Kimberly Graham: Of the People, for the People, and by the People

Scott Roland is an activist from Cedar Rapids. -promoted by Laura Belin

Introduction

Whatever we think that we are doing, it is certainly not working. We are asked to embrace some variation of the status quo that offers us ruinous household debt, political corruption that has become normalized, stagnant growth rates, perilously insecure employment, a natural environment that is on a course to become barely inhabitable, and a health care system that leaves many just one medical emergency away from bankruptcy. As a society, we have fallen into a chasm, and have brought our diminished faith in American exceptionalism with us. 

These problems have been exacerbated by a complacent political class, but politicians like Kimberly Graham offer us a credible path forward. Absurdly, some have painted her as an unrealistic radical, but in much of the developed world, she would be a mainstream social democrat. Her desire is not a destructive revolution, but decency: universal publicly financed health care, wages that ensure that households live above the threshold of poverty, elections that can’t be bought by the highest bidder, a system that does not leave students shackled in debt, and a Green New Deal to address the trillions in negative externality costs related to climate change.

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Why I'm supporting Elizabeth Warren for president

Aime Wichtendahl is a city council member in Hiawatha (Linn County) and Iowa’s first openly trans elected official. -promoted by Laura Belin

A few years ago, I stopped into a gas station near my house to grab a soda. As I was preparing to pay for it, I noticed that the cost of a bottle had increased slightly so I asked the clerk about it.

“Everything goes up except the wages,” he said.

“Hopefully that wouldn’t be true for much longer,” I replied.

At that time Linn County had initiated a plan to raise the minimum wage to $10.25. I had served on the working group that made the recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. And while $10.25 wasn’t yet a livable wage, it was a start.

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Charlie Hodges is second Democrat running for Iowa Senate district 20

Two Democrats are now running in Iowa Senate district 20, likely to be one of next year’s most competitive state Senate races.

Information technology professional Charlie Hodges of Urbandale will seek the Democratic nomination in a district covering the northwest suburbs of Des Moines (see map below). Johnston City Council member Rhonda Martin has been campaigning here since May. The winner of the June 2020 primary will face four-term Republican State Senator Brad Zaun.

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Iowa Senate district 36 preview: Jeff Edler vs. Dave Degner

Some sobering facts about the bloodbath that was the 2016 election in Iowa:

Donald Trump carried eighteen state Senate districts that had voted for President Barack Obama in 2012.*

Eleven of those eighteen were even-numbered districts, which are on the Iowa ballot in presidential election years.

The four Republicans who already represented Obama/Trump districts all easily won another term in the Iowa Senate.**

But six of the seven Democratic senators up for re-election in Obama/Trump districts lost: Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (Senate district 8), Mary Jo Wilhelm (Senate district 26), Brian Schoenjahn (Senate district 32), Steve Sodders (Senate district 36), Tom Courtney (Senate district 44), and Chris Brase (Senate district 46).

With Republicans now enjoying a 32-18 majority in the upper chamber, Democrats need to win back at least a few Obama/Trump seats next year to have a realistic chance of regaining Iowa Senate control after the next round of redistricting.

Democrats have been actively campaigning in Senate districts 8 and 44 for some time. Now GOP State Senator Jeff Edler has a strong challenger in Senate district 36.

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First thoughts on Elizabeth Warren's prospects in Iowa

In the two weeks it’s taken me to collect my thoughts on U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s first swing through Iowa, three four more Democrats launched presidential campaigns (former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Kamala Harris, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard). More than a dozen people will seek the Democratic nomination in 2020, and eight of them will have visited Iowa this month alone.

Tracking such a large field presents challenges. Bleeding Heartland has already profiled some candidates and their pitches, including U.S. Representative John Delaney and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. I have posts in progress about most of the others. My intention is to write at least one in-depth piece about every serious contender, for the benefit of caucus-goers who want to research all options. With such a strong field, I expect the majority of Iowa Democrats to be late deciders this cycle, myself included.

I’ve transcribed below extensive portions of Warren’s stump speech and Q&A in Des Moines and Ankeny, and also enclosed audio clips for those who would rather listen than read. First, a few of my takeaways:

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