Catherine Williams: Breaking barriers and glass ceilings 50 years ago

Democratic State Representative Marti Anderson delivered these remarks in the Iowa House on February 4. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Iowa House of Representatives on February 4, 2019 begins to observe Black History Month. The ancestors of African Americans did not immigrate to the United States of their own free will like most of our families. They were trafficked to America to work the fields, build our communities and help create our nation’s history.

Beginning today and for the next month, you will hear inspirational stories of Black Americans and you will be moved by their lives of hard work and persistence to make America a better place for their children.

I am thrilled to open this special month of American history by honoring the Iowa grit and American spirit of my friend and shero, Catherine Gayle Williams of Des Moines. Ms. Williams has had two primary careers in her 104 rich years of life, and I would like to weave her story of accomplishment for you.

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What Steve King should learn from his own background

Allison Engel researched Steve King’s family tree last year and found “the origin story of most Americans.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Embattled Iowa Republican U.S. Representative Steve King declared recently he was descended from abolitionists, presumably trying to put a better face on his racist and anti-immigrant utterances that finally caused the House to strip him of his committee assignments. This leaves our state without representation we deserve and are paying for, but at least his words now carry less weight.

Understanding King’s background is essential to comprehending how a growing number of Americans, young and old, are ignoring or rewriting history to embrace hatred of “the other.”

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Ten things to know about the Iowa Supreme Court applicants

The State Judicial Nominating Commission will meet on January 30 to consider nineteen applicants seeking to replace Iowa Supreme Court Justice Daryl Hecht, who stepped down last month. The commission will then send Governor Kim Reynolds a list of three candidates, one of whom will be appointed to the high court within 30 days.

After reviewing the applications, I compiled some noteworthy facts about the contenders. One of them is not like the others.

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A walk on a cold winter day with my grandfather

Tom Witosky, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, reflects on threats to tribal sovereignty and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native American ancestry. -promoted by Laura Belin

One cold winter day, my maternal grandfather, Cliff King, and I went for a long walk.

Late afternoon in Wisconsin with sunlight fading and snow crunching under our feet, we talked about a lot of things as a bracing breeze out of the north slapped our faces red. This walk was a necessary one for Cliff, who liked to walk outside because it was the only time he could get a chaw of tobacco out of from under the watchful eye of my grandmother and my mother.

He offered me a chunk and – having done a bit of it during my summers in an Idaho logging camp – I accepted. We walked quietly for a while, this man who had been born in the Indian Territory before Oklahoma had become a state and before he was recognized as a U.S. citizen and his grandson, now a college student.

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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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