Democracy For Iowa Conference 2005

Democracy For Iowa Conference 2005

Notes by Aaron Wings, with additions and Workshop notes by Robin Roseman

Report on DFIA Conference
September 10, 2005
Iowa City


morning sessions were very informational. What was most impressive was
the variety of issues that were discussed and the political cooperative

afternoon sessions were work sessions.  Several important actions
were planned. We began to give structure to a statewide DFA
organization – DFIA.  We also decided to have a coordinated focus
for the next several months on state health care issues, in particular,
a State Health Care Lobby Day.  We urge all interested people to
join DFIA by signing up here.


We began
with a welcome by Dennis Roseman, Iowa City DFA Organizer who in turn
introduced members of the meeting that represented some progressive
non-DFA groups and activities:

Vunderink talked about DAWN, a Democratic Activists Women’s
Network.  This might be termed an Iowa Emily’s List with a major
goal to support progressive women candidates.

Trish Nelson talked about IBLTV, Iowans for Better Local TV, a media reform group:
They have an on-line petition which all are invited to sign asking the
FCC to hear Iowa complaints about the quality of local television.
There will also be an important FCC-Free Press Public Hearing,
on October 5th, in Iowa City at the University of Iowa (exact
location to be determined).

Ballas spoke of Rapid Response Network. This organization is well known
to all readers of Blog for Iowa.   Please join them in their
efforts to fight disinformation:

Carberry informed us of an Iowa City group, Citizens for Public Power.
This group has put the issue of creating a municipal Iowa City electric
power company on the November ballot. They are currently building
support for passage.

Stater, Chair Linn County Democrats, talked about a Fundraiser on
October 22nd, in Mount Vernon, with the possibility of a nationally
prominent Democratic office holder as a speaker. For more information
go to

Price discussed Quad Cities Progressive Action for the Common Good, a
new progressive coalition consisting of various issue forums. Due to
the high level of activity, PACG is currently engaged in a fundraising
campaign in an effort to hire an organizer to maintain the necessary
support of the various issue forums.

Carberry also spoke of FAIR, a local group working for social and
economic justice. FAIR will co-sponsor an Iowa City Council Candidate
Forum with Johnson County DFA and The 49 – to be held on September 15th.

above list exemplifies the variety of activities that Iowa DFA members
are engaged in as well as establishing  connections and
cooperation with other progressive groups.

Jim Dean, DFA Chair, then gave a lively keynote talk about the future plans and goals for DFA.

He spoke
of other DFA State meetings (23 of these to date). They focused on some
small races as well as larger ones. Currently DFA is supporting 40
candidates nationwide and plans to endorse an additional 10 more
candidates for a total of 50. DFA is also engaged in providing some
Candidate and Activist training with 21st Century Democrats. In
addition, they plan to provide a 2-day training workshop in the Quad
Cities next Spring.

listed and spoke briefly on several current and future political issues
and mentioned two particular goals for the near future: a DFA Meet-up
in every congressional district and expansion of Generation DFA for
college students.

In the
next segment there were four reports by Iowa DFA Meetup
groups: Alta Price for Democracy for the Quad Cities, Tony Hansen
for Des Moines DFA, Sue Astley for Cedar Rapids DFA, and Robin Roseman
for Johnson County DFA.

Chris Warshaw, DFA Field/Political Director, described four areas of focus for DFA:

1.  Meet-up programs in all states, 100 college groups, a total of 5000 at meet-ups

2.  Development of communication tools such as DFA-Link.

DFA Link will replace and improve upon the functionality that we had with

 Having special training sessions to build political skills such
as communication with elected officials and writing letters to editors,
etc.  For example, there is a plan for a two-day training next
Spring in the Quad Cities.

 Candidate development: One goal is to build from within by
encouraging members to run for office.  Also, DFA sponsored 103
candidates last year – approximately 1/3 won.  DFA is currently
sponsoring 40 candidates, but won’t endorse any more until after the
November elections with the exception of one congressional seat.

This early sponsorship will be decided by voting online here.

(Note: The vote started on Tuesday, 9/13)

Next on
the program was a Candidate Forum. It was a real showcase of what we in
DFA are doing. Candidates (and one pre-candidate) from many levels of
government participated; David Loebsack (2nd District), Bill Gluba and
Bruce Braley (1st District), Tammy Place (pre-candidate, Iowa House 79)
and Garry Klein (Iowa City Council).  Scroll down for contact information.

Next we had two presentations dealing with Iowa issues and Iowa groups:

Owen, assistant Director of the Iowa Policy Project, gave a fact filled
presentation on Iowa economic issues. To review this wellspring of
useful information, stats and facts (highly recommended), visit thier
website at:

Swisher, gave a spirited talk about three organizations of which she is
an officer:  The Iowa Democratic Party, SEIU, and Johnson
County Democrats. Sarah discussed various ways that DFA could interface
with each of these organizations for a mutual benefit.


Identifying Goals

What to
focus on in the next 6 months?  At first a large list of goals and
issues were suggested by participants but were ultimately reduced down
to reflect two levels: Meetup level and State level.

On the Local Level:

Endorse and support local candidates. (Run for office)

Participate in 2006 Democratic caucuses.

Build coalitions with other progressive groups.

Outreach-expand membership.

On the State Level:

Increase the number of contributors for Blog for Iowa.

Support Democratic Candidates; Opportunity to take back the Iowa House, Senate,
and Governorship in 2006.

Health Care for Iowa.

Most importantly it was decided to form a state-wide group known as Democracy for Iowa (DFIA). This
would be done with the help of a steering committee and implemented (in
part) as a new statewide DFA-link group called DFIA.

the DFIA Steering Committee: Dennis Roseman, Robin Roseman, Alta Price,
Gary Gramon, Sue Astley, Tony Hansen, Cliff Day, Sally Troxell,
Trish Nelson and  Ellen Ballas

One goal of DFIA is to expand the number of Meet-up groups and to facilitate communication between members across Iowa.

In particular we would like to have at least one Meetup group per congressional district. (see map)

It was
suggested that folks from established groups should  help new
groups get going. Tony volunteered for central Iowa, Alta and Dennis
for eastern Iowa, and we need someone for western Iowa.

As a particular focus for statewide action it was decided to have a Health Care Lobby Day.

volunteered to coordinate with SEIU/Iowans for Health Care to
participate in a joint Health Care Lobby Day in Des Moines on Februrary
7th, 2006.  DFA will help with a phone list and support.  We
also plan to make home visits to legislators in the districts to
discuss Health Care for all Iowans.

At the
end of the day, a few of us went out for ice cream with Ed Fallon,
candidate for governor, who wasn't able to make the meeting because of
a previous engagement, but showed up at the Iowa Room just as we were

leaving. A great time was had by all!

Braley for Congress

P O Box 390

Waterloo, IA  50704


Tammy Place

PO Box 501

Durant, IA  52747


Friends of Bill Gluba

PO Box 2205

Davenport, IA  52808


David Loebsack

PO Box 81

Mt Vernon IA 52314


Garry Klein

628 2nd Ave

Iowa City, IA  52245

This entry was posted in Bruce Braley, Candidates, David Loebsack, Dean News, Dean Rapid Response - Iowa, DFQC, Ed Fallon, Health Care & Medicare, Introducing DFIA, Local Events, Main Page, Meet Up Central - Iowa, Progressive Community. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Democracy For Iowa Conference 2005

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for the notes on what happened at the DFIA conference. Hopefully next year I will be able to attend.
    Hats off to the steering committee to get DFIA officially organized. It may seem like a daunting task but I think that it will be well worth it.


Comments are closed.