How Democrats can reach rural America, build relationships, create change

Second in a series of post-election commentaries by Amber Gustafson, who was the Democratic candidate in Iowa Senate district 19. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Remember the Hippos – A Parable

Once a non-profit organization decided to “help” a poor, rural village in a country in Africa. When the fresh-faced, idealistic, young European aid workers arrived, they noticed many things right away. They noticed that the people in the village were malnourished. They also noticed that the village had no fields, no vineyards, and no orchards.

The aid workers, full of compassion, saw that what the people of the village needed was food; and more than that, they needed to be taught how to farm.

Continue Reading...

IA-Gov post-mortem: One mistake and two missed opportunities

Nate Williams is a labor attorney and served in the Iowa House from 2009 through 2012. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I am not sure whether to think of this as “three mistakes Fred Hubbell’s campaign made” or “one mistake the Hubbell campaign made and two missed opportunities.”

Either way, there are three things I wish the Hubbell campaign would have done very differently.

Continue Reading...

Grassley to chair Senate Finance Committee

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters today that he will lead the Senate Finance Committee in the new Congress. The current chair, Senator Orrin Hatch, is retiring. Grassley’s official website notes,

Senator Grassley calls this committee the quality of life committee because of the committee’s jurisdiction, which includes all tax matters, health care, Social Security; Medicare, Medicaid, social services, unemployment compensation, tariffs and international trade. Legislation acted on by the Committee on Finance raises virtually all federal revenue, and expenditures authorized by this committee represent as much as two-thirds of the federal budget.

Continue Reading...

"Fight for the best of who we are": Kamala Harris rallies Iowa Democrats

Hundreds of Iowa Democrats got their first chance to hear U.S. Senator Kamala Harris on October 22. On her first major swing through the state, the senator from California had a packed schedule, including:

  • a morning gathering with the Asian and Latino Coalition;
  • an Ankeny rally organized by Des Moines Area Community College students, also featuring Iowa House district 38 candidate Heather Matson, Iowa Senate district 19 candidate Amber Gustafson, and third Congressional district nominee Cindy Axne;
  • a late afternoon event in Indianola;
  • a private fundraiser for Axne; and finally
  • a speech to a room full of Polk County Democrats in Des Moines.
  • Though Harris is widely viewed as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, she kept her focus on the election happening November 6. I enclose below the full audio and partial transcript of the evening speech, which was similar to remarks Harris delivered earlier in the day.

    Whereas some politicians tend to use convoluted, run-on sentences, Harris was striking in how she used simple sentence construction and repetition to great effect.

    Continue Reading...

    IA-Gov: Notes on the final Hubbell-Reynolds debate

    Governor Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell debated for the third and last time today in Davenport. Too bad not many viewers are likely to tune in at 8:00 am on a Sunday morning, because the discussion was yet another study in contrasts. For those who prefer a written recap, I enclose below my detailed notes. Click here and here for Bleeding Heartland’s analysis of the first two Hubbell-Reynolds debates.

    As during the second debate, journalists kept the candidates on topic and within the time limit, so kudos to moderator David Nelson of KWQC-TV6 and panelists Erin Murphy of Lee Enterprises, Forrest Saunders of KCRG-TV9, and Jenna Jackson of KWQC-TV6.

    Both candidates recycled many talking points from their first two meetings. My impression was that Reynolds performed about equally well in all three debates, while Hubbell improved each time. For instance, after Reynolds noted that Iowa had moved up in mental health rankings three years in a row and was now rated sixth in the country for mental health, Hubbell pointed out that the study the governor cited covered the years 2013 through 2015. That was before the Branstad/Reynolds administration closed some mental health institutions and privatized Medicaid, which has led to worse care for thousands of Iowans.

    For those who prefer to watch the replay, KCRG-TV posted the video in a single file, which is the most user-friendly option. You can also find the debate on KWQC-TV (with closed captioning) and WOWT-TV’s websites, but you will have to watch a series of clips, with advertisements before each segment.

    Continue Reading...
    View More...