Activity by Progressive/Democratic-Aligned Groups in Iowa

Biden Supporter Makes Statement
On Oct. 17, 2020 this 30-acre crop art, designed by California-based artist John Quigley, was unveiled at the farm of Pete and Berleen Wobeter in Clutier (Tama Co.).
• Two homegrown groups are Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) and Progress Iowa.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
June 16, 2020
Contact: Hugh Espey

In Iowa, Vice President Mike Pence lies like a rug

New model predicts 200,000 U.S. deaths by October 1. Estimate increased by 30,000 since June 10 as scientists take into account the consequences of re-opening the economy before it is safe

Des Moines, Iowa

Vice-President Mike Pence is in Forest City, Iowa today, lying like a rug to the American people about the danger Covid-19 poses to essential workers, nursing home residents, prisoners, and public health.

"Here and across America, we slowed the spread," Pence said today. "We flattened the curve. We saved lives. And that's why we're opening up America again. We did it."

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement board president Tom Mohan of Sioux City responded with a public organizational statement:

Vice-President Mike Pence lied like a rug in Iowa today on his George Bush-style 'Mission Accomplished' tour of truthi-ness.

The facts are, more than 100,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 in the last three months. 100,000 more could die by October 1 if state and federal governments don't step up and do more to put workers and everyday people first. 

Re-opening Iowa and the rest of the country for corporate profit before it's safe will be disastrous for public health and the economy. This pandemic has shown that everyone is affected by the virus, and that any one person's wellness depends on everyone else's. 

Vice President Pence and Governor Reynolds can still save lives if they stop the lies. We need strong government action now to put essential workers and everyday people before profits, politics, polluters, police, and packing plants.

New modeling out today from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates 200,000 Americans will die from Covid19-related causes by October 1. In recent days, public health researchers have added an additional 30,000 deaths to their Oct. 1 predictions, as they take into account the sobering ramifications that re-opening the country before it is safe has already had.

Covid-19 cases are currently rising sharply in nearly two dozen states. The same University of Washington model predicts Iowa will have a total of 1,240 deaths by October 1, nearly double the total deaths here to date.

Iowa CCI members have launched a Stay Safe Iowa campaign. For more information go here:

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 45 years. Follow us on Twitter at @iowacci.

Progress Iowa
May 7, 2020

Iowans Tell Pence: Stay in Washington

In advance of the Vice President’s visit to Iowa on Friday, a number of Iowans expressed their concern about his travel to our state and the message it sends while cases of COVID-19 are still on the rise.

A number of prominent Iowans issued the following joint statement to Vice President Pence:

“Mr. Vice President, you may have the best intention with your visit to our state. But your presence here will at best send a mixed message at a time when every Iowan should be practicing social distancing and other best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 numbers are on the rise, and we have recently been one of the worst states in the nation for spreading this disease. We need you to lead by example, and practice social distancing instead of traveling here and encouraging us to put our families and neighbors in danger.

If you want to save lives and safeguard the health of Iowans, you should stay in Washington and address this pandemic as a policymaker. Help Iowa by keeping your promise that everyone who wants a test can get one. Help Iowa by listening to experts, not by dismantling the federal response task force. Help Iowa by fighting to protect the Affordable Care Act instead of working toward its full repeal in the courts. Help Iowa by sending much needed federal aid for our state and local governments, not letting us go bankrupt as Senator McConnell suggested.

Mr. Vice President, you can help Iowa much more by staying in Washington. We implore you to do so.”

More than sixty days ago, the administration promised that “anybody who wants a test can get a test,” but that has not been the case in Iowa or across the country. And more than a week ago, the administration said that the US will run 5 million daily tests “very soon” but that number is still roughly 250,000 per day.

Meanwhile, Iowa continues to set records for daily deaths as a result of COVID-19, which has killed double the number of people as compared to the flu, and in significantly less time. And a bipartisan group of Iowa Mayors have called for more federal support, standing up to Senator McConnell’s suggestion that local governments be allowed to go bankrupt.

The organizations, leaders, and elected officials signing on to the statement are as follows:

Alex Watters, Sioux City Councilmember

Alicia Claypool, former chair, Iowa Civil Rights Commission

Allison Ritchie, President, AFSCME Area Local Union 3011

Americans for Democratic Action Iowa

Chris Schwartz, Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors

Connie Ryan, executive director, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa

Danny J. Homan, President, AFSCME Council 61

Dave Jacoby, Iowa State Representative

Doug Bailey, Hamilton County Board of Supervisors

Eric Giddens, Iowa State Senator

Hawkeye Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Indivisible Iowa

Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans

Iowa Citizen Action Network

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Iowa Lower Drug Prices Now

Iowa Main Street Alliance

Iowa State Education Association

Iowa Voices

Jackie Smith, Iowa State Senator

Joe Bolkcom, Iowa State Senator

Jonathan Grieder, Waterloo City Councilor, Ward 2

Liz Bennett, Iowa State Representative

Marti Anderson, Iowa State Representative

Mary Mascher, Iowa State Representative

Matt Sinovic, executive director, Progress Iowa

Progress Iowa

Protect Our Care Iowa

Randy R. Boulton, Iowa United Steelworkers Council

Rob Hogg, Iowa State Senator

Rod Sullivan, Johnson County Board of Supervisors

Smith & McElwain Law Office

South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Sue Dinsdale, executive director, Iowa Citizen Action Network

Tax March Iowa

• Iowa was one of twelve states targeted by SwingLeft as part of its Super State Strategy.

Our primary objectives in Iowa are to: 1) flip the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Joni Ernst, 2) compete for the state’s six Electoral College votes, and 3) break unified GOP control of the state government by flipping the Iowa State House.

In the state House, we are currently targeting seven districts—five GOP-held seats and two Democratic holds. Geographically, these targets are distributed across the state and include races near Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Omaha, NE. All seven races were decided by razor-thin margins of less than 5% in 2018.

In the state Senate, we are currently targeting five districts—four GOP-held seats and one Democratic hold. Many of these geographies overlap with our state House targets in Iowa, and improving the performance of statewide Democratic candidates in these regions is critical to our pathway to victory in the Iowa General Assembly.

By the numbers
8 Seats needed to flip the state senate
4 Seats needed to flip the state house
1 United States Senate seat to flip
6 Electoral College votes

U.S. Senate Race
Theresa Greenfield
Joni Ernst

State Senate Candidates
SD-8: Steve Gorman
SD-20: Rhonda Martin
SD-22: Sarah Trone Garriott
SD-42: Rich Taylor
SD-44: Tom Courtney

State House Candidates
HD-16: Jen Pellant
HD-37: Andrea Phillips
HD-39: Karin Derry
HD-55: Kayla Koether
HD-60: Dave Williams
HD-67: Eric Gjerde
HD-82: Phil Miller

What's at stake

93% of Iowa counties don't have an abortion clinic: To obtain an abortion in Iowa, patients must undergo a state-mandated ultrasound and minors must notify their parents before receiving treatment. As of 2017, 58% of Iowa women lived in counties without an abortion clinic with just nine facilities providing abortions statewide, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

952,000 disenfranchised Iowans with felony convictions: After Kentucky’s Democratic governor restored voting rights to 140,000 people with felony convictions in 2019, Iowa became the only remaining state that permanently disenfranchises all people convicted of felonies. Combined with faulty criminal history data, this policy means that improper voter roll purges could prevent eligible Iowa voters from receiving absentee ballot request forms.

$2 billion in agricultural industry losses from 2019 flooding: Severe floods in spring 2019 caused larger and longer-lasting damage to Iowa’s farmlands, with billions of dollars in lost crops and livestock as well as damaged roads and equipment. Compared to 2011, when 127,000 flooded acres became unusable, 2019’s rains damaged 145,000 acres along the Missouri river.

What's at stake facts updated June 2020