Mike Pence did what he had to do

Mike Pence did what he had to do

Gazette Column
Do not blame Mike Pence. In this week’s vice presidential debate Pence did the only thing he could. Wisconsin radio personality Charlie Sykes said it best when he described the logical outcome of years of attacks on the news media to Oliver Darcy, politics editor at Business Insider. “We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers,” he said, adding that now when Donald Trump says something outrageous and patently false, he’s expected to fall in line or be labeled a sellout. This is a “monster” created by conservatives, who are now “reaping the whirlwind.” “At a certain point, you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there,” Sykes said. And, no, Sykes hasn’t gone full tilt. His statements weren’t intended to…
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Trading expectations for reality in Linn County supervisor race

Trading expectations for reality in Linn County supervisor race

Gazette Column
Seems like everyone is excited about the number of women up and down the ballot. But there is one hotly contested Linn County office where no female names appear. The Gazette’s Editorial Board has been busy with candidate interviews, which are one part of our endorsement process. To date, we’ve sat down with candidates involved in nearly every contested regional race as well as the statewide races that will appear on local ballots, and have more scheduled in the coming days. These are similar meetings to those we hold throughout the year with elected officials, advocacy groups and others except that they tend to be more diverse in their scope. We aren’t gathered to discuss a single issue or learn about a specific concern. There are some things that the…
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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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Viola Gibson’s legacy lives through us

Viola Gibson’s legacy lives through us

Gazette Column
Visiting Oak Hill Cemetery was necessary this week so that my daughter and I could pay respects to one of the newest inductees into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. Four Iowa women will join the Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Des Moines next weekend. Only one is from the Cedar Rapids area and, unfortunately for us all, she died in 1989. Nonetheless, because of her work on civil rights and passion to make this a more equitable community, Viola Gibson remains a nearly household name. My husband is a local, a graduate of Kennedy High School (Go Cougars!), but I didn’t meet him and move into Iowa in time to know Viola Gibson personally. It wasn’t until 2000 or 2001, when the Cedar Rapids Community School District…
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Let’s celebrate equality in Linn County

Let’s celebrate equality in Linn County

Gazette Column
Less than 100 years ago, those who fought for women’s equality were derided as inferior, lazy, oversexed, masculine, childlike and unworthy of consideration. Even now, when a female combat veteran is the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress, and a major political party nominated its first woman for president, it is easy to forget that American women battled for 80 years to earn the right to vote. The 19th Amendment, which took a lifetime to accomplish, is now a lifetime in the past. Yet stereotypes of women as sex objects or puppets to biological and emotional whims persist. It was only four years ago, during the 2012 presidential campaign, that a national news organization announced “something may raise the chances for both presidential candidates that’s totally out of their…
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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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#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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