# Jerry Sullivan

Weekend open thread: Halloween and local elections

Lousy weather for trick-or-treating last night, but the Windsor Heights Fire Department had a truck going round handing out glow-sticks to the kids. That was fun for the kids.

I miss the days when more people handed out home-made food on Beggars’ Night. There was a guy in my neighborhood in the 1970s who would set up a grill in his driveway and give all the trick-or-treaters hot dogs to eat. People don’t know enough of the neighbors to do that today. We did take an apple from our neighbor two doors down, though.

We saw some impressive pumpkins in our neighborhood, but this photo diary has some of the most creative carvings I’ve ever seen.

Although my kids don’t like face-painting, I liked this article on makeup safety for kids.

Blog for Iowa has a good post up on sugary cereals marketed to children.

There are yard signs all over Windsor Heights for Tuesday’s local elections. I’m voting to re-elect Jerry Sullivan as mayor and Flo Hunter and Diana Willits as City Council members. Diana happens to be a Republican, and I don’t know what Flo’s voter registration is, but they are both doing a great job. They don’t just show up for council meetings; I see them volunteering at every event in Colby Park. In general, I feel this community has more to offer families than it did in the past, and I like the focus on redevelopment and more events like music and movies in the park.

What’s going on in your community? Are you involved in any local election? John Deeth is voting for the students in the Iowa City election.

I have friends on all sides in the race to replace Michael Kiernan as at-large member of the Des Moines City Council. Skip Moore has been endorsed by many labor unions, Leisha Barcus has been endorsed by the Des Moines Register, and the Association of Professional Firefighters is backing David Adelman.

The price of a flawed coordinated campaign

The “prevailing wage” bill, one of organized labor’s top legislative priorities, stalled in the Iowa House on Friday as Democrats were unable to find a 51st vote. Apparently the plan is to try to twist someone’s arm over the weekend:

House Speaker Pat Murphy will keep the voting machine open the entire weekend until Democrats can convince one of their dissenting members to change their vote. The move will mean Murphy will have to sleep in the chamber over the weekend.

“I want to be sure that taxpayer money is going to responsible Iowa employers who pay a decent wage, not employers who take advantage of people like we’ve seen in Postville and Atalissa,” Murphy said. “As the presiding officer of the House, I will stay in the Speaker’s chair and the voting machine will remain open until Monday. My goal is to get 51 votes and make sure we have good-paying jobs for middle class families.”

This post is not about the merits of the bill, which I support. (Click here for background on House file 333, which “would require that companies that contract for public projects pay workers wages and benefits comparable to private projects in the area.”)

This post is about why Democratic House leaders now face two unappealing outcomes: either they fail to pass a good bill supported by a key Democratic constituency, or they force one of their members into an embarrassing about-face that could affect the next election campaign.

Further thoughts on this mess are after the jump.

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Events coming up this weekend and next week

Please post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you know of some event I’ve left out.

Friday, January 30:

Congressman Bruce Braley is holding a town hall meeting on the economic stimulus at 10:00 am at the Grand River Center (meeting rooms 2 and 3), 500 Bell Street in Dubuque. Braley’s town hall meetings on the economy are free and open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at http://braley.house.gov.

From Polk County Democrats:

The Ankeny Area Democrats and The Polk County Democrats Present An Inauguration Celebration Dinner At The Iowa State Historical Building

with special guest Congressman Leonard Boswell and State Affirmative Action Chair Shenica Graham will sing a tribute song she wrote for President Obama, “I Believe.”

Special presentation of appreciation for 2008 candidates: Nita Garvin, Dr. Alan Koslow, Matt Pfaltzgraf, John Scarpino, Richard Sosalla, Jerry Sullivan

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catered by Baratta’s Restaurant

Social Hour begins at 6:00 PM

Dinner at 7:00 PM

Live music through the Musician’s Union

Tickets $25 per person

Tickets include chicken / pasta dinner and sides, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea or water

Semi-formal attire encouraged, but not required

Please bring a food item for the Des Moines Area Religious Council to be distributed to the local food pantries.

Tickets available by calling Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or Mary Oliver at 515-964-1227

Email polkdems@gmail.com or Ankenyareadems@msn.com

Saturday, January 31:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

IRR is developing a River Stewards Program to address concerns about the public’s general disconnect from rivers.  We have conducted a couple of brainstorming sessions in recent months and have envisioned River Rascals, a river steward program that will offer opportunities for youth to learn more about the importance of rivers and problems associated with them.  We want to engage educators and anyone interested to help develop and implement a program for youth that focuses on river appreciation, recreation and stewardship. We invite you to the upcoming planning session to help make the vision a reality!

River Rascal Program Planning Session

Saturday, January 31, 2009, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Polk County Conservation Board’s Jester Park Lodge, 11407 NW Jester Park Drive, Granger, IA

Agenda: Provide ideas and feedback on draft program details, including curriculum, educators/presenters/partners/mentors, potential participants, venue options, and funding options

No cost (pizza and beverages will be brought in – small cash contribution welcome)

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org or 515-202-7720

Tuesday, February 3:

Ed Fallon will discuss civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples on Jan Mickelson’s radio show. Mickelson is a local Rush Limbaugh clone, and I’M for Iowa is encouraging supporters of marriage equality to listen and call in. The show runs from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. on WHO Radio (1040 AM), and you can participate by calling (515) 284-1040.

One Iowa is organizing a forum on marriage equality at 7:00 pm in the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 834 Broad St. in Grinnell.

Wednesday, February 4:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

Iowa Rivers Revival invites you to join us for a legislative reception to engage Iowa legislators about the importance of our rivers and how they provide many economic, environmental and recreational resources for our state.  Come and share your river experiences. […]  

Our first reception held in January 2008 was a great success – over 50 supporters, including bi-partisan representation from at least 15 Iowa legislators, attended the last-minute event.  This reception provides an opportunity for Iowa’s political leaders to recognize that rivers have representation and an increasing base of support advocating on their behalf.  The purpose of this reception is to raise awareness and to continue having conversations about the issues concerning Iowa’s rivers and our connections to rivers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Noodle Zoo Café

E 6th & Locust, Des Moines

4:30 – 6:30 PM

No cost

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

The Iowa Recycling Association is sponsoring an Educators Conference on February 4, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, at Plymouth Church, 4126 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. Topics and Speakers include “Green Streets”:  Jeff Geerts, Iowa Department of Economic Development; “Marketing Programs on a Budget”:  Mark Signs, Trees Forever; “Character Counts”:  Eric Martin, Character Counts; “Partnerships for Effective Education”:  Mary Gillespey, Darven Kendell, Bev Wagner. Pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $30 before January 1, 2009 and $40 after January 1. A waste free lunch will be provided. Register online at http://www.iowarecycles.org/co… and send payment to: Iowa Recycling Association,  PO Box 10954, Cedar Rapids, IA  52410. For more information contact: Bev Wagner, beverly.wagner@loras.edu or 563-588-7933.

Friday, February 6:

The Iowa Network for Community Agriculture is holding its 14th Annual Local Food Conference on February 6-7 in Clear Lake. The conference is an opportunity to connect the local food “dots” in North Iowa, expand your local food knowledge with dynamic workshops, and celebrate the capacity to sustain ourselves and our communities. Come meet and eat with other local food enthusiasts. Full conference information at http://www.growinca.org.

There will also be a “slow food fundraiser” for INCA in the evening:


FRIDAY, FEB. 6, STARTS at 5:30pm

LAKE COFFEE HOUSE – HWY. 122 (old hwy. 18), CLEAR LAKE, IA (next to Subway – please call if you need directions)

COST: $20


Two wine tastings

Fabulous Iowa-produced appetizers

Great Iowa-produced (and locally-made) soup

and… a Fabulous Iowa chef, author and Slow Food Extraordinaire – Chef Kurt Michael Friese

Additional tickets available at event:

Ticket for one glass of wine – $5

Ticket for 3 extra tastings – $5

Event begins at 5:30 with wine and appetizers.

At 6:30 we’ll hear more from our special guest, Kurt Michael Friese, who will share with us his journeys as chef and owner of local food restaurant icon, Devotay, in Iowa City.  Kurt will also read from his new book with us, A Cook’s Journey – Slow Food in the Heartland, published last August.  Kurt serves on the Board of Directors for Slow Food USA. We are excited to have Kurt join us for this weekend event.

To get tickets and information for Friday’s fundraiser, please contact:

Lisa Stokke



Send check made out to “SLOW FOOD CLEAR LAKE” to:

Lisa Stokke 909 2nd Ave. S., Clear Lake, Iowa  50428

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

Savanna Workshops for Teachers and Naturalists

Join us for the workshop: Iowa’s Roadside Native Communities: Savanna, on Feb. 6-8, 2009 and Apr.24-25, 2009 at Baymont Inn, Coralville, IA. Learn how to help your students explore and improve Iowa Prairies/Savanna. For primary through Community College teachers and naturalists. Participants receive 2 UNI graduate credits, materials, meals and housing for only $180 due to grants. For more information please visit http://www.uni.edu/ceee/eii. Request a paper brochure at bollwinkel@uni.edu, or call 319-273-2783.

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Bleeding Heartland Year in Review: Iowa politics in 2008

Last year at this time I was scrambling to make as many phone calls and knock on as many doors as I could before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

This week I had a little more time to reflect on the year that just ended.

After the jump I’ve linked to Bleeding Heartland highlights in 2008. Most of the links relate to Iowa politics, but some also covered issues or strategy of national importance.

I only linked to a few posts about the presidential race. I’ll do a review of Bleeding Heartland’s 2008 presidential election coverage later this month.

You can use the search engine on the left side of the screen to look for past Bleeding Heartland diaries about any person or issue.

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New thread on Iowa election results

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that overall turnout in Iowa in 2008 was lower than it was in 2004. That is surprising, given the well-documented surge in new voter registrations.

Which people who participated in 2004 stayed home yesterday, and how did that affect the results?

Tom Harkin won all 99 counties, which is remarkable considering that John McCain beat Barack Obama in 46 or 47 of Iowa’s counties. Even in Republican areas, they’re looking for more in a U.S. senator than trash talk and smackdowns. Does anyone remember whether Chuck Grassley carried all 99 counties in 2004?

(UPDATE: The Daily Kos election scoreboard shows Christopher Reed beating Harkin in Page County in the southwest part of the state and in the four counties in the northwest corner. There may be a mistake on the Des Moines Register’s map, which shows all 99 counties in blue for the Senate race.)

The words “idiot” and “insane person” will be removed from the Iowa Constitution.

Speaking of idiots, Steve King got away with barely campaigning in the fifth district, winning by at least 20 points. Politics can be cruel, and I feel for Rob Hubler, who worked so hard for so long to give fifth district residents a credible candidate.

Nationwide, many Democratic challengers in districts like IA-05 fell far short. Nancy Boyda, a surprise winner from 2006 in KS-02, was a surprise loser last night. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested millions of dollars in other similarly Republican districts like MN-06 and AZ-03, and our challengers lost those too.

After beating Kim Schmett by 57 percent to 42 percent (about double his margin of victory in 2006), third district Congressman Leonard Boswell immediately vowed to run for re-election in 2010. Can’t some Democratic heavy-hitters who are on good terms with Boswell encourage him to retire? Barring that, is there anyone willing to start fundraising for a 2010 primary challenge who would have some establishment support?

We may have to run against Tom Latham in a redrawn third district in 2012, and it would be helpful to have a new Democratic incumbent in place before that happens.

Bruce Braley was the incumbent re-elected by the largest margin, 64 percent to 36 percent. I agree with John Deeth that Republican moderates are going to challenge Dave Hartsuch in his 2010 state senate primary.

Dave Loebsack won big in the second district, by 57 percent to 39 percent. The hill in this D+7 district is just too steep for a Republican candidate to climb. Mariannette Miller-Meeks would be better off seeking a different political office in the future, although the Iowa GOP may encourage her to run for Congress again in 2010. Loebsack won’t have the Barack Obama turnout machine cranking in Johnson and Linn counties two years from now.

Iowa Democrats are looking at small net gains in the House and Senate. Dawn Pettengill got away with switching to the GOP after the Iowa Democratic Party worked hard to elect her. A couple of races may have a different result once the absentee and provisional ballots are counted. Deeth has more details.

Jerry Sullivan has not ruled out requesting a recount in House district 59, although it seems unlikely to me that there are enough provisional and absentee ballots outstanding for him to reverse Chris Hagenow’s 141-vote lead (out of more than 16,000 votes cast).

UPDATE: Johnson County voters narrowly approved a controversial bond measure. The proposal was designed to generate

$20 million in a 20-year period to conserve open space.

By collecting taxes for two decades, the Johnson County Conservation Board will have the funds to buy and preserve remnant areas of land scattered throughout the county from willing sellers.

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Open thread on last-minute robocalls and lit drops

Which candidates and interest groups did you hear from on the eve of the election?

On Monday afternoon at 1:40 pm I got a robocall urging me to “get the facts” before voting. The “facts” are that Jerry Sullivan (Democratic candidate in House district 59) supported the Project Destiny proposal that Polk County voters resoundingly rejected in a July 2007 referendum.

I think the robocall erroneously claimed that Project Destiny would have raised my property taxes, when in fact it would have reduced property taxes while increasing the local sales tax.

The robocall went on to say that Sullivan is financially backed by groups wanting to pass some kind of legislation I couldn’t hear, because my son was making a lot of noise in the background. It may have had something to do with unions or collective bargaining, because when I called Sullivan’s campaign manager to tell him about the call, he said Republicans were lit-dropping a piece yesterday saying Jerry Sullivan will force you to join a union.

The robocall concluded by saying that the fact is we can’t afford Jerry Sullivan, and that the call was “proudly paid for by Iowans for Tax Relief PAC, working to protect family budgets.” I stayed on the line with my pen in hand, waiting to write down the phone number, but the robocall did not give a phone number. I thought that was required by law. The robocall did not mention Chris Hagenow, the Republican candidate in House district 59.

Sullivan’s campaign had volunteers out in the most Republican part of the district yesterday (the wealthy Clive 4 precinct). They were dropping positive campaign literature, along with a piece about the nine mayors in the Des Moines metro area who have endorsed Sullivan, including Clive Mayor Les Aasheim.

I’m happy to report that the GOTV machine in Iowa is engaged on behalf of Democrats at all levels. I’ve received several robocalls from Democrats in recent days like Governor Chet Culver and Senator Tom Harkin, inviting me to GOTV rallies.

Also, on Sunday I received a robocall from the Iowa Democratic Party, authorized by the Obama campaign for change, that mentioned voting for the “Democratic ticket” (not just Obama) twice. At the end it asked me to hold before giving me the name and address of my polling place. The same day, a volunteer left a door-hanger at our house, reminding us of the date of the election, the hours polls will be open, the phone number for Obama’s toll-free early-voting hotline, our precinct number, the name and address of our polling location, and all the names on “your Democratic ticket” (in our case Obama, Harkin, Congressman Leonard Boswell, Jerry Sullivan, plus three Democrats seeking Polk County offices).

Who has contacted you lately about the election, and what did they say?

Open thread on Iowa legislative races

I would like to hear more about how the Iowa House and Senate candidates are campaigning around the state.

I live in House district 59, which is a targeted district for both parties. Republican Dan Clute has retired, and Windsor Heights Mayor Jerry Sullivan is facing Chris Hagenow, a Republican attorney.

I don’t watch much television, but I’ve heard that Hagenow has been on the air for a few weeks. His first spot was apparently positive about his Iowa roots and how he wants to make Iowa a good place for his young son Owen. More recently, I think he’s been running an ad attacking Sullivan on taxes. If you’ve seen either of these tv ads, please post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com).

I’ve received seven direct-mail pieces about this race, all paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party. Five were positive: one about how Sullivan has done a good job as mayor of Windsor Heights, one about his biography and how he’s “always been part of the fabric of our community,” two on how he supports more investment in renewable energy as an economic engine that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and one on how he wants to do more to protect children from sex predators (don’t we all!).

Just this week I’ve received two negative mailings  also paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party, about how we can’t trust Hagenow on Social Security. One states that Hagenow wants to replace Social Security with a “voluntary system in which no senior receives the guaranteed benefit they worked a lifetime for.” These mailings contain a footnote to the Polk County Republican platform:

http://polkgoptemp.iowalink.co… Plank 7.4

Unfortunately, the link doesn’t take you directly to the platform. I searched for it on the Polk County Republican site and found this:


Plank 7.4 does indeed state

7.4. We call for the replacement of the current Social Security System with a new private and voluntary retirement investment program.

I live in Windsor Heights, which is obviously a stronghold for Sullivan, and I see lots of his yard signs (including in some Republican households). I don’t know who is winning the yard sign war in the Clive and West Des Moines parts of the district.

If you live in a contested House or Senate district, please post a comment or send me an e-mail about what you are seeing and hearing from the candidates.

If you receive any robocalls or push-polls against your Democratic candidate, please take detailed notes and post a diary or send me an e-mail about it.

Here are some more tips about what to do if you get push-polled.

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Open your wallets: it's the last day of the quarter

Every dollar you give to good Democrats today is worth a lot more than money you might give them in October. They need to show strong fundraising to get outside groups to help during the final weeks of the campaign.

So no excuses. Write a check dated September 30 and put it in the mail today, or go online to donate by credit card.

In the comments, let us know which candidates you’ve given to this quarter and why.

I’ve donated to the Obama-Biden campaign (still waiting for my car magnet!), Rob Hubler, Becky Greenwald, and several statehouse candidates via noneed4thneed’s ActBlue page called Iowa Blogs Expanding the Majority (Jerry Sullivan, Elesha Gayman, Tim Hoy, Eric Palmer).

Don't forget about our good statehouse candidates

Barack Obama may be crushing John McCain in Iowa, but that is no excuse for you to slack off.

In July I wrote about five reasons to get involved in state legislative races. My reasoning was:

 1.  The 2010 census looms, to be followed by redrawing Congressional districts in most states.

  2. Many policy matters are determined at the state level.

  3. Getting progressive Democrats elected to state legislatures will build our bench for future House, Senate or gubernatorial races.

  4. You probably can find a competitive statehouse race near you, no matter where you live.

  5. Your individual actions are more likely to make a difference in a statehouse race.

In addition to donating directly to good state legislators and legislative candidates, I give to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which supports statehouse candidates across the country.

I was pleased to learn on Friday that the DLCC is accepting nominations for candidates to be included in its “40 essential races” program.

Dear [firstname]:

It is no easy task to pinpoint a handful of essential candidates among the thousands of competitive legislative races this year, but that is exactly is what we at the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee intend to do over the next three weeks.

Using the information and resources we’ve gathered so far this cycle, we will identify 40 candidates in top races all across the country who need help in this election. For our part, we will provide these candidates with strategic support and promote their races among our partners and allies.

We also know that there are plenty of strong Democrats throughout the country with the potential to win important districts whose races are just emerging — so we are asking for your help to find them.

While we reveal the list of our targets, we will also accept nominations for an additional 10 candidates to go on our essential races list. Please submit a name:


And while you’re on our site, will you also take a minute to make a contribution of $25 or more?

Every dollar that you give will go directly into taking the fight to the Republicans who want to control our state houses. With your help, we will elect leaders who won’t let the GOP pass their radical policy agendas or redraw districts to create a permanent conservative majority. Can you support us today?


The DLCC is committed to electing Democratic majorities all across the country, but in order to win in competitive states, we need support from friends like you.

Thank you for all that you do,

Michael Sargeant

Executive Director

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

I asked someone at the DLCC whether these “essential races” will mostly feature challengers or incumbents. I was told that most of the targeted races involve Democratic challengers trying to take Republican-held seats. However, some will be incumbents, and some will be challengers trying to hold Democratic seats.

I encourage progressives to get informed about the key races in your state, then go to the DLCC site and nominate the candidate of your choice for this program.

For example, strong Democratic challengers seeking Republican-held seats in Iowa include Jerry Sullivan in Iowa House district 59 and Swati Dandekar in Senate district 18 (both seats are open because of Republican retirements).

A good candidate trying to hold the open Iowa House district 29 is Nate Willems, a former regional director for Howard Dean and occasional contributor to MyDD.

Incumbents being targeted this year in Iowa include Eric Palmer in House district 75, Elesha Gayman in House district 84,  and Tom Rielly in Senate district 38.

Please let the good candidates in your state or region know about the DLCC program.

You can also set up your own ActBlue page to raise money for your favorite candidates, whether or not they are named an “essential race” by the DLCC. Century of the Common Iowan blogger noneed4thneed created this page to support Tim Hoy in House district 44, Sharon Steckman in House district 13, Gayman, Palmer, and Sullivan.

Vox Populi provides information about three good Indiana House candidates on this ActBlue page.

Remember, even if your state is not competitive in the presidential campaign and your representatives in Congress are safe incumbents, you can probably find a swing statehouse district not far from where you live.

We can’t afford to neglect those down-ticket races. Donate, volunteer, and spread the word.

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Events coming up this weekend

As always, post a comment if you know of any important event I have left out.

Democratic candidates, send me your public schedules (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) so I can include your events on my calendar.

The Iowa State Fair runs through Sunday. Admission is half-price on the last day. We were there yesterday, and my kids really liked the dog frisbee-catching and stunt show, the Animal Learning Center (where you can see animals with very young babies), the “Little Hands on the Farm” demonstration/play area, and the butterfly exhibit, which I think is new to the fair.

Thursday, August 14:

From the Obama campaign:

Dana Singiser, the campaign’s Senior Adviser for the Women’s Vote, will campaign for Senator Obama in Iowa on Thursday, August 14th and Friday, August 15th, 2008.  On Thursday, Singiser will hold a Women’s Coffee in Sioux City and a Women for Obama event in Council Bluffs.  On Friday, she will hold a Women’s Coffee in Clive and a Women’s Lunch in Boone.  Singiser will discuss Senator Obama’s plan to provide economic security for America’s working women.  

Singiser serves as Senior Adviser to the Obama for America where she advises Senator Obama on the national political landscape for women and leads the campaign’s efforts to reach women voters across the country. Most recently, she served as Director of Women’s Outreach for the Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign.

The details of the events are:


1:00 PM CDT

Women’s Coffee with Dana Singiser

Sioux City Art Center

255 Nebraska St

Sioux City, Iowa

7:00 PM CDT

Women for Obama event with Dana Singiser

Council Bluffs Library

400 Willow Ave

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Also, the Obama campaign will continue its series of “rural roundtable discussions” across Iowa to highlight Senator Obama’s plan to strengthen rural communities and support rural economic development:



6:15 PM CDT

Obama Iowa Campaign for Change Rural Roundtable Discussion with Senator Ben Nelson

Farmer’s Kitchen

319 Walnut Street

Atlantic, Iowa

At 3:30 pm, Senator Nelson will speak on Senator Obama’s behalf at the Des Moines Register’s Soap Box at the Iowa State Fair.

Becky Greenwald, candidate for Congress, will appear at the Wing Ding event at the Surf Ballroom, 460 North Shore Drive in Clear Lake. The Wing Ding starts at 5:00 pm and is a Democratic fundraiser for three northern Iowa counties, Cerro Gordo, Winnebago and Hancock. If you hear Becky’s speech, please post a diary here afterwards to let us know how the event went.

Congressman Leonard Boswell, who represents Iowa’s third district, will be speaking at the Des Moines Register’s Soap Box (outside the Register’s Service Center on the Grand Concourse) at 1:30 pm. As part of this new Iowa State Fair tradition, the Congressman will be speaking on the challenges facing our country in these uncertain times and about his work to put us back on the road to peace and prosperity.

Friday, August 15:

The Obama campaign’s Senior Adviser for the Women’s Vote is holding two more events in Iowa:

10:00 AM CDT

Women’s Coffee with Dana Singiser

Home of Sue Simons

1433 NW 105th St.

Clive, Iowa

12:30 PM CDT

Women’s Lunch with Dana Singiser

Home of Becky Lyon

1416 SE Linn St.

Boone, Iowa

Also, Senator Tom Harkin is holding an Obama campaign “rural roundtable” event at 4:00 pm in Carroll at Depot Plaza, 407 W 5th St.

Dr. Steven and Jill Kraus will be hosting a reception at their home for Tom Harkin in Carroll on Friday at 5:30 PM.  Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be provided and valet parking is available.  For the full details on this event, please click here.

Also on Friday, Congressman Steve King is holding two town-hall meetings. Bring along your camera to capitalize on any “macaca moments”:

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

King to host Sioux Center Town Hall Meeting

American State Bank – enter through West entrance (town hall meeting is downstairs)

525 North Main Avenue

Sioux Center, Iowa

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

King to host Sioux City Town Hall Meeting

Main Library 529 Pierce St. – Gleeson Room

Sioux City, Iowa

Saturday, August 16:

Rob Hubler will be at AtlanticFest. Contact his campaign HQ at (712) 352-2077 for more details.

Senator Harkin and Mayor Jerry Sullivan, candidate for Statehouse (HD-59), will attend a fundraiser for Sullivan’s campaign from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at the Great Midwestern Café, 1250 NW 128th St in Clive. Catering provided by Great Midwestern Café. Suggested donation $50 (host levels higher). Checks can be made payable to Sullivan for State Representative, 7018 Franklin Ave, Windsor Heights, IA  50322. RSVP to Mike at mmccall@iowademocrats.org or call (614) 561-9117.

1000 Friends of Iowa is holding its 10th anniversary celebration and annual meeting at the Griffieon family farm near Ankeny. The event starts at 9:00 am and runs all day. Click here to register for the meeting or find more details about the event, including a schedule and directions to the farm. Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey will be the keynote speaker. Registration costs $30, and that includes an “Iowa grown lunch.” Other events of the day include:

Presentation – Connie Mutel author of The Emerald Horizon: The History of  Nature in Iowa  Mutel will describe her new book, which offers an opportunity to understand,  reconnect with, and nurture Iowa’s precious natural world. She’ll also discuss  the functions (such as flood-resistance) provided by healthy native communities,  and offer a challenge to restore these functions through reintegrating nature into  Iowa’s working landscape.      1:30     Presentation – Erv Klaas  Dr. Klaas will discuss how reserving valuable cropland for growing corn and  soybeans creates difficult challenges to livestock owners who use riparian zones  for pasture. He will use the Griffieon pasture to illustrate problems livestock  owners face, the technique LaVon is using to remedy the problem and how  improvements to water quality and to our streams depends on a total watershed  approach.       2:00     Tour de Sprawl – Guides: LaVon Griffieon & Stephanie Weisenbach  In the past decade development has encroached upon the farmland next to the  Griffieon’s farm.  We will tour the neighborhood by bus to see the changes made  upon some of the world’s most prime soils.

I am involved with 1000 Friends of Iowa and will attend this meeting, but not in my capacity as desmoinesdem, so don’t expect any talk about partisan politics!

Sunday, August 17:

The Hubler campaign is organizing canvassing all over the fifth district:

Sunday marks our first large door-to-door operation and we need your help to talk to friends and neighbors about Rob’s vision for the future.  Nothing is more effective than having a neighbor drop-by their door with a piece of literature about Rob.  King will be pushing the same tired messages- but with your help we can show Iowa that there is a clear choice in this election and that Rob Hubler is the candidate who will best represent us in Washington; but we can’t win without your help!

Please contact Beth at our Council Bluffs office (712) 352-2077 or email her at beth@hublercongress.com to meet up with supporters near you. Don’t forget to bring two friends to join you!

We will be having canvass parties in the following towns:

Council Bluffs                                   Creston              

Clarinda                                           Sioux City

Spencer                                           Spirit Lake

Onawa                                             Storm Lake

Le Mars                                           Lamoni


If you don’t see your town listed, we will be coming your way soon; contact us to help set up a joint canvass in your area.

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Events coming up this week

As always, post a comment if you know of any important event I have left out.

Democratic candidates, send me your public schedules (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) so I can include your events on my calendar.

I have included notices about public meetings convened by the Rebuild Iowa Office, but note that  you can give your feedback in person any day at the Iowa State Fair:

The Rebuild Iowa Office will have representatives at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines to answer questions and hear Iowans’ concerns and ideas as the state moves forward with flood recovery. RIO representatives will greet Iowans alongside members of the Governor’s Office staff at the Governor’s Office booth, located in the center of the Varied Industries Building on the main concourse.

Iowans can also go online and submit their ideas at the Rebuild Iowa Office Web site (www.rio.iowa.gov) or call the RIO office at (515) 242-5004. […]

The RIO and Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission were established by Executive Order after the Flood of 2008. RIAC is a 15-person, bipartisan commission whose members chair nine task forces focused on specific issues that will develop further recommendations to support the state’s strategic recovery and rebuilding process. The Commission reports to the Lt. Governor. Major General Ron Dardis, adjutant general of the  Iowa National Guard serves as the Commission’s chairman. The RIO coordinates all state recovery activities.

Iowans can fill out “Speak up Iowa!” surveys at the RIO/Governor’s Office booth. “Speak Up Iowa!” input sessions are taking place across the state and were created to initiate dialogue on the major issues facing the State of Iowa and provide an opportunity for official public and community involvement, with specific focus on gaining input for the RIAC 45-day Report due Sept. 2, 2008. “Speak Up Iowa!” allows residents the opportunity to voice their ideas and desires regarding the long-term recovery of their communities.

Now, on to the rest of the calendar.

Sunday, August 10:

There’s a fundraiser for Rob Hubler in Carroll, which former Governor Tom Vilsack will attend. Reception starts at 6pm; dinner at 7pm. Crossroads Bistro, 12012 Hwy 71 in Carroll. To RSVP for this event, please call the Hubler campaign headquarters: 712-352-2077.

Monday, August 11:

The Rebuild Iowa Office is holding its third “Speak Up Iowa!” public input session at the Red Coach Inn, Banquet Rooms 2 and 4, 1200 Senate Avenue in Red Oak, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 12:

The Rebuild Iowa Office is holding its fourth “Speak Up Iowa!” public input session at the Iowa Central Community College Career Education Building (Rooms 108 and 110), 330 Ave. M in Fort Dodge from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

It’s the last day to reserve a spot at the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa’s Crossroad lunch event, which will take place on Friday, August 15. (see below for more details). For more information or to make a reservation, call (515) 279-8715 or email tiaiowa@dwx.com.

Tom Harkin is attending a fundraising reception and private classic car display in Ankeny hosted by Dennis Albaugh at 5:30 pm. The evening promises to be a fun one with over 120 classic Chevrolets for you to view.  For full details of this great event please click here.

One Iowa is holding its “Coffee House/Happy Hour” at Ritual Cafe, a time to meet like-minded friends and relax in a welcoming atmosphere, from 5:00 pm to 6:45 pm. At One  Iowa , we believe all families should have equal protections and responsibilities; the way to achieve this is through marriage.  As we continue our work toward Marriage Equality, this month Phyllis Stevens will talk about the Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights events going on in September. Ritual Cafe, located on 13th Street between Grand and Locust in downtown Des Moines, is an LGBT-operated coffee shop and cafe offering “really great coffee and food” in an open and affirming place. For questions, please contact One Iowa at (515)288-4019, or you can visit our web site at www.oneiowa.org.

State Representative Bruce Hunter (House district 62) is holding his Re-Election Kickoff and fourth annual Hunter house party, with special guest Michael Mauro, Iowa Secretary of State. The party will take place on Tuesday from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at the home of Bruce Hunter & Betty Brim-Hunter, 452 Wilmers Avenue, Des Moines. Suggested donation $25. Please Make Checks Payable To The Committee To Elect Bruce Hunter.

The Des Moines Business Record is honoring this year’s “women of influence” at a reception on August 12 from 4:30 to 7:30 pm (honors presentation at 5:00) at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. You can register for the event, which costs $25 to attend, at http://www.businessrecord.com. The honorees are:

Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu

Former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell

Des Moines attorney Lori Chesser

Community volunteer Sheila Drevyanko

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage employee Cara Heiden

Iowa Environmental Protection Commissioner and philanthropist Charlotte Hubbell

Community activist Willie Glanton

Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge

West Des Moines City Council member Loretta Sieman

The woman business owner of the year is Sarah Grant of Sticks.

Wednesday, August 13:

From the Iowa Power Fund:

(DES MOINES)- The Iowa Power Fund board of directors will hold three of its monthly meetings in locations around the state with the second meeting being held on Wednesday, August 13 in Algona.  This meeting, as well as the last summer meeting of the Power Fund directors, will be followed by an evening public forum on energy issues.

The August 13 meeting of the Power Fund directors will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Water’s Edge  Nature Center, 1010 250th, Algona.  The meeting will include presentations by seven applicants for funding.  They will include: Soy Energy, LLC – Biodiesel Plant at Marcus using PEF Pellet Boiler; Carbon-Free Energy, LLC – Vertical Wind Turbine Manufacturer; The cornerstone BRAD, LLC managed by Bison Renewable Energy, LLC; Indigo Dawn, LLC – Green & Main, Integrating Efficiencies into a Historic Mix; I-Renew – Energy and sustainability EXPO; TPI Iowa LLC – TPI Wind Blade Advanced Manufacturing Initiative; Prairie Land Enterprises L.C – Switchgrass.

The evening public forum is the second in a series of six annual forums hosted by the Office of Energy Independence. The energy forum in Algona will also be held at the Water’s Edge Nature Center and will begin at 6:30 p.m.

From 1000 Friends of Iowa:

NW 26th Street Public Input Meeting

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Central Senior Center

2008 Forest Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50311

Commonly known as the MLK Parkway Extension, Polk County and other leaders are now calling this project the “NW 26th Street” project. This proposal consists of

   * Reconstruction of NW 26th Street to a 4-lane facility between IA 415 and I 35/80

   * Construction of a new interchange at I-35/80 and NW 26th Street, and

   * Construction of a new four-lane roadway on new alignment from near Euclid Ave/U.S. 6 and MLK Jr Parkway and the proposed NW 26th St interchange

This will be an open house with some audio/visual presentations, and held by Snyder and Associates, the engineering firm doing the study for Polk County. This will be a meeting to provide an update on the study and collect input on proposed alternative locations for the project, including possible expansion of existing streets in Des Moines like Beaver Avenue and 6th Avenue. Another alternative presented for public comments is for expansion of transit services in the metro area to prevent congestion in the future.

This meeting is a part of the Environmental Impact Statement, a federally required evaluation for a project that has extensive environmental impacts.

Thursday, August 14:

Congressman Leonard Boswell, who represents Iowa’s third district, will be speaking at the Des Moines Register’s Soap Box (outside the Register’s Service Center on the Grand Concourse) at 1:30 pm. As part of this new Iowa State Fair tradition, the Congressman will be speaking on the challenges facing our country in these uncertain times and about his work to put us back on the road to peace and prosperity.

Friday, August 15:

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa is holding a Crossroads lunch featuring Michele Soria of New Realities Diversity & Innovation Training & Consulting:


Do I really value diversity?

Challenging perceptions & creating new behavior

Does equity exist for all people? Is it possible? What is my responsibility to create multi-cultural inclusiveness in society?

An intensely interactive experience which will challenge your beliefs and create new behaviors.

The Crossroads luncheon is Friday, August 15 from  11:45 am – 1  pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 42nd &  Ingersoll Avenue , Des  Moines .

Reservations are required for Crossroads and must be received by Tuesday, August 12.

Cost is $8 and is payable at the door.

For more information or to make a reservation, call (515) 279-8715 or email tiaiowa@dwx.com.

Dr. Steven and Jill Kraus will be hosting a reception at their home for Tom Harkin in Carroll on Friday, August 15th at 5:30 PM.  Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be provided and valet parking is available.  For the full details on this event, please click here.

Saturday, August 16:

Senator Harkin and Mayor Jerry Sullivan, candidate for Statehouse (HD-59), will attend a fundraiser for Sullivan’s campaign from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at the Great Midwestern Café, 1250 NW 128th St in Clive. Catering provided by Great Midwestern Café. Suggested donation $50 (host levels higher). Checks can be made payable to Sullivan for State Representative, 7018 Franklin Ave, Windsor Heights, IA  50322. RSVP to Mike at mmccall@iowademocrats.org or call (614) 561-9117.

1000 Friends of Iowa is holding its 10th anniversary celebration and annual meeting at the Griffieon family farm near Ankeny. The event starts at 9:00 am and runs all day. Click here to register for the meeting or find more details about the event, including a schedule and directions to the farm. Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey will be the keynote speaker. Registration costs $30, and that includes an “Iowa grown lunch.” Other events of the day include:

Presentation – Connie Mutel author of The Emerald Horizon: The History of  Nature in Iowa  Mutel will describe her new book, which offers an opportunity to understand,  reconnect with, and nurture Iowa’s precious natural world. She’ll also discuss  the functions (such as flood-resistance) provided by healthy native communities,  and offer a challenge to restore these functions through reintegrating nature into  Iowa’s working landscape.      1:30     Presentation – Erv Klaas  Dr. Klaas will discuss how reserving valuable cropland for growing corn and  soybeans creates difficult challenges to livestock owners who use riparian zones  for pasture. He will use the Griffieon pasture to illustrate problems livestock  owners face, the technique LaVon is using to remedy the problem and how  improvements to water quality and to our streams depends on a total watershed  approach.       2:00     Tour de Sprawl – Guides: LaVon Griffieon & Stephanie Weisenbach  In the past decade development has encroached upon the farmland next to the  Griffieon’s farm.  We will tour the neighborhood by bus to see the changes made  upon some of the world’s most prime soils.

I am involved with 1000 Friends of Iowa and will attend this meeting, but not in my capacity as desmoinesdem, so don’t expect any talk about partisan politics!

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Five reasons to get involved in state legislative races (w/poll)

cross-posted around the blogosphere

On July 4 I marched with volunteers and staff for Jerry Sullivan, Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 59.

We don’t hear much about state legislative races on national blogs, because it would be overwhelming to keep up with what’s going on all over the country.

But you should get involved on behalf of a good Democrat running for your state’s Assembly, House or Senate. Five reasons why are after the jump.

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Events coming up this week

As always, post a comment or send me an e-mail if I’ve left out a noteworthy event.

If you have kids and live in central Iowa, this coming week is your last chance to see the Asian elephant Rosie and her calf JP at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. July 13 will be their last day at the zoo.

Monday, July 7:

It’s Edna Griffin day at the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center, 75 S.E. Army Post Road in Des Moines. Sixty years ago, Griffin “led a series of protests that ultimately enforced Iowa’s civil rights statutes after she was refused service at a Katz Drug Store in downtown Des Moines because she was black.”

The Des Moines Register reports:

The tribute to Edna Griffin, who served in the Women’s Army Corps in World War II, includes a 2 p.m. ceremony for naming a room at the Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St., and a 7 p.m. theatrical tribute at the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center, 75 S.E. Army Post Road.

The tribute will be done by Ruth Ann Gaines and Maureen Korte, with music by John Cheatem, and a march to remember Iowa’s civil rights heroes. Both events are free. For more information, call 282-8060. […]

To recreate the mood of the era, the tribute uses monologues derived from interviews with people involved with Griffin’s protests of the store and subsequent lawsuit.

Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) begins his annual “Congress on Your Corner” tour on Monday.  “Congress on Your Corner” meetings are designed to give Iowans an opportunity to meet with Braley to discuss their concerns, discuss recent initiatives in Congress, and open casework.

Here is Braley’s public schedule for the day:  

8:00 am                    Waterloo/Cedar Falls Congress on Your Corner

                                   Cedar Falls Conference Center

                                    3712 Cedar Heights Dr .

                                    Cedar Falls , Iowa      

11:00am                    Parkersburg Congress on Your Corner

                                   Parkersburg Veterans Memorial Building

                                    205 Colfax St .

                                    Parkersburg , Iowa

2:00pm                    Waverly Congress on Your Corner

                                   Waverly Public Library

                                   1500  W. Bremer Ave.

                                   Waverly, Iowa

The Environmental Protection Commission will hold a general discussion meeting from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. July 7 at King’s Pointe Resort, 1520 Lakeshore Drive in Storm Lake. This meeting will be followed by a walking tour of Storm Lake, starting at the resort at 3:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., the committee will attend the Storm Lake Preservation Association Picnic at the Storm Lake Municipal Golf Course Club House at 1528 Lakeshore Drive.  

Tuesday, July 8:

Lots going on at the Environmental Protection Commission’s monthly meeting:

The Department of Natural Resources will update the Environmental Protection Commission on the status of flooding events in Iowa and summarize its response efforts to the flood at the monthly EPC meeting July 8. They will also discuss how land use practices can contribute to flooding.

The meeting will start at 9:00 a.m. at King’s Pointe Resort, 1520 Lakeshore Drive in Storm Lake. The meeting is open to the public, with public comments starting at 10:30 a.m.

During the meeting, the EPC will also consider a proposed rule to establish criteria for awarding grants to independent recycling redemption centers. The DNR received $1 million in grants from the state’s general fund to improve these centers.

The EPC will also hear a proposal to update the Water Quality Standards Antidegradation Policy, which sets minimum requirements for the state to follow in order to conserve, maintain and protect existing uses and water quality.

DNR geologist Claire Hruby will discuss manure application on frozen or snow-covered ground at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. This issue was raised in May with an EPC motion. The EPC also received a petition from the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement to limit or ban this practice. ICCI has amended its petition and granted an indefinite extension on the usual 60-day period for response to the petition.

Look for more information about the agenda items on the DNR Web site under Commissions and Boards at www.iowadnr.gov.

Join Senators Staci Appel, Amanda Ragan, and Becky Schmitz for a fundraising reception to benefit the Senate Majority Fund:

Women of the Senate”

Past, Present & Future

Tuesday, July 8th from 5:30-7:30 PM

at the home of Roxanne Conlin

2900 Southern Hills Circle, Des Moines 50312

Join us for an evening of good food and drink and to support the Senate Democratic Majority Fund.  Valet Parking will be provided.

Suggested Contribution Levels:

Host: $1000      Sponsor: $500

Patron: $250      Supporter: $125

Guest: $50

Click here to contribute.

*all online contributions before July 6th will be recognized at the event

Please RSVP if you can attend. (The link to RSVP was broken–I would call the Senate Democrats office.)

Bruce Braley will hold a telephone town hall meeting on July 8 at 7 pm Central Daylight Time:

The purpose of the call is to allow Rep. Braley and his staff to discuss federal assistance available to flood victims and answer questions about federal disaster programs.

The technology employed by Braley will call out to thousands of Iowans in the First District who can then choose to participate in the forum when reached.

Iowans who wish to call in to the town hall themselves should contact one of Rep. Braley’s district offices for a call-in number and passcode.

Nearly 5,000 residents of the district participated in Braley’s first telephone town hall meeting last month, which was about gasoline prices.

One Iowa’s “Coffee House/Happy Hour” will be at the Ritual Cafe, 13th Street between Grand and Locust in downtown Des Moines, from 5:00 to 6:45 pm on July 8:

At One Iowa, we believe all families should have equal protections and responsibilities; the way to achieve this is through marriage.  As we continue our work toward Marriage Equality, this month we are focusing on the newly released comic (hot off the presses) “Iowa’s Noble Courage In Civil Rights” and the recently shot video “United for Equality.”

On Tuesday, One Iowa has the honor to host Andrea Fehring, our Marriage Equality Educator at Ritual; she will talk about the comic and video, and discuss how you can become more involved in this campaign toward equality.  Andrea’s presentation will start at 5:30pm. […]  

For questions, please contact One Iowa at (515)288-4019, or you can visit our web site at www.oneiowa.org.

Thursday, July 10:

A huge list of prominent Iowa Democrats including former Lt. Governor Sally Pederson & Jim Autry and Charlotte & Fed Hubbell are hosting a fundraiser for Becky Greenwald on July 10 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm at Dos Rios restaurant on 4th Street and Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines:

Contribution levels:

$1,000 – Host             $500 – Sponsor           $250 – Supporter        $100 – Friend

Please make checks payable to: Becky Greenwald for Congress

RSVP (515) 987-2800 or BeckyGreenwald@gmail.com

Individual contributions limited to $2300 and are not tax deductible.  Corporate contributions are not permitted.

Becky Greenwald for Congress * Iowa 4th District

P.O. Box 608 * Perry, IA  50220 * 515-564-3883 * www.beckygreenwald.com

Friday, July 11:

IowaPolitics.com is holding another “Cookies and Conversation” program at Drake University from 1:30 to 2:30 pm:

The program, “Food, Fuel, and Iowa ‘s Future Energy Needs” will feature panelists:

Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture; Frank Cownie, Des Moines Mayor; John Norris, Chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board; and Roya Stanley, Executive Director of the Iowa Office of Energy Independence.

The event is free, but reservations are required. Free cookies and beverages will be served.

Doors will open at 1 p.m. The program will be held in Levitt Hall, in Old Main, at 25th and University.

If you can attend please RSVP to Julie Rutz at rutz@IowaPolitics.com or call 515.226.8774. If you cannot attend but are interested in the program Mediacom will be taping the program and rebroadcasting it on its Connections Channel and Video On Demand program. The schedule will be posted on our Website at http://www.iowapolitics.com/ as soon as it becomes available.

Sunday, July 13:

House district 59 candidate Jerry Sullivan is holding a fundraiser at the Great Midwestern Café, 1250 NW 128th St in Clive, from 5 pm to 7 pm:

Partner: $500

Host: $250

Sponsor: $100

Friend: $50

Checks can be made out to Sullivan for State Representative.

Please RSVP with Mike at (614) 561-9117 or mmccall@iowademocrats.org.

The rest of the press release from Sullivan’s campaign is after the jump. It includes a link to his ActBlue page.

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March with local Democrats in July 4 parades

I have been meaning to put up a post on this, and the e-mail I received tonight jogged my memory:

Dear great democrats in Polk Co.

I’m Matthew Peirce from the Iowa Democratic Party and we’re looking for people to help out at the various parades happening over the July 4 holiday weekend.

The parades we are involved in are listed below and if you could get back to me or to Tamyra Harrison with your willingness to participate, it would be appreciated by all involved!

Thanks so very much and here is the text that was sent out over the Polk Co. Dems listserv.

Apologies for duplicates.

Matthew Peirce

Field Organizer, Polk County

Iowa Democratic Party


Cell:  402-540-7977

Come out and show your support for Obama, Harkin, Boswell and all the other Polk County Elected Officials and Candidates up for election this year. Bring the whole family.

We will be walking in the upcoming parades:

West Des Moines – July 3rd

Line-up begins at 5:30pm

Parade begins at 6:30pm

The parade will start at 35th and Ashworth and head east, then turn on Vine and proceed to 4th St., then turn south on 4th St. and conclude at Maple.

Urbandale – July 4th

Line-up begins at 9am

Parade begins at 10am

The parade will start at City Hall and go north on 70th to Aurora and then west on Aurora to the middle school

Windsor Heights – July 4th

Line-up begins at 12pm

Parade begins at 1pm

The parade will line-up and begin at the Sherwood Forest Shopping Center on the corner of 73rd and Hickman.

To join us and get more information, please call Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or reply to this email at polkdems@polkcountydemocrats.org

No matter where you live, I encourage you to volunteer to march with local Democrats on the 4th of July. You’ll meet nice people and help our candidates make a good impression with the friendly crowds on the holiday.

If you’ve got a flag to carry, great. If you want to make your own sign, that’s also fun. In past years I have marched with a hand-made sign that says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women!) are created equal…”

I will be marching with Windsor Heights Mayor Jerry Sullivan, our candidate in House district 59.

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Someone is push-polling against Jerry Sullivan in House district 59

I live in Iowa House district 59, which includes Windsor Heights, Clive and parts of West Des Moines. Republicans have held this seat since before I was born, but I am convinced that Windsor Heights Mayor Jerry Sullivan has a strong chance to flip this district for the Democrats.

Judging from two calls I received in the past 48 hours, some Republicans are worried about that possibility too.

On Sunday evening I got a robocall from “Survey 2000” claiming to have a brief 30-second survey for me to answer. The first question was whether I planned to vote in the June 3 Democratic primary. The second was whether I planned to vote for Jerry Sullivan or Mark Matel in the primary. Then the push-polling started.

I jotted down what I could with pencil and paper, but the robocall voice went fast, so I don’t have anything close to the verbatim wording of the call.

One question asked whether a candidate’s position on a woman’s right to choose was important, and followed up with some language suggesting that Jerry Sullivan does not support that right.

The next question asked whether I thought elected officials should keep our taxes low, and followed up by saying that Windsor Heights property taxes were very high while Sullivan was mayor.

Finally, there was a question and follow-up information relating to Sullivan’s support for last summer’s Project Destiny referendum, which failed by a huge margin.

This call had all the telltale marks of a push-poll. No demographic information was collected, so the results could not be analyzed in any useful way by a campaign or a public polling firm. Only negative information about one candidate was pushed. In contrast, a legitimate message-testing poll, such as the one commissioned by Congressman Leonard Boswell’s campaign in January, will test positive and negative messages about one or more candidates.

I jotted down the phone number given at the end of the call. It went by fast, but I think I wrote it down correctly: 703-263-2511. I tried to call that number and got only busy signals.

On Monday at about 4:15 pm, I got a different robocall. This was not a fake poll, but it was otherwise similar to the call I received Sunday night.

This time a woman’s voice said she was calling from “Survey 2008” (which was pronounced “Survey two zero zero eight”) with important information about the primary coming up on June 3.

First, she said that Windsor Heights property taxes went from one of the lowest to the second-highest in the Des Moines metro area while Jerry Sullivan was mayor.

Then, she said that Sullivan worked to pass Project Destiny, which was supported by wealthy business interests.

Then, she said Sullivan was believed to support ending a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

The phone number given at the end of this call was 703-263-1908, which probably is a different phone line at the same office that produced the call I got Sunday evening.

First things first: I contacted Sullivan’s campaign manager and confirmed that the candidate is pro-choice. There is no basis for these calls suggesting that he would seek to end a woman’s right to choose. I suspect that they tried that line because Sullivan is Catholic and has a Catholic-sounding name, and they figured this argument would hurt him with Democratic primary voters.

A neighbor called me yesterday to report getting a nasty robocall about Sullivan. When we compared notes, it was obviously the same call. She assumed that Sullivan’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Mark Matel, was behind the call, but my hunch is that these calls were not arranged by any of the rival candidates for this seat.

I doubt that either Matel or Republican Susan Murphy have the resources to fund this kind of operation, even if they wanted to. I assume that Chris Hagenow, the favorite to win the Republican nomination, is focused on winning his primary race, although he may have raised enough money to fund calls like these.

The language on taxes used in both calls suggests to me that a Republican interest group is behind them. Iowans for Tax Relief has endorsed Hagenow, so that group might be a prime suspect. I am sure they would rather not see the relatively inexperienced Hagenow run against someone with Sullivan’s background in business and public service.

It’s also possible that the Iowa Republican Party decided to spend money on roughing up Sullivan in the Democratic primary. Presumably the seat would be easier for Republicans to hold if Sullivan loses the primary, or if they can damage his reputation among the loyal Democratic voters who show up for primaries.

The phone numbers given at the end of the calls should point toward the firm that produced them, but that would not necessarily reveal what candidate or entity paid for the calls.

If you receive calls pushing negative information on any candidate this year, please take as detailed notes as you can. That’s easier when there is a live caller, because you can ask him or her to repeat the questions. Stay on the line until the end of the call and write down the phone number, which they are legally required to give. Then contact the campaign of the candidate being attacked in the call, so they know right away what is going on.

I also encourage Bleeding Heartland users to put up a diary at this blog if you receive any push-poll or obnoxious robocalls this year.

Iowa Republicans just hoping not to lose more seats

For some reason, I occasionally receive mass mailings from the Iowa Republican Party. Usually I toss these in the recycling bin without reading them, but for some reason I opened the latest one, which arrived this week.

It was a letter from state chairman Stew Iverson, who urged me to make a donation and thereby become an “official Member” of the party. He even enclosed a personalized membership card for me.

I won’t bother transcribing the whole letter, because it was the usual GOP language about big, bad, liberal Democrats and their social programs, “bloated budgets” and higher taxes that will take away your hard-earned money.

One line jumped out at me. It is underlined in the letter, but I can’t figure out how to make it underlined here:

It’s time to join together and stop the Democrats from gaining more seats in 2008!

Is that the best they’re hoping for?

Can’t they even pretend to their own supporters that the goal is retaking the Iowa House and Senate for the GOP? There is nothing in the letter suggesting that my donation will help put Republicans back in power. There is nothing about the positive agenda the Republicans would enact if they regained control of the legislature. It is all about trying to limit the damage Democrats can do.

In case you had any doubts, know that Iowa Republicans are still downbeat about their election prospects. It seems like not much has changed since a prominent Republican told the Des Moines Register in January:

“We’ll be lucky with anything we get this year,” said Steve Roberts, a Republican National Committee member from Des Moines. “I don’t think there are a lot of people with high expectations this year. It’s a long road back for us this time.”

Don’t be complacent. Get involved in a statehouse race. If your district is not competitive, volunteer for a Democrat in another district that is up for grabs, or at least donate to one or more candidates you believe in.

I’ll be helping Jerry Sullivan take House district 59 for the Democrats. Republicans have represented my district since before I was born, and it’s time for that to change.  

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Events coming up this week

Please post a comment if you know of any noteworthy event I’ve left out.

Democrats, please let me know about your upcoming meet-and-greets, fundraisers, town hall meetings or candidate forums by e-mailing desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com.

Monday, May 19:

Ed Fallon will appear on Iowa Public Radio (WOI 640 AM) between 10:00 – 11:00 am. He will be interviewed by Jeneane Beck and will take questions from callers.

Fallon will hold an event at Gateway West Park, 14th and Locust in downtown Des Moines at 3:00 PM. The event will kick off Fallon’s blitz of 12 counties the next day for his ‘New Energy for Iowa Tour.’ At the event, and during the tour, Fallon will announce a major new Congressional proposal he plans to champion if elected to Congress that will greatly benefit both Iowa’s environment and rural economy.

The Iowa Global Warming Campaign, Sierra Club and I-Renew are hosting a free film screening of “Global Warming: the Signs and the Science,” a film that uses expert dialogues on global warming to talk about how we can reverse its course. After the film, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in a discussion about the film and related issues. Refreshments provided. The “Every Day is Earth Day” event will take place from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Dubuque Public Library, 360 W. 11th St. @ Locust St. Dubuque.

Tuesday, May 20:

Barack and Michelle Obama are holding a rally at E. 6th Street and E. Locust Street in Des Moines, IA (on the west side of the capitol). Doors open at 7:30 pm. **Public Entrance at E. 6th Street and Grand Avenue** The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required but an RSVP is strongly encouraged. To RSVP please visit http://www.barackobama.com/.

Also on May 20, Ed Fallon is doing events in all 12 counties of Iowa’s third Congressional district:

7 am to 7:25 am

Knoxville Courthouse/Bandstand

214 E. Main St., Knoxville

8:00 am to 8:25 am

Chariton Courthouse Lawn (NE Corner)

916 Braden St., Chariton

9:00 am to 9:25 am

Albia Courthouse/Bandstand

10 Benton Ave. E., Albia

10:00 am to 10:25 am

Oskaloosa Town-square Bandstand

106 S. 1st St., Oskaloosa

11:00 am to 11:25 am

Sigourney Courthouse/Bandstand

101 S. Main St., Sigourney

12:15 pm to 12:40 pm

Marengo City Hall/Gazebo

152 E. Main St., Marengo

1:15 pm to 1:40 pm

Vinton Courthouse Lawn

111 E. 4th St., Vinton

2:45 pm to 3:10 pm

Grundy Center Courthouse/Bandstand

706 G. Ave., Grundy Center

4:00 pm to 4:25 pm

Toledo Courthouse/Bandstand

100 W. High St., Toledo

5:00 pm to 5:25 pm


Saint’s Rest Café

919 Broad St., Grinnell

6:00 pm to 6:20 pm


Uncle Nancy’s Coffee

114 N. 2nd Ave W., Newton

For his final event of the day, Ed will attend the Obama rally in Des Moines.

Windsor Heights Mayor Jerry Sullivan, Democratic candidate for House district 59, is having a meet the candidate event hosted by Clive Mayor Les Aasheim from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Clive Aquatic Center, 1801 NW 114th St in Clive.

One Iowa is holding a volunteer workshop at 6 pm. This is one of seven volunteer workshops to be held over the next month. These workshops will be a chance for you to sign up for shifts at Pride this June!  There will be a quick overview and training session to let you know about what the different volunteer needs and roles will be, where to check in and check out during Pride, and how this process will work.  Immediately following will be a chance for you to ask any questions you may have and to sign up for volunteer shifts.

To sign up for the May 20 volunteer workshop, RSVP here: http://eqfed.org/oneiowa/event…

Wednesday, May 21:

The spring 2008 Polk County Water Quality Snapshot is the fifth year of sampling water quality in rivers and streams in Polk County. Organized by the Iowa Environmental Council and Des Moines Water Works, the snapshot is conducted twice a year in the spring and fall. This year over 30 volunteers will help test over 70 sites on rivers, streams and lakes throughout the county. On Wednesday, May 21, from 8:30-9:30 a.m., volunteers will gather at the Izaak Walton League, at 4343 George Flagg Parkway, for a quick refresher course on water quality testing. At 9:30 groups of volunteers will leave with testing equipment, maps and directions to testing sites. Testing will be completed by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

John Scarpino, Candidate for Polk County Supervisor, District 2, is holding a campaign kickoff reception from 6 pm to 8 pm at Traditions Restaurant, 1509 S Ankeny Blvd in Ankeny. RSVP to Rick Singleton at 515-967-4245 or email Scarpino4Super@aol.com

Jerry Sullivan is holding a special event from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Walnut Creek Inn, 1258 8th St in West Des Moines. Please RSVP to Mike McCall at mmcall AT iowademocrats.org. Suggested donation $25 (host and sponsor levels higher).

Thursday, May 22:

One Iowa is holding another volunteer workshop (see explanation above) at 6 pm. To RSVP for this one, click here: http://eqfed.org/oneiowa/event…

Friday, May 23:

Free concert of Belin Quartet (classical string ensemble) beginning shortly after noon in Nollen Plaza, 3rd and Locust, downtown Des Moines.

Saturday, May 24:

This is the deadline to register to vote if you want to vote by mail in the June 3 primary. (If you are voting in person, you can register on the same day as the primary, but you will need to bring ID and proof of your address, such as a utility bill.)

Whiterock Conservancy and the Iowa Natural History Association are holding a weekend “BioBlitz”:

Whiterock BioBlitz 2008

1:00pm May 24-1:00pm May 25

Please join Whiterock Conservancy and Iowa Natural History Association for the Whiterock BioBlitz, a full day of exploration and learning!

A Biodiversity Blitz, or “Bio-Blitz” consists of a rapid assessment of what lives in a specific area at a given point in time. During the 24-hour BioBlitz at Whiterock Conservancy, teams led by biologists and staffed by novices and enthusiasts will explore the huge 4,300-acre Whiterock Conservancy-managed landscape and document every single species they find. BioBlitz participants will take part in the forays, using the “more eyes will find more species” approach. At the end of the 24-hour period, a comprehensive inventory of Whiterock’s plants, birds, insects, fungi, fishes, lichens, bryophytes, mammals, snails, amphibians, and reptiles will be closer to complete. The Whiterock BioBlitz is open to all members of the public to come explore Iowa’s largest land gift and one of Iowa’s newest and most unexplored treasures. Families with children are welcome as long as kids are willing to walk and parents can concurrently keep a skilled eye on both offspring and butterflies, reptiles, mollusks, etc.


Registration: Form attached-please fill out and return to Whiterock Conservancy

Headquarters: Whiterock Conservancy Campground

Time Frame: 1:00 pm. May 24 – 1:00 pm May 25

Accommodations: FREE TENT CAMPING (Bring camping gear)

Meals: FREE FOOD (Bring reusable silverware, plates, and cups)

What to Bring: Sturdy shoes and weather appropriate clothes, tent camping gear, reusable water bottles, binoculars, camera, flashlight.

Directions: From Coon Rapids, drive 2.2 miles east on Highway 141. Turn south onto Fig Avenue and drive 2.3 miles. The campground is located on the left before you cross over the Middle Raccoon River.

Questions: Please don’t hesitate to email or call Elizabeth Hill with questions regarding the Whiterock BioBlitz.

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Donate to our statehouse candidates today or tomorrow

If you can spare some cash for a good Democrat, today or tomorrow would be an excellent time to donate.

May 14 is the last day of the current reporting period, and the media as well as the Republican Party will be scrutinizing those fundraising totals to figure out where the strong and weak candidates are.

So far during this reporting period, I’ve donated to five candidates for the Iowa legislature:

Jerry Sullivan

Eric Palmer

Elesha Gayman

McKinley Bailey

Nate Willems

Speaking of Nate, here is an update on his campaign that I received by e-mail recently:

Today I am putting online Natewillems.com.  I am calling it a “1.0” because the site is still in its infancy.  It covers the essentials, though, and should give you a sense as to what is motivating me to run to represent House District 29.  Please take a moment to visit http://www.natewillems.com

May 14th is the last day this campaign’s first reporting period.  These early reporting periods are the most crucial to my campaign.  Though this seat has been held by a Democrat for 12 years, the Republicans will look at any open seat as a potential opportunity to take a seat back.  I need to raise as much money as possible in these early reporting periods to dissuade the Republicans from investing heavily in District 29.

We are very close to having raised $30,000 in the first two months of this campaign.  Please consider making a contribution today through my ActBlue account:


Of course, we do still have a regular mailbox: Citizens for Willems, P.O. Box 213, Lisbon, IA 52253.

Many of you have already donated.  I thank you again very much for your donation, but ask that you consider making another contribution to get us past this $30,000 goal.  

Many of you are intending to donate at some point and I ask you to make your contribution now.  

There are thousands of doors yet for me to knock on and countless people to meet.  With your financial support, I can spend more time knocking on doors and less time raising money.  https://secure.actblue.com/con…

Don’t forget, take a look at www.natewillems.com

Thank you very much.  I look forward to seeing you again soon.


(319) 929-4543

Please find a good Democrat and make a donation today.

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Political events coming up this week

I’m going to try to flag political events for the week ahead every weekend. Please send me tips or put up a diary if you know of something interesting about to happen soon.

This Thursday is the “funnel” day, the date that will determine which bills have a chance of advancing this year and which are dead for the session. As a result, a bunch of groups are holding lobby days at the capitol this week.

On Monday, please consider helping the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women build support for a bill that would make it easier for working women to keep breastfeeding. Click the link for details about the “nurse in” at the capitol or how to contact your legislators.

On Tuesday, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement are holding their rally and lobby day. Details can be found in this diary that was posted a few days ago.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa is holding its lobby day on Wednesday to push for its “Prevention First” agenda. Click the link to read a post at Blog for Iowa with more details about this event.

On Friday, Windsor Heights Mayor Jerry Sullivan, Democratic candidate for Iowa House district 59, is having a campaign kick-off event at the Ankeny Regional Airport from 5 pm to 8 pm. Weather permitting, short rides on helicopters and small planes will be available at that event. For more information, check out the Sullivan for State Representative website.

I am proud to say that I wrote a check for Sullivan’s campaign a couple of weeks ago.

I encourage everyone to support our candidates for state and local office this year. Your donations go further in those races than they do in a multi-zillion-dollar presidential campaign.

Speaking of which, I recently learned that James Van Bruggen is running against Dwayne Alons in House District 4. Van Bruggen’s campaign website is here.

You may remember Alons for his idiotic comment that global warming is not a problem in light of modern refrigeration and air conditioning, or his baffling observation that global warming may help us by making us stronger and taller, like the ancient Mayans. House District 4 leans strongly Republican, but I am very glad someone has stepped up to challenge Alons.