How one Iowa candidate with small kids could make a big difference

Running for office is time-consuming and expensive. Even a local race involves so many tasks, only some of which can be delegated to staff or volunteers. Some political junkies aren’t cut out for knocking thousands of doors, asking supporters for money, and attending community events several nights a week. Others have strong skills, work ethic, and the desire to serve, but can’t see a way to juggle the demands of a campaign with family responsibilities.

Some Iowa candidate has an opportunity to make running for office a more realistic option for them.

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Are women better candidates than men? (And other curiosities from the 2016 Iowa House elections)

After taking a closer look at the 2016 Iowa House election results, Kent R. Kroeger believes Iowa Democrats have reasons to worry but also reasons to be optimistic about their chances of taking back the chamber. You can contact the author at kentkroeger3@gmail.com.

The dataset used for the following analysis of 2016 Iowa House races with Democratic challengers or candidates for open seats can be found here: DATASET

When former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine asked in her July 2016 Huffington Post essay, “Is 2016 the year of the woman?”, she can be forgiven if her underlying assumption was that the U.S. would be electing its first female president four months later.

We know how that turned out. Yet, her question had a broader vision and was not dependent on the outcome of one presidential race in one country. The question springs from an emerging body of evidence that women may make for better politicians than men. Given that only 19 percent of U.S. congressional seats are currently held by women, it may seem ridiculous to ask such a question. And since 2000, the percentage of women in state legislatures has plateaued (see graph below). Nonetheless, looking across a longer time span, there is no question more and more women are running and winning elective office in this country.

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Iowa's 20-week abortion ban will lead to more suffering

Maridith Morris writes: I wanted to share my feelings as a pregnant woman watching my medical options disappear. I find this especially disempowering considering my intimate knowledge of healthcare from ICU to labor and delivery. Here is the full text of my letter to the editor published in the Des Moines Register April 19th.

This spring marks ten years I’ve been a nurse. Of all the lessons I’ve learned in ten years of nursing, perhaps the most important has been that there are many fates worse than death. There is pain and suffering beyond imagining, lives of confinements to hospital beds and views of only windows. There is the hole that is left when you lose someone you love and death refuses to claim you alongside them.

I’m 16 weeks into my fourth pregnancy to make it this far, and I don’t know yet whether my baby is healthy enough that they won’t live a life of pain and suffering. I won’t know until after 20 weeks. What I do know is I would sacrifice my own comfort and peace to spare an innocent life the suffering of a complicated illness or deformity that would lead to surgery after surgery. I know I would rather bear the loss myself than gamble with leaving my three children to live in pain without a mother. Because complicated pregnancies lead to complicated outcomes.

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44 photos from the Iowa Women's March

Turnout for the Women’s March in Washington and companion events around the world shattered expectations on Saturday, far exceeding the number of people who showed up to watch Donald Trump be sworn in as president the previous day. Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer had a right royal meltdown over media coverage of attendance at the inauguration. The president must have been seething to see yesterday’s news about more than 2.5 million people marching, including at least half a million in Washington and massive numbers in city after city: 750,000 in Los Angeles, 250,000 in Chicago, 100,000 in Denver, and so on.

Before the weekend, I heard predictions that 10,000 people might come to the Iowa Women’s March outside the Capitol in Des Moines. Instead, an estimated 26,000 people were there–impressive turnout for a state with about 3 million residents.

I spent most of Saturday at the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee meeting, so I’m grateful to Bleeding Heartland readers who gave me permission to share their Iowa Women’s March photos below (click on any image to enlarge). The only problem was choosing what to post among scores of inspiring images from the rally.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome. The Iowa City Press-Citizen published a photo gallery from the women’s march in the “people’s republic.”

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A year's worth of guest posts, plus tips for guest authors

One of my blogging new year’s resolutions for 2016 was to publish more work by other authors, and I’m grateful to the many talented writers who helped me meet that goal. After the jump I’ve linked to all 140 guest posts published here last year.

I encourage readers to consider writing for this site in 2017. Guest authors can write about any political issue of local, state, or national importance. As you can see from the stories enclosed below, a wide range of topics and perspectives are welcome here.

Pieces can be short or long, funny or sad. You can write in a detached voice or let your emotions show.

Posts can analyze what happened or advocate for what should happen, either in terms of public policy or a political strategy for Democrats. Authors can share first-person accounts of campaign events or more personal reflections about public figures.

Guest authors do not need to e-mail a draft to me or ask permission to pursue a story idea. Just register for an account (using the “sign up” link near the upper right), log in, write a post, edit as needed, and hit “submit for review” when you are ready to publish. The piece will be “pending” until I approve it for publication, to prevent spammers from using the site to sell their wares. You can write under your own name or choose any pseudonym not already claimed by another Bleeding Heartland user. I do not reveal authors’ identity without their permission.

I also want to thank everyone who comments on posts here. If you’ve never participated that way, feel free to register for a user account and share your views. If you used to comment occasionally but have not done so lately, you may need to reset your password. Let me know if you have any problems registering for an account, logging in, or changing a password. My address is near the lower right-hand corner of this page.

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Iowa public employees will lose ability to bargain over health insurance

What a way to begin the holiday season: Governor Terry Branstad’s administration is negotiating new employment contracts on the assumption that health insurance benefits will no longer be subject to collective bargaining.

Judging by past experience in Iowa and other states, the 59 incoming House Republicans and 29 Senate Republicans will rubber-stamp the new policy, gutting a collective bargaining law that has served this state well since 1974.

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