Iowa Politics

The cost of college and student debt are all-consuming for some families, and they're driving political conversations this cycle. On the eighth episode of Caucus Land, we'll break down what the candidates are promising and hear what higher ed experts make of their plans.

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President Trump named Robert O'Brien, to replace John Bolton as his new national security adviser. O'Brien will be the fourth national security adviser in the Trump administration's term. 

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On Tuesday September 10, Van Jones spoke at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. Jones is a news commentator, an advocate for social justice and New York Times bestselling author. He also served as President Barack Obama's special advisor for green jobs. Jones is also the President and Founder of Dream Corp., a justice incubator with the overarching goal of closing prison doors and opening doors of opportunity. His talk at Hancher was sponsored by the University of Iowa College of Law as part of the Levitt family lecture series.

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National gun control advocates are calling on retailers, including Hy-Vee, to prohibit customers from openly carrying firearms in their stores. The push comes after last month’s deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso.

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On this Politics Day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Dennis Goldford, professor of Political Science at Drake University, and Sara Mitchel, F. Wendell Miller Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa, about the latest national and interantional news in politics. Topics include reactions to North Carolina's special election, the resignation of former National Security Advisor John Bolton, the failed Taliban summit at Camp David and reflections on the changes in politics since September 11, 2001.  

Guests include:

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Several states are reportedly ditching their Republican primary next year, paving the way for the president’s re-nomination. But Iowa Republicans will still caucus this February.

While most of the attention around the 2020 election is focused on Democrats, Republicans will hold a caucus too. President Donald Trump does face multiple primary challengers, but on the seventh episode of Caucus Land we'll explain why he likely has nothing to worry about in Iowa.

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The Democratic National Committee is recommending that Iowa scrap its plans for telephone-based virtual caucuses next year, citing security concerns. The DNC had asked the state party to make Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses more accessible following the 2016 election. 

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New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race after failing to qualify for the third round of debates.

Gillibrand struggled to boost her polling and fundraising numbers despite her experience in the U.S. House and Senate.

John Pemble/IPR

Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton is calling off his campaign for the presidency. He’s the second major presidential candidate to drop out this week, after Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who bowed out Wednesday night.

The Iowa State Fair has become a must-stop for presidential campaigns ahead of the Caucuses. Candidates eat fried food on a stick and try to chat with voters through the swarm of cameras. We’ll take you through the crowds to see what the fair actually does for wannabe presidents.

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Healthcare workers have filed suit against the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, alleging they aren’t being paid on time for extra work. The plaintiffs hope to have the case recognized as a class action, and say there are thousands of potential members who also not being paid in a timely fashion.

Courtesy of CDC

An analysis by University of Iowa researchers has found a state-funded program for testing private wells suffers from “severe underutilization." The Grants To Counties program allocates funds each year for counties to test residents’ wells for certain kinds of contaminants. But in recent years counties have left unspent as much as 55 percent of the total funding.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she will “take a look at” multiple ways to prevent gun violence, adding that she has already done a lot toward that goal. But Reynolds did not take a position on any specific gun-related laws.

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The Gazette's newest columnist, Lyz Lenz makes her Pints and Politics debut on the heels of releasing her book, God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss and Renewal in Middle America. In the discussion at Millstream Brewing in Amana, hosted by Gazette investigative reporter Erin Jordan, panelists take up topics ranging from the likelihood of meaningful gun control legislation to overtime pay for nurses at UIHC.


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Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has dropped out of the race for the White House. Hickenlooper had been struggling to break through in the crowded field of some two dozen contenders and was unlikely to qualify for the upcoming third round of debates. He ended his campaign amid calls for him to instead run for the U.S. Senate.

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President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is keeping some Johnson County families apart. Some of those affected by the administration’s actions took their cases to Congressman Dave Loebsack’s office Tuesday, supported by advocates who demanded an in-person meeting with him.

Congressman Steve King speaks to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on August 14, 2019.
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Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King is facing a round of criticism following comments on abortion at a meeting Wednesday with a Des Moines-area conservative group. King asked how many people would be left in the world if abortion in cases of rape or incest was commonplace throughout history.

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Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper touted his executive experience at a speech at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. Hickenlooper, who also served as mayor of Denver, told an audience of fair attendees and potential Iowa caucus-goers that he has a proven list of accomplishments that other competitors in the crowded field can’t claim.

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Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a big crowd to hear her signature message of structural economic reform at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. The attendance at Warren’s stop at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox surpassed that of the race’s frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard touted her foreign policy experience and military service during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Friday. Speaking to potential caucus-goers and reporters, Gabbard called for an end to the country’s “wasteful wars” which she says are hamstringing federal funding for other policy priorities.

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Self-help author Marianne Williamson is addressing criticisms that she is “crazy” and unqualified to be president. Speaking to reporters and potential caucus-goers at the Iowa State Fair, the Democratic presidential candidate instead argued the critiques of her are “an intentional strategized smear."

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South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s newest plan released Friday morning aims to expand access to healthcare in rural areas. Buttigieg is the latest in a string of Democratic presidential candidates to release policy proposals this week meant to improve rural life.

Some two dozen presidential candidates have been campaigning in Iowa since way before much of the rest of the country tuned in to the race. Many have been coming here for months, some for years. On the fifth episode of Caucus Land, we'll introduce them to you.

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J.D. Scholten, the Democrat who came close to unseating Republican Rep. Steve King in November, rallied supporters in Sioux City Monday. The former minor league baseball player is taking another swing at flipping Iowa’s most conservative congressional district.

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Presidential campaign staffers and political activists are facing off in a different kind of competition Saturday – dodgeball. While the event is a matter of Iowa caucus organizing, it’s also about friendship.

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The major parties in Iowa generally agree that the caucuses should remain first in the nation and they don't agree on much else. On the fourth episode of Caucus Land, we ask the state's party leaders how they can put aside their differences to keep Iowa first and what the 2018 midterms say about 2020.

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A coalition of environmental groups wants presidential candidates to treat drinking water as a top policy priority, and is asking them to build out their positions on how to ensure access to safe and affordable water for all Americans. But some politicos are skeptical the issue can compete for voters' attention at a time when much of the conversation is focusing on universal health care, the economy and climate change.

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Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is taking aim at fossil fuel companies in her new climate plan released Thursday. The New York senator outlined her proposal during a panel discussion at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.