Grassley-Ernst Upcoming Town Halls

Ernst Town Halls

Friday (today) 8/11/17 @ 6:00PM Fareway Education Center, 1215 S Marshall St,

Ft. Dodge
Monday, 8/14/17 @ 4:30PM Monday, Fort Dodge Middle School, 800 N 32nd St,

Tuesday, 8/15 17 @ 12:30 PM, Washington High School Auditorium. 1111 S Ave

Grassley Town Halls

Thursday, 8/24, @ 11:30 Bedford City Hall, 625 Court Ave

Tuesday, 8/29 @3:45 Pimghar Community Building, 215 1st St SE\

Wednesday, 8/30 @ 8:00AM, Sibley Senior Center, 612 8th St.

8/31 Thursday@10:00AM @Mapelton Community Center, 511 Main Street

8/31 Thursday@ 2:45, Harlan Community Center,718 Court St.

Check this space for updates.

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Schedule of Upcoming Democratic Events

Here’s a word from Senate Democratic leader, Rob Hogg. Check out these upcoming events.

Here’s good news to start the day: Democrat Phil Miller, veterinarian and education advocate, won the special election Tuesday in Iowa House District 82 in Davis, Van Buren, and Jefferson Counties in southeast Iowa by 54% to 44% in a district that Trump won by more than 20% last November.

Here’s even more good news: We have a series of upcoming events where you can join in, reach out, and speak up to help us keep building our momentum.

Together, we can compete in districts across Iowa, take back the majority in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate, un-do the damage, and get Iowa going in the right direction again. Join me for one or more of these following events:

Thursday, August 10, 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. –
“Cruising to Victory” River Cruise Fundraiser, Catfish Charlie’s, Dubuque

Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque has organized a “cruising to victory” river cruise fundraiser on the Mississippi River in Dubuque on Thursday, August 10. I plan to join her, and hope you can, too.

She will be holding a pre-cruise reception at Catfish Charlie’s, 1630 E. 16th St., in Dubuque, at 4:30 p.m. Please attend and contribute as you are able.

Boarding for the river cruise on the American Lady will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the ship sailing from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets are required for the river cruise at the $100, $250, and $500 levels. There are a few tickets remaining. Please reserve your spot today by contacting Seth Cohen at

You can get more details, and invite your friends, at:

Friday, August 11, 10:00 a.m. –
“Drive for our Lives” Bus Tour, Mays Island, Cedar Rapids

A national bus tour, “Drive for our Lives,” featuring ordinary Americans who benefit from access to health care, will stop at Plaza Park on Mays Island in downtown Cedar Rapids this Friday, August 11, at 10:00 a.m. to rally support for protecting and expanding health care to cover all Americans.

I will be there, and hope you can join us. If you can’t join us, please keep speaking up with Iowa’s congressional delegation: “Don’t take away health care, expand it to everybody as Trump promised.” For more details, and to invite your friends, visit:

Friday, August 11, 4:00 p.m. –
Iowa Democratic Wing Ding, Surf Ballroom, Clear Lake

The Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the historic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake will start at 5:00 p.m. For tickets to the Wing Ding, and other information, visit:

Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City and I are hosting a pre-Wing Ding reception at the Surf District Grill, 619 Buddy Holly Place, in Clear Lake, starting at 4:00 p.m. with special guest, Congressman Eric Swalwell, a Sac City native who represents the 15th district in California. So if you are attending the Wing Ding, come early and join Senator Ragan and myself.

Other Upcoming Events

Cedar Rapids, Saturday, August 19, 1:30 p.m. – City Manager’s “1-Bag Challenge” Summer Cleanup Challenge, starting at 1:30 p.m. from the McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 1st St. SW. For details, visit:

Davenport, Sunday, August 20, 1:00 p.m. – Scott County Democrats’ Summer Picnic, starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Duck Creek Lodge, 3300 E. Locust Street. For details, visit:

Luzerne, Sunday, August 20, 5:00 p.m. – Benton County Democrats’ Cookout and Fundraiser at Luzerne City Park, starting at 5:00 p.m. For more details, visit:

Lohrville, Saturday, August 26, 4:30 p.m. – Calhoun County Democrats’ Fundraiser, 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the Lohrville EMS Building. For more details, visit:

Eldora, Sunday, August 27, noon to 2:00 p.m. – Iowa River Forum in Hardin County at Pine Lake State Park, east of Eldora and south of Steamboat Rock, in the day-use shelter.  For more details, visit:

Grinnell, Sunday, August 27, 4:00 p.m. – Poweshiek County Democrats’ annual picnic, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. For more details, visit:

Cedar Rapids, Rob Hogg Fall Fundraising Kickoff, Wednesday, September 6, 4:30 p.m. – Mark your calendars now for my fundraising event at the Sag Wagon, 827 Shaver Road NE, in Cedar Rapids, on Wednesday, September 6, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. For more details, visit:

Contributions to my campaign committee, “Citizens for Rob Hogg,” are always welcome and needed. You can send a check payable to “Citizens for Rob Hogg” to P.O. Box 1361, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406, or contribute online at:

Let’s keep the momentum going – I hope to see you at one or more of these events.


Senator Rob Hogg
Senate Democratic Leader
Cedar Rapids

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Hope Is Alive In House District 82

Senator Harkin Speaking at Aug. 2, 2009 Curt Hanson Fundraiser

What seems most important about last night’s Iowa House District 82 special election to replace Curt Hanson is Democrat Phil Miller won in a post-Tom Harkin era.

Iowa no longer has a Democratic U.S. Senator able to travel most counties, recount his local margin of victory to politicians and engage voters. When Harkin visited Dick Schwab’s 2012 house race in Cedar County, his presence didn’t tip the scale in our favor but gave us hope a Democratic candidate could win rural, conservative areas. A case could be made that when Harkin retired so did Democratic hopes for the state. Democrats fell apart, first by losing his U.S. Senate seat, and then by crafting a spotty effort to support Hillary Clinton for president. Given the scale of President Trump’s Iowa win, such hope is needed.

If you want election night analysis, read Bleeding Heartland’s detailed report on the numbers and potential meaning for Democrats by clicking here.

Here’s the crux: “Today’s result is proof that good Democratic candidates can still compete in Iowa’s smaller towns and rural areas where Republicans made huge gains up and down the ticket in 2016,” DesMoinesDem wrote.

It is significant that one of Iowa Republican Party chair Jeff Kaufmann’s stated goals for 2017 is to shore up support among “new Republican voters.” In a July 27 article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette he said of his “new voters,”

I’m worried about them because, in general, what they know is Republicans have control and Republicans aren’t doing what they promised, even though individual congresspeople and senators are doing what they have promised… The people that are less informed about the process, yes, I worry because it contributes to a climate that we’ve given you what you’ve asked for and we haven’t delivered.

I hope the House District 82 election results give Mr. Kaufmann something else closer to home to worry about.

The test for Democrats will be whether they can walk and chew gum at the same time in 2018. It is one thing to concentrate resources on a single race and win, quite another to turn the Iowa house, senate and governor’s office Democratic again. Democrats have done it in Iowa with mixed results. Governor Harold Hughes’ term beginning in 1964 was notable and largely successful. Governor Chet Culver’s 2006 term hangs like an albatross around neck of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Democrats can have a drink to celebrate Miller’s win thanks to Harold Hughes ‘revamping Iowa’s alcohol control system and legalization of “liquor-by-the-drink.” This morning after they can hopefully develop momentum toward additional wins in 2018.

Dr. Phil Miller’s win last night provided evidence hope is alive.

Posted in 2018 Election Campaign | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

RIP Glen Campbell

Why not pause today for a moment to acknowledge the passing of the great Glen Campbell..

Posted in Blog for Iowa | 1 Comment

Contact Your Reps And CC Your Local Newspaper

Many Iowans are finding out just how futile it is to attempt to persuade our Republican representatives by writing to them directly.  Maybe they’ll be a bit more responsive if we take it to the media, as Cindy Garlock did so capably in this guest column in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Keep writing your representatives in congress. But don’t forget to cc your local paper.

I just received an email from my congressman, Rod Blum.

It is the usual email blast that goes out to folks in his district. One paragraph of the email caught my eye, however. It said, “I learn so much from meeting with people across Eastern Iowa, and I look forward to continuing to travel the district in 2017 to listen to Iowans from all walks of life so I can represent you to the best of my ability.”

I would have to challenge Rep. Blum on that statement. If, indeed, he is interested in listening to his constituents, how is it that he has refused to listen to a group of his Cedar Rapids constituents who have been requesting a meeting with him since February? If he wants to listen to Iowans, why does his staff tell us that meeting with us “would not be an effective use of the congressman’s time?” How can he represent us when we are told by his staff that we are “resisters” and that his staff will not allocate any additional resources to us? How does he know the issues of Iowans from all walks of life when his staff tells us that businesses get priority in meeting with the congressman?

Our group of concerned 1st District constituents consists of retirees, educators, veterans, a small business owner, and college students. We are the embodiment of “Iowans from all walks of life.” We have followed all protocols put forth by Rep. Blum’s office in requesting a face-to-face meeting with him. We have spoken on the phone with his local staff and his D.C. staff. We have spoken to his scheduler in Dubuque. We have met with his Cedar Rapids office staff. We have sent requests via Blum’s website. We have sent requests via the U.S. Postal Service. We have offered to meet with him at his convenience, whenever he is in the district at a location and time of his choosing.

Does Blum really care about “Iowans from all walks of life” or does he only care about Iowans who voted for him? Or just the Iowans who made campaign contributions? Or does he care more about about the folks who make up the North Carolina Leadership Fund, which gave his campaign more than $46,000 in the last campaign cycle? Or the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth, which contributed $42,000? If Blum truly cares about Iowans, why has he been refusing our requests for the last six months? Does Blum really represent ALL Iowans?

Rep. Blum, we continue to hope for a positive response from your office concerning our request for a meeting. Hopefully, the August recess will provide ample time in your schedule to meet with us — you know — the “Iowans from all walks of life.”

• Cindy Garlock of Cedar Rapids is a local political activist

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KCRG: Personal Vendetta “Poor Choice of Words”

Last Thursday,  I posted an article on Blog for Iowa,  critical of  KCRG-TV9’s coverage of a rally to protect the ACA held in Cedar Rapids.  I wanted to know by what process the phrase “personal vendetta” was chosen to be used in the on-air report, when the phrase “specific issue” was used in the accompanying text, in describing Indivisible Iowa’s efforts to meet with their congressman, Rod Blum.   As I said in my post, 

“Indivisible Iowa is working hard to fight for good public policy in a civil manner.  It is in no way appropriate to frame their efforts to meet with their congressman to share their views as constituents as a “personal vendetta.”  

I couldn’t imagine how they came up with the inflammatory and inaccurate phrase  “personal vendetta” so I also asked specifically if they were pressured by the Blum camp to use the phrase. Earlier in the week (Monday) I had contacted the station via email, but by Thursday, still had not received a reply. On Friday, I received KCRG’s response from Adam Caros, KCRG News Director.  Here it is below.

Hi Trish,

I apologize for the late response.  This went into a newsroom inbox and the person who monitors it sent it to the wrong person to respond.  I saw your blog post and went looking for your email and found it.  But you should have gotten a response much sooner than this.

The quick answer is that this was a poor choice of words and a misunderstanding of meaning of “personal vendetta,”  The reporter was attempting to convey that Indivisible Iowa is an ongoing and outspoken critic of Rep. Blum to help put their viewpoint and statements in perspective.  “Personal Vendetta” was the wrong choice of words to convey that and that has been addressed with the reporter who wrote it.  But no one tells us what to report or how to report something.  If Rep. Blum had described the group that way, we would have identified that as his opinion.  But the Blum campaign made no comments to us about the group or this story

The web text of “a specific issue” was referring to the group’s push for a meeting with Rep. Blum, which he has repeatedly denied.  The difference between that and the on-air script is because of the medium.  As you noted, we specifically refer to Indivisible Iowa in the web text while the video refers to “one group” while we see the Indivisible Iowa sign.  The script from on-air was re-worked since you could not see the Indivisible Iowa signs while referring to “one group” in a text article.

I know you said this was for your personal knowledge but I would appreciate if you updated your blog post to include this explanation to make clear we were not pressured by Rep. Blum or anyone else on this story or any other.

Feel free to reach out with any other questions,

Adam Carros
501 2nd Avenue SE • Cedar Rapids • IA 52401
office: 319.399.5901  cell: 319.830.7050
social media: @acarros

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J.D. Scholten Takes On Steve King

Hey 4th District of Iowa, crazy Steve King has a challenger!  And while you’re here, please check out Blog for Iowa’s page The Madness of Steve King  which has famous King quotes, videos, and links to articles. We will continue adding items to this page which is intended to be a resource for letters to the editor, etc.   If  you find something we don’t have, you can send us your contributions at blog3@democracyforiowa

So scroll down to check out J.D. Scholten’s campaign video and then see if you can help him out.

J.D. Scholten is the Democratic running for the US House in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District against Steve King.  Learn more about J.D. Scholten or donate to the campaign at:

Like the Campaign’s Facebook page:

Follow the Campaign’s Twitter page:

Follow the Campaign’s Instagram page:

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August 6th, 1965 – Lyndon Johnson Signs The Voting Rights Act.

video – 49 minutes

The rapidity and disdain with which the current administration and Republican led states across the country are working to strip voting rights from citizens conjures up memories of the Jim Crow days of the the long ago past. Or at least we thought they were past.

Two years ago when the Voting Rights Act turned 50 years old, most people could never have imagined the sudden and devastating attacks on voting that have left millions of our citizens without a voice in their own government. Certainly the new voter suppression laws coupled with very questionable and hackable voting machines played a major part in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in the most stunning presidential election ever.

Much like money in politics, rooting out voter suppression and other REAL problems with elections will be hard to do since the people in power are in power due to some degree to voter suppression.

As with the Civil rights Act which was enacted the previous year, the Voting Rights Act was a direct affront to the racial practices of the day. Neither were giving anyone special rights nor taking rights away from anyone. What both laws did was to attempt to ensure that citizens would be able to exercise their rights that were theirs simply because they are citizens.

It is a very sad commentary on this nation that race is never far from the surface as an issue. What is an even sadder commentary is that politicians speak in coded language to exploit the racial issue. This past year has seen one party exploit the racial divide to capture the mechanisms of power in this country.

As often happens in the political arena we take two steps forward and one and a half steps backward. In this case we are close to taking the full two steps backward. Many in America are applauding this development.

So on this anniversary of a huge step forward in our country’s continuing striving to reach the goals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and many other revered documents, we must ask ourselves – What happened and what can we do to get us back on the right track?

Remember that if those currently holding power are successful in taking away the voting rights of any citizens, then you will be the next target until only a hand selected elite continues to elect those same politicians who will continue to restrict voting rights more and more. 

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Iowa Voters, voter suppression, voting rights | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: Lammas Edition

Earlier this past week on the pagan calendar the feast of Lammas was celebrated. From   

At Lammas, sometimes called Lughnasadh, it’s time to celebrate the first harvest of the year, and recognize that the hot summer days will soon come to an end.   The plants of spring wither and drop seeds to ensure future crops. Grains are ready to be harvested and the fruits are ripe for picking.  We can give thanks for the food on our tables.

Lughnasadh means the funeral games of Lugh (pronounced Loo), referring to Lugh, the sun god. However, the funeral is not his own, but the funeral games he hosts in honor of his foster-mother Tailte. For that reason, the traditional Tailtean craft fairs and Tailtean marriages (which last for a year and a day) are also celebrated at this time.

As autumn begins, the Celtic Sun God enters his old age, but is not yet dead. The God symbolically loses some of his strength as the Sun rises farther in the South each day and the nights grow longer.

The Christian religion adopted this theme and called it ‘Lammas ‘, meaning ‘loaf-mass ‘, a time when newly baked loaves of bread are placed on the altar. An alternative date around August 5 (Old Lammas), when the sun reaches 15 degrees Leo, is sometimes employed by Covens.

A different way to look at the world than most of us are accustomed to.

Wow – I can hardly keep up anymore, can you?

1) Facing a possible veto override the current president signed a bill imposing sanctions on what country in particular?

2) The current president reacted to the defeat of the ACA repeal by threatening to stop making CSR payments. What are CSR payments?

3) Trends in NYC show what major crimes could be headed for historic highs or lows in this year?

4) Last weekend started with what now former White House aide being sent home from the airport rather than returning to the White House upon returning from a trip?

5) The first income tax law was signed into law on August 5th, 1861 to help fund what emergency of the time?

6) In a not too surprising move, the Justice Department announced it would investigate what university admission policies for discrimination against whites?

7) “America’s toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court in what major western US jurisdiction?

8) Hackers at the DEF CON convention in Las Vegas last weekend were able to break into what systems within moments?

9) How could a quiz not mention what historically short termed ‘communications director’ who was removed Monday after being hired ten days earlier?

10) “Take me out to the ball game!” NJ Gov. Chris Christie had a confrontation with a critical fan at a MLB game in what city?

11) A true turning point in history, August 6th, 1945 saw the introduction of what awesome weapon into war?

12) Another major breaking story of the week revealed that the misleading original story of Trump, jr.’s meeting with Russians was dictated by who?

13) The NJ assembly approved a law saying that no governor could use what if they were shutdown to the public?

14) Probably the big news of the week, Special investigator Robert Mueller is now using what in his ongoing investigation?

15) Inmates in Alabama used what substance to alter a cell door number fooling a rookie guard to make an escape?

16) In a major blow to the nuclear power industry, two power companies abandoned the building of new nuclear power plants in what state?

17) “We’re too disorganized to collude with Russia” claimed what major White House insider as a defense against collusion charges?

18) Hey, did you remember this guy’s birthday Friday? He was born in Hawaii and Kenya 56 years ago.

19) In transcripts released last week our current president begs what other world leader to quit saying he won’t pay for constructing a wall between the countries?

20) Next Thursday is the 143rd anniversary of what Iowa born president?

BONUS: The current president was reported to describe the White House by what one word?

I have not enjoyed Donald J. Trump as a president, but I am looking forward to him as a defendant.” Andy Borowitz  – — me too, Mr. Borowitz!


1) Russia

2) Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies

3) historic lows

4) Reince Priebus

5) the Civil War – the tax was not enforced however

6) affirmative action

7) Phoenix, Arizona

8) voting machine systems

9) Anthony Scaramucci

10) Milwaukee

11) the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima

12) the current president

13) public beaches

14) grand juries

15) peanut butter

16) South Carolina

17) Jared Kushner

18) Barack Obama

19) Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico.

20) Herbert Hoover

BONUS: a “dump”

The guy who claimed he would be too busy to golf or take a vacation is now on a 17 day golfing vacation.

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Humor | Leave a comment

Branstad  Leaves Reynolds Holding The Bag 


The king is in China, but little will change

In what had to be one of the great escapes in recent political history in this state, Terry Branstad royally screwed things up and then left for the relative quiet of China. Branstad has made a very successful career of getting things messed up and then leaving it for someone else to get the blame.

True to form, Branstad left a state with major problems that he had a heavy hand in creating. Once more someone else must pick up the pieces and try to get Iowa running again.

If there is one thing Branstad did do, he sure cut taxes for the wealthy here in Iowa. As for doing anything for the vast majority of Iowans, well that was mostly a kick in our collective asses.

Of course Reynolds doesn’t get any sympathy. She was part and parcel of Branstad’s pathetic administration. Nary did we hear a word of anything but praise for Branstad during her time as Lt. Governor. 

So she inherited a busted budget from Branstad that was so bad she has had to dip into Iowa’s emergency or “rainy day” fund right off the bat. The rainy day fund is supposed to be for real emergencies like the Republican caused major Recession of 2008-2009 and not for to pay for major tax cuts for the wealthy. But that is what has happened.

An article back in April on took a close look at the budget and noted not just the mismanagement, but the lost opportunities that Iowa could not use because of the budget debacle.

Further cuts will hurt Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens: seniors, the disabled and children.  Iowa is simply not making the basic investments needed to keep our state growing and vibrant.

I believe Iowa would not be facing these challenges if the party in control had spent more effort managing the state budget, instead of looking out for their corporate donors and outside special interests.

They have abandoned their own fiscal principles at the expense of hard working Iowans.

Iowa students and working families are now being forced to pay for tax giveaways and fiscal mismanagement.

Along those same lines is the Medicaid giveaway to corporate management companies (MCOs) that Terry Branstad did unilaterally. We also need to give blame to the Republicans in the legislature as they stood by and did nothing even though it quickly became glaringly apparent that Branstad’s deal really hurt those using the Medicaid system. 

Reynolds defended the system and now she inherits a system where the MCOs want an even bigger chunk of the Medicaid dollar which means less services for the end user. Not only have patients been hurt, but providers are being put in very tenuous positions as the MCOs continue to be extremely late making payments. A story out of Dubuque notes that one provider is cutting off relations with one MCO.  Until this mess is solved – and remember it was working fairly smoothly before Branstad mucked it up – expect more providers to drop out.

Branstad and the legislature demoralized Iowa’s state workers with their heavy handed approach to collective bargaining last spring. Expect state workers to get another kick in the pants from the Republicans as they rush headlong into “reforming” IPERS which was once a model retirement system.

When visitors from elsewhere travel to and through Iowa they can’t help but wonder why we can fix our roads. The administration tells us they are getting better, but the evidence is hard to find.

Our environment continues to be a very sore subject. Chemical runoff from Iowa and other midwest farms was recently cited as the major contributor to the expanding dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. We know the problem, it is way past time for some political will to find a solution and enforce it.

Along those same lines, Iowa’s state park system is abysmal and getting little relief. Parks are very necessary for quality of life. We really give them short shrift. In a recent editorial in the Cedar Rapids Gazette Mark S. Edwards makes the point that:

Today, Iowa competes for the very bottom in state parks and public lands. We are known as the most biologically altered state in North America. Roughly 98 percent of Iowa has been altered for agricultural use, cities and roads. All our state parks and forests have been logged and heavily grazed. We still fail to realize that these areas are healing landscapes.

We have no old-growth forests left. We have less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the prairies which covered our state and produced our rich soils. Only 10 percent of Iowa’s remaining prairies and forests lie within the public domain and its limited protection. This makes these parks very, very special not only for people, but for the dwindling plants, animals and wildlife.

On an entirely different note, for some reason Gov. Reynolds thinks that the Iowa taxpayers should pay the court award against the Republican Senate Caucus. As you may remember the Republican senate caucus was found at fault in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by their former communications director.

The senators who were at fault should be paying. It should not come from Iowa taxpayers. Isn’t it the Republican party that is constantly preaching owning up to what you do? Now is the time to show us what you mean. Governor Reynolds, you will not help them to learn by not having them accept their punishment?

Way, way past time for a change back to some adults running the government in Iowa. The Democrats have an excellent lineup of candidates. Get out and support your favorite so we can bring responsible government back to Iowa.  

Posted in Blog for Iowa, Budget | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment