Tricia Gavin challenging Charles Schneider in Iowa Senate district 22

Republican State Senator Charles Schneider coasted to re-election in 2016. He defeated his Senate district 22 challenger Andrew Barnes by more than 4,000 votes after spending only a token amount on the race. In fact, Schneider gave most of his own campaign funds ($133,000) to the Iowa GOP for use in more competitive state Senate districts.

Schneider drew his first declared challenger for this cycle on June 11, when Tricia Gavin announced her candidacy. At least one other Democrat is seriously considering this race, so Schneider’s general election opponent will not be known until after the June 2020 primary.

Given recent political trends in the western suburbs of Des Moines, it’s already obvious that Senate district 22 will be a top Democratic target next year.

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Stop saying we all want clean water

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. An earlier version of this piece was first published on the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

If you have followed water quality issues in Iowa, you’ve probably heard or read the phrase, “We all want clean water.” If so, in all likelihood it came from someone of stature or someone knowledgeable about water quality issues.

A while back I had the idea to shake the Google tree and see what fruit fell to the ground when I entered the phrase “we all want clean water.” It turns out one of our politicians has been quoted saying this so many times that I had a hard time figuring out who else had said it, so I started plucking names out of my head and attaching them to the phrase.

What resulted was an impressive list, a veritable who’s who of Iowa politics and agriculture.

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Hello Darling

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. An earlier version of this post was first published at the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

You might recall a recent post assessed the amount of public land Iowa has relative to other states. Iowa is 8th-lowest of the states in the total amount of public land and 3rd-lowest in the percentage of our land area that is in public hands. This made me wonder about water, specifically, how much water we have relative to other states.

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Twelve takeaways: How to talk to Trump voters about the environment

Midwesterners who supported Donald Trump for president may be open to policies that would “improve environmental conditions while also addressing jobs and the economy, clean water and air, and renewable energy,” even if they are not highly engaged in those issues or convinced that climate change is a global emergency.

Extreme local weather events or threats to area drinking water are good conversation starters, with potential to tap into “pent-up goodwill” rather than reinforcing the “resistance” such voters may feel when confronted by alarming rhetoric.

Those were among the notable findings from twelve focus groups Selzer & Company conducted recently in Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa.

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Drunk Dad

Chris Jones is a research engineer (IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering) at the University of Iowa. First published at the author’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

William Blake said, “You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.” I think about this ever-more frequently as the years fly by. I am at the point in my life where I want to “call it” when more than enough becomes maddeningly obvious. Enough of more than enough.

The latest episode in this series is the idea reported in the Des Moines Register and elsewhere that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE, or Corps) favors endangered species over people, especially with regard to the recent Missouri River flooding.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the inner workings of the Corps, but I’ve been up and down the river enough times to know that this is not an agency staffed with radical environmentalists. I find this idea to be a crystallization of the obstacles before us as we try to make Iowa’s landscape more resilient, sustainable and ecologically sound.

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