Amy Klobuchar: A leader for everyone

State Representative Molly Donahue: “Amy Klobuchar is running to be the president of all the people, not half the people.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Amy Klobuchar isn’t just a smart, funny, gritty, senator from Minnesota who gets things done. She is someone who studies and weighs the pros and cons of policy. She not only knows her own policies in and out, but she also knows the policies of her fellow presidential candidates.

Amy’s one-liners are filled with a wealth of knowledge about how the system works and how to get to where we want to be, while uniting those around her. She has proven her strength is uniting by getting people to work together towards a common cause as a senator, and she has shown time and again that she can stand up to Trump and his policies.

Amy has fought to expand affordable health care options, building on and improving the Affordable Care Act, and working across the aisle to reduce prescription drug prices while allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. She wants to end the stigma of mental illness in this country, and to make sure that services are available and affordable for the people in need.

She believes in providing a pathway for citizenship for undocumented workers, and that we must begin to reduce carbon emissions with a plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while embracing natural gas as a “transition” fuel to help the U.S. move away from foreign oil. She has experience working with agriculture and knows that our farmers and rural communities are at risk because of President Donald Trump’s tariffs. She has a plan to put our rural areas back to work and help farmers be sustainable into the future while protecting the environment.

Amy doesn’t look at things and say they can’t be done. Instead, she asks, how do we get there with everyone, not just part of the country? She is running to be the president of all the people, not half the people.

She is the daughter of a public school teacher, and knows the importance of a public education for a successful future. Amy stands for the people, the workers of America and stresses the importance of the unions to strengthen our work force and continue to build a strong middle class with good jobs, wages, benefits, and safety in the workplace. She supports expanding access to vocational training and other post-secondary education in an affordable way, so students aren’t burdened with insurmountable debt.

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action have praised Amy for her strong stance on gun violence prevention. She jokes she isn’t looking to hurt her uncle, who’s a big hunter. Rather, she supports instituting universal background checks, banning assault rifles, and Extreme Risk Orders, also known as “red flag” laws – which allow law enforcement to remove guns from people they determine to be a threat.

Amy speaks about our allies around the world, and how she will bring them back to the table to stabilize the damage done by the Trump administration. She is a fighter for LGBTQ and women’s rights.

From campaign finance reform to foreign policy, Amy Klobuchar is a great candidate who can win.

I am very happy to announce that I have endorsed Amy Klobuchar for president. She is the person we need to unite this country and to move the country forward. Amy will work across the aisle to pass progressive policy and has what it takes to not only stand up to Trump, but to beat Trump.

She has the work ethic and values that the country wants in a leader, and she will put the people first when she implements the policies and changes for her administration.

Plain and simply, Amy Klobuchar will provide a great future for our kids as president of the United States.

Editor’s note: Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts related to the Iowa caucuses, including but not limited to candidate endorsements. Please read these guidelines and contact Laura Belin if you are interested in writing.

Top image: Senator Amy Klobuchar (left) and State Representative Molly Donahue in Cedar Rapids at a September 1 “climate conversation” event organized by State Senator Rob Hogg. Photo provided by the author and published with permission.

Continue Reading...

Some bad laws for Iowa's environment take effect today

Continuing Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of the Iowa legislature’s work during the 2019 session.

Iowa’s environmental community had something to celebrate when state lawmakers adjourned for the year without passing legislation that would crush small-scale solar development. An unusual coalition including solar installers, environmental groups, and livestock farmers helped keep the bill bottled up in the Iowa House despite intense lobbying by MidAmerican Energy and its allies, along with massive spending by undisclosed donors.

Unfortunately, lawmakers approved and Governor Kim Reynolds signed several other measures that will be detrimental for Iowa’s natural resources and take our state’s energy policy in the wrong direction. The new laws take effect today, as the 2020 fiscal year begins.

Continue Reading...

First look at the Iowa House landscape for 2020

Republicans used their control over state government to inflict tremendous damage on Iowa during the 2019 legislative session: underfunding education, blocking steps that would improve Medicaid services, dismantling effective sex education programs, further undermining workers’ rights, targeting health care for transgender Iowans, and giving Governor Kim Reynolds the ability to pack our highest courts with conservative ideologues.

The disastrous outcomes underscored the urgent need for Democrats to break the Republican trifecta in 2020. The Iowa House is the only realistic path for doing so, since Reynolds won’t be up for re-election next year, and the 32-18 GOP majority in the Iowa Senate will take several cycles to undo. State Representative Andy McKean’s recent party switch improved Democratic prospects, shrinking the Republican majority in the chamber from 54-46 to 53-47. Nevertheless, a net gain of four House seats will be no easy task for Democrats.

The Daily Kos Elections team calculated the 2018 election results for governor and state auditor in every Iowa House district. Jeff Singer discussed their key findings in a May 2 post: Reynolds carried 60 state House districts, Democratic nominee Fred Hubbell just 39. The “median seat backed Reynolds 51.0-46.3, a margin of 4.7 points. That’s about 2 points to the right of her statewide margin of 2.8 points.” Eight Democrats represent districts Reynolds carried, and one (Dave Williams) represents a district where Reynolds and Hubbell tied, while “only one Republican is in a Hubbell district.”

I’d encourage all Iowa politics watchers to bookmark the DK Elections number-crunching, as well as the team’s spreadsheet on 2016 presidential results by House district.

The Daily Kos team also looked at the 2018 voting for state auditor, seeking clues on which House seats might be within reach for Democrats. I don’t find that angle as useful. Previous State Auditor Mary Mosiman ran a terrible campaign. Not only did Rob Sand outwork Mosiman on the trail, he ran unanswered television commercials for six weeks, allowing him to go into election day with higher name ID than the incumbent, which is almost unheard of. Sad to say, Democrats won’t be outspending incompetent, little-known GOP candidates in the 2020 state legislative races.

Here’s my first take on both parties’ best pickup opportunities. What appear to be competitive state House seats may shift over the coming year, depending on candidate recruitment and incumbent retirements, so Bleeding Heartland will periodically return to this topic.

Continue Reading...

Iowa lawmakers pass another unconstitutional "Ag Gag" bill

Iowa legislators just can’t quit violating the constitution in the service of livestock farmers and their lobby groups.

Two months after a federal judge comprehensively dismantled Iowa’s 2012 law prohibiting “agricultural production facility fraud,” the state House and Senate approved a bill creating the crime of “agricultural production facility trespass.” Governor Kim Reynolds has indicated she will sign the legislation. (UPDATE: She signed it on March 14.)

Although the drafters modeled the new bill after portions of an Idaho statute that survived a legal challenge, federal courts could and should strike down this law. Like the previous “ag gag” legislation, its primary purpose is to suppress speech reflecting certain viewpoints.

Continue Reading...

Who's who in the Iowa House for 2019

The Iowa House opened its 2019 session today with 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats. State Representative Michael Bergan was sworn in for a second term, even though his Democratic opponent Kayla Koether is contesting the outcome. A special committee will consider her complaint in the coming weeks.

The new state representatives include 66 men and 34 women (24 Democrats and ten Republicans, record numbers for both parties).

Four African Americans (Democrats Ako Abdul-Samad, Ruth Ann Gaines, Ras Smith, and Phyllis Thede) will serve in the legislature’s lower chamber; the other 96 lawmakers are white. No Latino has ever been elected to the Iowa House, and there has not been an Asian-American member since Swati Dandekar moved up to the state Senate following the 2008 election. Democratic State Representative Liz Bennett is the only out LGBTQ member of the lower chamber. To my knowledge, Abdul-Samad (who is Muslim) is the only lawmaker in either chamber to practice a religion other than Christianity.

After the jump I’ve posted details on the Iowa House majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing House committees. Where relevant, I’ve noted significant changes since last year.

Some non-political trivia: the Iowa House includes two Smiths (both Democrats), while the other 98 members have different surnames. As for popular first names, there are six Davids (four go by Dave), four Marys (one goes by Mary Ann), three Roberts (a Rob, a Bob, and a Bobby), three men named Thomas (two go by Tom), three Johns and two Jons, and three men each named Gary and Brian. There are also two Elizabeths (a Beth and a Liz) and two men each named Bruce, Chris, Jeff, Michael (one goes by Mike), and Charles (a Chuck and a Charlie).

Continue Reading...
View More...