This past week was a roller coaster. It started with Independence Day celebrations all over Iowa and the rest of the United States, and ended with renewed and heightened tension surrounding race relations in our great country. Let’s look back.
Celebrating our Independence
On Monday, I joined our fantastic volunteers and other great Democrats to participate in two different Independence Day parades. I started my 4th of July in Clear Lake, where I joined Patty Judge, Susan Steckman, and dozens of local Democrats and Coordinated Campaign staffers in the Clear Lake Independence Day Parade. This parade was truly impressive. Thousands and thousands of people gathered along the parade route to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence.
Next up we stopped by the Floyd County Democrats’ booth at the Charles City Independence Day Celebration. Once again it was thrilling to see so many people gathered in celebration, displaying their patriotism and sense of community. After a short visit, we were off to Iowa Falls for our second parade of the day. Hardin County Democrats were ready to celebrate, and we were ready to celebrate with them! Once again, it was thrilling to see so many people along the parade route, excited to celebrate this great country of ours. Many don’t know this about me, but I have several 5x great-grandfathers that fought in the American Revolution and am a member of the Daughter’s of the American Revolution.
Unfortunately, the week took a horrible turn. First it was Anton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The next day, Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. And then, on Thursday night, an otherwise peaceful protest in Dallas turned tragic when five law enforcement officers were murdered and seven more injured by a man with his mind set on massacre. The purpose of this weekly check-in with you is to give you news from the campaign trail, and I’m sure you’ve been inundated with stories about these events, so I’m not going to spend too much time on it here...but I’m not going to ignore it, either. Please keep all of the victims and their families in your thoughts as they try to put their lives back together after these horrific events. Please, be kind to one another.
Speaking of being kind to one another and coming together in unity, Saturday’s Boone County Democratic Party’s Block Party was a whole lot of just that. Great people, great food, games, and candidates from up and down the Democratic ticket sharing with the gathered crowd their pride in being Democrats and their plans and ideas for helping Iowans. I’m very excited about the great candidates we have running in the Boone area. Keith Puntenney, Deb Duncan, Sherrie Taha, Tom Foster, and Phil Meier all were able to attend and talked about how we can make a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve. We also heard from Caleb Humphrey, newly elected Chair of the Veterans’ Caucus for the State Central Committee and delegate to the Democratic National Committee. You can read about the event in the Ames Tribune here.
After the block party in Boone, I had what can best be described as a campaign treat. I was pretty close to Des Moines, so I decided to attend a fundraiser in Beaverdale. It was great to see so many friends. The highlight of the occasion, though, was an opportunity to spend a little time with one of my greatest inspirations, Senator Tom Harkin. A lot of people like to disparage politicians in a very general, broad-brush kind of way that I’ve always found unfair and ill advised. Senator Harkin will always stand as a towering example of someone who went to Washington DC determined to do good for the people of his state and our country. He’s an inspiration and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see him and chat. He had some encouraging things to say about my campaign, but they came with a caveat: “It’s going to take a lot of hard work.” Oh, I know, Senator Harkin. Believe me, I know.
This last Sunday was a jam packed day. It started with a drive from Des Moines to Sioux City to help launch their Weekend of Action canvass. A great group of volunteers showed up to hit the streets, knock on doors, and spread the message, “Democrats are on your side, and fighting for you and your family.” Once I had a chance to meet some people and speak, it was off to Fort Dodge, where they had their first Sunday (ONE)day event, a gathering of great Democrats at Community Pizza, where we celebrated the diversity of our party and our embrace of inclusion as a core principle of being a Democrat. Again, great people, great food, and great conversation, but I think my favorite part, though, was hearing from Liam Conrad and Maddie Cathcart, the two high school fellows working with the Coordinated Campaign in Fort Dodge. What an inspiration those two are!
This week will be exciting for us as we continue moving forward. On Tuesday afternoon, I will be attending my Daughter’s of the American Revolution Chapter meeting in Okoboji. This is a non-partisan organization that focuses on serving veterans and improving access to education. Later in the week I was invited to attend the Cherokee & O'Brien County Soil & Water Conservation District Tour to learn about the state of our soil and water quality, and learn what we can do to improve these vital resources. Of course this weekend will once again be jam-packed with activities and events, including Saturday’s Progressive Minds of Iowa meeting, in Altoona, IA and our State Central Committee meeting in Des Moines. You can find out more details about many of these events by following our campaign page in Facebook. If I’m going to be in your area, I hope you’ll come out and say hello.
Thank again for all of you for your support!