Iowa families need more than platitudes, campaign rhetoric

Iowa families need more than platitudes, campaign rhetoric

Gazette Column
Some Iowa lawmakers and elected officials gathered on the steps of the Capital this week to be disingenuous. [caption id="attachment_156" align="alignright" width="640"] The State Capitol Building in Des Moines. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)[/caption] It’s difficult to find good news in this election cycle, but this past week offered an exception. Both Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have rolled out their proposals for paid family medical leave. I’ll leave it to readers to research the ins-and-outs of the proposals by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The big news is the conversation about family medical leave is in the headlines again, and that’s due in large part to the number of women who have advocated on behalf of this issue. It’s good that we are talking, because this is an issue that’s been…
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2016 election: Where the girls aren’t

2016 election: Where the girls aren’t

Gazette Column
You have heard that Iowa has a bumper crop of female candidates on the 2016 ballot? It’s true. But whether or not you have the opportunity to color in an oval next to the name of a woman running for the statehouse will most likely depend on where you live. Statewide advocacy group 50-50 in 2020 has worked since the fall of 2010 in partnership with several other women’s organizations toward a goal of political equity in Iowa by the year 2020, which will be the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. So it was little wonder that this non-partisan group was the first to shout the news that 2016 was a historic year for women in politics. [caption id="attachment_378" align="alignleft" width="300"] This is how many seats women would hold following…
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‘Fab Five’ shows Corridor’s 2016 battleground status

‘Fab Five’ shows Corridor’s 2016 battleground status

Gazette Column
Iowa Democrats have their eyes on the Corridor, and are betting on the rise of the “Fab Five.” With a majority of races up and down the ballot mostly set, Democrats gathered in Marion Thursday night to preview the 2016 coordinated campaign with an initiative led by Hillary Clinton’s state team, “Iowa Women Win.” The focus is, of course, on the fact that two women — Hillary Clinton and Patty Judge — earned the Democratic Party’s nomination in races at the top of statewide ballot for the first time in Iowa history. The “amazing women of Iowa’s past, present and future” is a theme the campaign hopes will energize those drawn by the historic nature of Clinton’s candidacy as well as those who have been turned off by Republican nominee…
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Greens see opportunity in Democrats’ discord

Greens see opportunity in Democrats’ discord

Gazette Column
Two Eastern Iowans are delegates to Green Party Convention in Houston this week PHILADELPHIA — Green Party presumptive presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein is no Ralph Nadar, but Iowans Holly Hart and Wendy Barth also understand this isn’t a typical election year. The two are long-time Green Party members and activists who will travel this week as delegates to the party’s Presidential Nominating Convention in Houston. Barth, of Cedar Rapids, was a Green Party candidate for governor in 2006, after joining the party in 2000. “I became involved as soon as I became aware that Iowa had a Green Party,” she said, noting that she had long been concerned about the environment, which is a key issue for the Greens. [caption id="attachment_458" align="alignleft" width="300"] Green Party members Holly Hart and…
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Iowa nuns pledge to ‘mend gaps’

Iowa nuns pledge to ‘mend gaps’

Gazette Column
PHILADELPHIA — Just when I had written off the idea of finding Iowans volunteering with one of the advocacy groups in town for the Democratic National Convention, a group of wagon-pulling nuns rolled up and offered a cup of lemonade. Needing to meet a deadline and in a hurry, I initially refused. The nuns persisted. They were sweet and kind, so I snapped a photo to post on Twitter with my thanks. But when I tried to post it, the only group with the “Nuns on the Bus” name I found was based in Ohio. “Is this organization out of Ohio?” I asked. “No,” a sister replied. “Is that where you’re from?” I explained that I was a member of the Iowa media in town for the convention. She smiled…
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Despite Clinton accomplishment, women haven’t made it yet

Despite Clinton accomplishment, women haven’t made it yet

Gazette Column
PHILADELPHIA — Maybe it can all be chalked up to a lack of foresight by Democratic National Convention organizers. On Wednesday, the morning after Hillary Clinton became the first woman ever nominated for the presidency by a major political party, many newspaper readers across the country either didn’t see the news on their front page or saw headlines about history-making alongside a photograph of former President Bill Clinton. The latter was sadly what greeted readers of this newspaper. I get the constraints and preferences of the news business. Things have to be ready by a certain time, and editors want fresh photos to run with the news. The keynote speaker at the DNC Tuesday night was Bill Clinton, with Hillary appearing only via satellite. So, in this case, the news…
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DNC constituency caucuses are pockets of unity

DNC constituency caucuses are pockets of unity

Gazette Column
PHILADELPHIA — A text message I received from Iowa this morning is similar to dozens of others: “Is it really as bad as it looks on TV?” The answer depends on where you look. With a few notable exceptions, most television cameras are focused on prime time convention coverage, which happens each evening at the Wells Fargo Center. But convention activities occur throughout the day. Each morning state delegations hold breakfast meetings, usually in or near their designated hotel. These are open to the press and are typically favorites of state-based political reporters because they provide ample opportunity and easy access to state party leaders and members of the delegation. About four miles from the arena, just on the edge of Chinatown, delegates meet as a part of constituency caucuses…
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In Philly ‘the Bern’ rubs raw

In Philly ‘the Bern’ rubs raw

Featured, Gazette Column
PHILADELPHIA — Democracy can’t help but be noisy and messy. Monday night it took a nose-dive into ugly. There has been no escape from supporters of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign for those attending the Democratic National Convention. Delegates came to cast their vote for their chosen candidate, regardless of projections for the final count. Others are here to march and demonstrate, and have repeatedly owned the streets. Most of all, they’ve come to be heard, and media voices like my own have amplified their messages of frustration, and calls for income equity. [caption id="attachment_476" align="alignright" width="300"] Supporters of Bernie Sanders gathered near Philadelphia City Hall during the Democratic National Convention. (Lynda Waddington/The Gazette)[/caption] A somewhat disjointed, massive march was held Sunday. It began with a banner demanding an end to…
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Iowa DNC delegation focused, looking ahead

Iowa DNC delegation focused, looking ahead

Gazette Column
PHILADELPHIA — There’s a good chance you’ve already heard about the dust-up surrounding the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Members of the Iowa Delegation are tuned in, curious and concerned about how the resignation of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chairwoman and the email controversy behind it will impact the convention and upcoming general election. Many are dreading more distracting spectacles, such as the rowdy scene Monday morning when Wasserman Schultz addressed members of the Florida delegation only to have the breakfast meeting overrun with protesters. Few in Philadelphia believe Wasserman Schultz acted in good faith, some believe she worked purposefully to diminish U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential aspirations. No one I’ve spoken with believes she should continue to lead the DNC. But behind the cable news buzz and…
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#Road2Philly: Yes, I’ll be celebrating

#Road2Philly: Yes, I’ll be celebrating

Gazette Column
Being an observer to Hillary Clinton’s expected presidential nomination means a lot to me. Here’s why. At one of our recent Pints & Politics events, I was discussing how, beyond the political horserace and never-ending public policy debate, being at a convention where, presumably, a major American political party would nominate a women as president for the first time in history was significant, when Iowa Public Radio host Ben Keiffer interrupted to ask if felt the same about Joni Ernst breaking Iowa’s congressional glass ceiling. The question caught me off guard, not because I couldn’t answer it, but because I hold a great deal of respect for Ben as well as for James Q. Lynch and Todd Dorman, who share the Pints & Politics stage with me. I needed a…
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