County officials who ran for re-election unopposed.

Many personal friends and colleagues remarked on how kind and caring Maloney was. I’ve enclosed some remembrances below. Although I didn’t know Maloney well, her kindness came through in all of my interactions with her over the years.

The Bleeding Heartland community sends healing thoughts to all of Mary Maloney’s loved ones, especially her husband and four children.

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Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2021

The Iowa Senate convened for its 2021 session on January 11 with 31 Republicans, eighteen Democrats, and one vacancy in the district formerly represented by Mariannette Miller-Meeks. A record twelve senators are women (seven Democrats and five Republicans), up from eleven women in the chamber last year and double the six who served prior to 2018.

I enclose below details on the majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing Iowa Senate committees. Where relevant, I’ve mentioned changes since last year’s legislative session. A few committees have new Republican leaders.

All current state senators are white. The only African American ever to serve in the Iowa Senate was Tom Mann, elected to two terms during the 1980s. No Latino has ever served in the chamber, and Iowa’s only Asian-American senator was Swati Dandekar, who resigned in 2011.

Some non-political trivia: the 50 Iowa senators include two Smiths, a Democrat and a Republican. As for first names, there are three Jeffs, three Zachs, and two men each named Craig, Mark, Dan, Jim, and Tim.

UPDATE: Republican Adrian Dickey won the January 26 special election to represent Senate district 41, giving the GOP a 32-18 majority. After he’s sworn in, I’ll note his committee assignments below.

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Iowa needs more midwives to save lives

Rachel Bruns continues a series of posts addressing the quality of maternal health care in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

This article is all about midwives. I will be using this space to expand on four different needs in our state to improve the access and quality of maternal-child health care in Iowa. All of them are interrelated. If Iowa accomplishes these four things, we will see an improvement in maternal-child health outcomes across all races, accessibility of care options in all geographies, and an overall increase in quality and satisfaction from patients. 

The four areas I will address are:

  • The need to diversify our workforce and address birth equity (this is connected to the next 2 items)
  • The need to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)
  • The need to expand access to Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs).
  • The need to expand access to birth centers.
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    Iowa Senate Democrats' wrongheaded thinking

    Jon Green is a former mayor of Lone Tree, where he resides. He works in information technology. -promoted by Laura Belin

    The Iowa Senate Democratic caucus has penis problems.

    To wit: State Senator Nate Boulton. During his 2018 gubernatorial bid, Boulton was credibly accused of sexually assaulting three women. Brianne Pfannenstiel of the Des Moines Register broke the story. Pfannenstiel, quoting Boulton:

    “I don’t have the same recollection,” he told the Register. “But I am not going to offer any additional context to this, other than to say if someone’s perspective is that it was inappropriate and I crossed a line and I misread a situation in a social setting, I do apologize.”

    He declined to comment on or discuss the specific incidents, saying, “I think if I add context it quickly becomes victim-blaming, and I don’t want to go down that path.”

    Only a lawyer could find that statement satisfying. While Boulton did drop out of the governor’s race soon after, he retained his Iowa Senate seat.

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    Record number of women will serve in Iowa Senate; fewer elected to House

    Second in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

    The non-profit 50-50 in 2020 dissolved early this year after working for a decade to increase women’s representation in Iowa politics. Although our state has elected a woman governor, a woman to the U.S. Senate (twice), and will have women representing three of the the four Congressional districts for the next two years, we have a long way to go toward parity in the Iowa legislature.

    When lawmakers convene in Des Moines in January, women will make up one-quarter of the Iowa Senate for the first time. However, the number of women serving in the House will drop below one-third of the chamber.

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    Abortions up 25 percent after Iowa GOP replaced family planning program

    Who could have predicted it, other than anyone familiar with reproductive health care?

    Republican lawmakers and Governor Terry Branstad eliminated Iowa’s successful Medicaid Family Planning Waiver in 2017 and created a new state program that excluded abortion providers. The move forced Planned Parenthood to close four of its Iowa clinics around the state and dramatically decreased the number of Iowans receiving birth control and other reproductive services.

    Preliminary data from the Iowa Department of Public Health indicate that Iowans had 25 percent more abortions in 2019 than in the previous year.

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