Following In Her Footsteps

Kim Weaver | 9/30/16

I'm delighted to tell you that I had an opportunity yesterday to spend time with one of my personal heroes.  At the non-partisan Equal Pay for Equal Work event yesterday, part of the Iowa State lecture series, I shared the podium with the inimitable Lily Ledbetter. 

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You probably remember that the Lily Ledbetter Act was the very first legislation that President Obama ever signed, ensuring that women with the same qualifications as men could be paid at the same level.  Equal pay for equal work -- what could be simpler?!  This landmark legislation is one of the great civil rights achievements of the past decade.

But my tenure as the Ombudsman for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities here has shown me that the seniors of Iowa are struggling to maintain their dignity as they age, due to the high cost of care.  And as Lily and I chatted at the reception, she said something that stuck with me.  Lily pointed out that the historical pay gap between men and women, working at the same job, for the same hours, but with less pay for women, puts our older Iowan women at a severe disadvantage.  Because their pensions and social security payments are much less than the men they worked alongside with for 40 or 50 years.

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Geert, Frauke, and Steve

Team Weaver | 9/28/16

Once again, the political world is buzzing about something horrible that Steve King has said. Once again, he said it with his Twitter account.

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Zach Beauchamp of Vox summed it up pretty succinctly and directly. “King sent out the tweet on September 18, but it just got noticed by a large number of Twitter users on Monday evening. It’s easy to see why: ‘cultural suicide by demographic transformation’ is an outright statement of white supremacy.”

But he keeps a Confederate battle flag on his desk to “honor the history” of our bloodiest war. Yeah, right.

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Defining "Racist" (SPOILER: We use a dictionary)

Team Weaver | 9/26/16

We have previously danced around this issue, but it is time we are just honest with each other. Steve King has shown us time and again by his actions and his words that he is a racist. In fact, earlier this week he claimed that the word racist was “devalued” by “overuse.”

The definition of racism is “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” Let’s take a brief look at some of his statements and see how they compare.

  • He compared immigrants to dogs.
  • He said immigrants were crossing the border with “calves the size of cantaloupes” from carrying drugs.
  • He claimed that white people contributed more to civilization than any other “sub-groups.”
  • He asked if the melanin in a journalist’s skin gave her the right to call him a racist.

 

If you’ve been following Steve King’s controversial career, you know that list is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, just this week he compared a low-income African-American woman with an unintended pregnancy to a dog with a litter of puppies.

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You might not believe this

Kim Weaver | 9/16/16

I saw a study in Washington Monthly this week that I found rather shocking. You might find it shocking, too. It said that Harvard was the most affordable four-year-college in America. Yes, that Harvard. And as if that wasn't enough of a head-scratcher, Stanford, Princeton, Penn, and MIT all landed in the Top 10. My first thought upon reading this was, "How is this possible?!" When I read further, it became clear: Endowments and scholarships.

My oldest son got into MIT, and we could never have afforded it without Pell Grants and scholarships. Unfortunately, not every family is so lucky. Most families, in fact, struggle to save the money for their children's education, and the result is millions upon millions of students graduating from college with debt so massive it's near-to-impossible for them to contribute to economic growth or enjoy economic prosperity. Buy a house? Hardly. Many are lucky if they can buy a car. Disposable isn't word to describe any significant part of their income. It's a word that too often describes how they feel.

There are many luxuries that the top 1% enjoy that the rest of us only wish for. Higher education shouldn't be one of them. It should be easily attainable for anyone willing to put in the effort and do the work. And it shouldn't result in a "debt sentence." That's why I developed a plan that offers students an opportunity to volunteer in lieu of student loan payments. I call it i-GIVE - Generating Investment through Volunteer Engagement. You can read more about it here.

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Remembering That Day

Kim Weaver | 9/11/16

The day started out just like any other. The alarm went off at 5 am so I could be to work by 7 and home by the time my kids got out of school. My office was in the basement of the Sioux County Department of Human Services building. I had no radio or TV reception, but went upstairs to put postage on some letters I needed to send out.

I still remember the images on the TV in the front office as if they are etched in my brain. Our secretary was watching the news, hypnotized by what she was seeing. She had been one of the staff who responded to the horrific plane crash at the Sioux City airport in 1989, helping to sort the bodies in the makeshift morgue. I can only imagine the images that flooded her mind.

A plane had just crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. At first, we both thought that it was some horrific accident. Then, as we continued to watch the live feed, a second plane appeared and headed towards the south tower. My mind could barely comprehend what was happening. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was terrified and numb at the same time.

We were glued to the TV.  Hungry to find out what was happening. What seemed like just minutes later, we heard that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. There was no doubt in my mind. We were under attack. My mind raced back to Pearl Harbor. Who was attacking us? Did this mean another World War?

The south Tower collapsed. Images of people running from a tsunami of smoke and debris rushed at us. Then, a portion of the Pentagon collapsed. I called my boss and told her I had to go home. I had to pick up my kids. I had to hold my kids. I had to know they were safe. She understood.  

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Steve King Endorses Vladimir Putin

Team Weaver | 9/9/16

Donald Trump is rightfully being torn limb from limb over his praise of Vladimir Putin during Wednesday night's televised Town Hall with Matt Lauer. The condemnation has been widespread and brutal, just as it should. If you're wondering where Steve King stands with regard to the Russian President, well...he stands side by side with Donald Trump. In fact, he ran to the nearest TV camera - in this case it was MSNBC - and not only spoke up in support of Trump, he made clear his belief that Putin is a better leader than President Obama.

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We get more confused by the day by what the right means when they use the word "patriot."

What has Vladimir Putin done that so impresses Steve King?  Well, he's invaded two countries, Crimea and Ukraine.  He murders minorities and oppressed "sub-groups."  He murders political opponents and journalists who criticize him.  He sends bloggers to jail for eight years.  He has banned Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association (in other words, our First Amendment).  He unrelentingly harasses gays and lesbians and ethnic and religious minorities.  He has forbidden palliative care to the dying, and denies AIDS victims any treatments. 

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Happy Labor Day

Kim Weaver | 9/3/16

Today we celebrate Labor Day. As a proud member of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), I stand beside my labor brothers and sisters and thank those who went before us for their sacrifices and the battles they fought to bring us all better working conditions.  

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Whether you belong to a union or not, most of us enjoy the benefits of their efforts. We can thank them for the 40 hour work week, weekends, Social Security, vacations, and work breaks, just to name a few.  

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Disappointing

Kim Weaver | 9/2/11

Last night, Donald Trump gave his long awaited immigration policy speech in Phoenix, ground-zero for the anti-immigration movement. The speech was filled with wall building rabble-rousing and xenophobic generalizations that painted immigrants as job-stealing, drug-smuggling violent criminals invading the United States.

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Unsurprisingly, Trump sided with the right-wing hardliners and doubled-down on his draconian policies. He rolled back his promise of enforcing a humane immigration policy and opted for the “copy and pasted” immigration plan he got from Steve King. It is no wonder THREE of Trump’s Latino surrogates are pulling their support.

Well, I’m going to make a proposal ALL Americans should be able to get behind: Let's get rid of Steve King.

King’s disposition and rhetoric toward immigrant communities has been nothing short of arrogant, disgusting, and reprehensible. King promotes standards that encourage our children to divide and segregate themselves instead of promoting and celebrating multiculturalism and inclusion.

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National Dog Day

Kim Weaver | 8/27/16

Yesterday it seemed like everyone was talking about National Women’s Day. It was great to see all the demonstrations of support and solidarity. I am proud to be in the company of a group of amazing, strong women running to represent Iowans this year. With all the campaign activity, it wasn’t until the middle of the day that I realized it was another “National” day. National Dog Day.

If you don’t know by now, I’m a dog lover. My dogs, a seventeen year old Shih Tzu named Patches, and Lucy, a four year old Yorkie rescue, are part of my family.  

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My opponent is a dog owner, but it’s hard to imagine he has much love for dogs, or any animals, considering his record of fighting and voting against every attempt by Congress at animal protection. He voted against outlawing arsenic in chicken feed. He fought against outlawing cockfighting. And, quite infamously, he fought very hard to legalize dog fighting. These are just a few of MANY offenses. You’d be hard pressed to find ANYONE in Congress with a worse record for supporting animal abuses.

 

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A Helping Hand

Kim Weaver | 8/23/16

By now you have probably heard about the storms that triggered devastating floods in Louisiana last week. The floods that displaced more than 30,000 Americans, destroyed more than 110,000 homes, and killed 9, also left a cleanup and rebuild bill of more than $20 billion. FEMA is working to cover the costs for more than 100,000 displaced residents who have lost their homes to stay in hotels for up to 30 days.

If you've seen the pictures or video you know, it's horrifying. I can't begin to imagine what these people are going through. My heart breaks for everyone displaced by this devastating display of Mother Nature's force.

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Normally this is the part of the email where I make a pitch and ask you to make a donation to my campaign. This message is a little different. Below is a list of organizations* I have found that are actively helping our American brothers and sisters through this disaster. That is why I encourage you to use one of the links below to make a contribution to the clean-up effort or find an effort or charity that is right for you. 

When Americans band together our strength and resilience become the envy of the world. Let’s help our brothers and sisters in Louisiana by sending them a ray of hope and humanity from Iowa. 

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