Rural broadband: A mirage

Dan Piller: Far from rescuing rural Iowa, more broadband will hasten the exodus from farms and small towns into the cities. -promoted by Laura Belin

Everybody loves the idea of spending billions of tax dollars to wire the countryside with high speed broadband that is otherwise economically unfeasible. President Donald Trump took a few minutes away from trying to overturn the election last December to reward his loyal rural supporters with $10 billion for the high-speed internet access. President Joe Biden wants to set aside billions more for rural broadband in his “infrastructure” master plan.

In Iowa, Democrats are so cowed by the popularity of rural broadband they’ve acquiesced to Governor Kim Reynolds’ idea to let rural interests help themselves to hundreds of millions of state taxpayer dollars, mostly paid by Iowa’s city dwellers who amount to two-thirds of the state’s population, for rural broadband even though rural broadband will thus join anti-abortion and unlimited gun rights as Reynolds’ calling card to her rural base for her reelection next year.

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Iowa redistricting predictions, part 3: Legislative overview

Evan Burger speculates on how statutory requirements for drawing new Iowa House and Senate districts could impact partisan control of the legislature during the 2020s. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last month, I wrote about the rules governing Iowa’s Congressional redistricting process, and made some predictions. For this post, I’ll do the same for the legislative side of redistricting – but first, a quick mention of two related developments since my last piece. 

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Cutting unemployment during pandemic is immoral, wrong

Charlie Wishman is president of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO. -promoted by Laura Belin

The COVID-19 pandemic has been not only a public health disaster, but also an economic disaster. Many Iowans have experienced filing for unemployment for the first time this past year. As a result, many now realize just how important this lifeline can be for working people and their families. 

You can tell a lot about what kind of legislature we collectively elected by looking at how lawmakers respond to the economic disaster that is COVID-19. Right now, the Republican-controlled Iowa House and Senate are moving a bill forward that would reduce unemployment benefits, inexplicably, during a global pandemic. 

Are we as a state going to continue to allow the rich to stuff their pockets during this pandemic while families suffer? Or worse, will we actively encourage it? Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening now.

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Tanner Halleran for Iowa Democratic Party vice chair

Bryce Smith chairs the Dallas County Democrats. promoted by Laura Belin

As a young Iowan, I got active in Democratic politics during the 2012 re-election of President Obama.  Obama inspired me, and to this day, I find joy and comfort in knowing my volunteerism within his campaign made a difference for so many across Iowa and the country.

I have remained active in Democratic politics since 2012, even running for the Iowa House in 2016. Although I came up short in that election, the campaign pushed me to become even more engaged in the Democratic Party. Since 2017, I have been humbled to be the chair of the Dallas County Democrats. I have found great joy in working with fellow Democrats from across the state to better our party, grow together, elect Democrats and fight the good fight.

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Why Tanner Halleran is running for Iowa Democratic Party vice chair

Tanner Halleran is a college student, chair of the Keokuk County Democrats, and 2nd Vice Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. -promoted by Laura Belin

About Me & My Political Background 

For those reading this post, I will personally know some of you and be unknown to others. I include this section to give you insight into my life—past & present—so that by the end, you can hopefully have a better sense of my character, my determination, and grit for/within this party.

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Don't give up on rural Iowa

Emma Schmit chairs the Calhoun County Democrats and serves on the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee. She is also the Iowa organizer at Food & Water Watch. -promoted by Laura Belin

The November election has inspired a new wave of rural analysis. Spend five minutes looking and you’ll find five different opinions. Some claim Donald Trump’s sweep of Midwestern states indicates that Democrats should write off rural voters. Some believe the lower margin of rural Trump victories in 2020 compared to 2016 shows a slight, but not insignificant, shift in political trends that must be capitalized on.

Whatever your opinion, it’s clear that the debate over rural voters will influence strategies, campaigns and policies over the coming years — and this is something both urban and rural residents should pay attention to.

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