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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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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On the road to Philly: Michelle Magyar

On the road to Philly: Michelle Magyar

Gazette Column
Attending DNC brings Iowa business owner full circle Davenport business woman Michelle Magyar grew up in a row house on Philadelphia’s south side. Most days that piece of personal history isn’t a big factor in her life. Eastern Iowa — home to friends and family, her Hawkeye alma mater and the recently expanded and highly successful family business she manages — is where her heart is. Through community organizing efforts that led to the founding of Citizens United for Responsible Vision, Magyar has made an indelible mark on this community. The group co-led by Magyar not only successfully defeated a $48 million bond proposal, but also sued the city and won and flipped the whole of local government with a slate of candidates. The actions brought about change she believes…
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On the road to Philly: Gillian Popenuck

On the road to Philly: Gillian Popenuck

Gazette Column
Political Revolution exists beyond candidate, convention Gillian Frances Popenuck didn’t know she was being prophetic when she told Bernie Sanders, “See you in Philly.” The two met after a rally where Popenuck was chosen to introduce the candidate. “We had some time together backstage,” Popenuck said. “This was before the caucus in Iowa, so he had no idea how well he was going to do. He told me, ‘Whatever happens to me, you got to keep continuing to fight.’ And I told him, ‘I’ll see you in Philly.’ It was just one of those one-off things that you say. But he looked at me very sincerely and said, ‘Yes. You will.’” Three months later, the 30-year-old Burlington mom of two was elected during the 2nd District Convention as a delegate…
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On the road to Philly: Pasquale Luz

On the road to Philly: Pasquale Luz

Gazette Column
One man proudly representing generations of immigrants Family photos tell the story of just how many of Pasquale Luz’s 24 years have been spent in politics as well as how important it has been for his family, descendants of immigrants, to let their voices be heard. Currently a resident of Dubuque, Luz grew up in Chicago where his mother, grandmothers and aunt were very involved with the National Organization for Women. “As far as I can remember, I’ve always been involved and attending political rallies,” Luz said. “My mom has a picture of us marching on Washington, D.C. before I could actually march. I was carried along the route.” When he was older, Luz worked on political campaigns and for the local Democratic Party going door-to-door and making phone calls.…
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On the road to Philly: Jason Brown

On the road to Philly: Jason Brown

Gazette Column
Convention is culmination of yearlong commitment Touring musician Jason Brown is nearing the end of a monthslong political journey, and he knows these last few lengths will be the most challenging and rewarding. Brown, 32, is a longtime Democrat and supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid. He devoted himself to the campaign “and the People’s Movement it represents” more than a year ago, taking time off from his music and livelihood in hopes of making a difference. “This campaign and movement speaks to my heart and my values like none before,” Brown said. “In my short life, we’ve never had a candidate that goes down the line on progressive issues without compromise; someone like Bernie Sanders that is simply authentic and speaks our language.” At the 1st District Democratic Convention…
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Democrats bending under 2016’s reborn PUMA wave

Democrats bending under 2016’s reborn PUMA wave

Gazette Column
The only thing missing from this month’s meeting of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee were PUMA buttons. Although the acronym was officially registered as “People United Means Action,” most remember it as the more colloquial and inflammatory “Party Unity My Ass.” PUMAs were 2008 Democrats who adamantly supported Hillary Clinton, and protested Barack Obama because he “was selected by party leadership and not the people.” Some place, however, there must be a few PUMAs tipping back a pint and laughing — or alternately chewing Alka-Seltzer tablets like candy. Their spirit lives on. PUMAs saw the nomination process as “unfair and biased” and “flawed beyond belief.” Party leaders and the media, they said, were intent on making “the convention into a coronation.” So PUMAs demanded Clinton’s name be placed into…
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Party platform influence is poor concession

Party platform influence is poor concession

Gazette Column
Word is that Democratic officials are hoping to heal the rift between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters. It’s a good goal, even if the action behind the intent points to a questionable start. An agreement allowed Sanders to select five people to serve on the party’s platform committee at the national convention in Philadelphia this July, which is roughly one-third of total membership. Clinton selected six including committee leadership, giving her campaign a controlling interest, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who leads the Democratic National Committee, named the remaining four. This is a deviation. Previously and typically the DNC head names the entire slate, presumably with the blessing of the presumptive or actual presidential nominee. Since Sanders and his supporters have worried their policy proposals, especially those in…
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Time for Iowa Democrats to clean house

Time for Iowa Democrats to clean house

Gazette Column
Nearly two years ago Iowa Republicans made changes to protect the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Iowa Democrats must now do the same. Republican corrections were a public and painful affair. Following 2012 caucus tally mishaps, members of the “liberty movement” staged and executed a plan that had 22 of Iowa’s 28 national delegates supporting Ron Paul as the GOP nominee. Paul supporters also took key state roles, claiming seven of 18 seats on the Republican State Central Committee, under the leadership of movement member A.J. Spiker. Infighting began. Some potential presidential candidates were wary of the party’s ability to provide a level playing field. Within two years Spiker and his allies were removed. The party rebuilt trust and pulled the caucuses back from the brink of political irrelevance. Let’s hope, four years…
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