Educating Rhonda: Law enforcement challenges

Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for Democratic candidates for Iowa offices. -promoted by Laura Belin

My name is Jeffrey Cárdenas. I’ve been volunteering to elect Rhonda Martin to Iowa Senate district 20 and to defeat Brad Zaun.

On Friday I attended a protest against anti-Black violence in Des Moines. There a young African American male speaker asked, “…my grandparents turned the other cheek and walked away. N*ggah, I won’t. And if you think that’s wrong, what am I supposed to do? Please tell me, what am I supposed to do?!”

His question immediately reminded me of President Barack Obama’s eternal call to action: “I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of scripture, that ours is a future filled with hope. And if you share that faith with me, if you share that hope with me, I ask you [to vote].”

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The diIemma of reopening

Ira Lacher: “For better, or God forbid, much worse, America has decided on a path: Reopen, urge common-sense caution, and come what may.” -promoted by Laura Belin

My friend’s daughter caught COVID-19. Experiencing high fever and labored breathing, she visited an emergency room of a New York City hospital, where she spent several days in intensive care, before finally being allowed to go home, where milder symptoms continued for weeks. But physical symptoms gave way to mental health symptoms, specifically, severe panic. Those same symptoms have befallen her father, hundreds of miles away from her.

The effects of the pandemic have been duly reported: physical symptoms, sometimes leading to death; economic symptoms, careering the world toward financial collapse; societal symptoms, including increasing disregard for civil authority. Now, the United Nations is adding another effect: mental health symptoms.

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Iowa Senate district 26 preview: Waylon Brown vs. Deb Scharper

Deb Scharper launched her campaign today in Iowa Senate 26, one of two Obama/Trump state Senate districts where no one filed to run in the June 2 Democratic primary.

While outside the top tier of Democratic pickup opportunities in the upper chamber, this district was decided by a narrow margin in 2012. Scharper’s race against first-term State Senator Waylon Brown is also worth watching for clues on whether Republicans, who now hold a 32-18 Senate majority, can maintain their advantage in the part of Iowa that swung most heavily to Donald Trump in 2016.

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Iowa needs Warren's big structural change for mental health

Heather Strachan is a mental health professional, criminal justice reform advocate, and a former rural organizer for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. -promoted by Laura Belin

Throughout caucus season I have fielded questions from advocates and professionals alike asking why mental health has gone largely ignored in the presidential race. All eyes are on Iowa at a time when we have reached the bottom of the pile in terms of the number of available beds, the number of psychiatric providers per capita, and the availability of community-based services. One in five Iowans will experience mental illness in their lifetimes, and this has far-reaching effects throughout families and entire communities, including my own.

The candidates are not solely to blame: the media are mostly not asking the question.

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A decision made with head and heart for Amy Klobuchar

Janice Weiner is a city council member in Iowa City and a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m someone who makes decisions with a combination of head and heart. I learned during my Foreign Service career that I needed both, and I applied that when considering the impressive field of Democratic presidential candidates. Do they speak to me personally? Do their policies make sense? We in Iowa are so fortunate to have this opportunity – not just to see candidates at a rally and read their platforms and policies – but to get to know them as people. And they us, as well.

Like so many others, I trekked to events for countless candidates. Last May, as a part of that process, I attended the Klobuchar campaign’s mental health/addiction panel in Iowa City, screwed up my courage, and told the senator my story. I’m a retired Foreign Service Officer, and I’m raising my granddaughter because my daughter cannot, because of her struggles with dual diagnosis – mental health and addiction, rolled into one. We are not unique – how I wish we were.

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