Thank you to everyone who came to our event on Saturday! It’s wonderful to see so many voters in the neighborhood getting involved with local government. Your voices are ours. I enjoyed all of your input and questions and I intend to carry your concerns to the State Senate- what a great event! Special thanks to Cindy Altmaier Riley for hosting us at your unique shop; the coffee was delicious!
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The Medicaid mess is real. It affects real people. It should never have come to the point where an organization has to ask the Governor to intervene because the managed care organization has denied the majority of their claims. It should never have come to the point where that organization needs an emergency loan to be able to continue to provide services.
Tenco is not the only organization in Iowa facing these challenges, which translates directly into: These are not the only PEOPLE whose services are now at risk.
As a citizen of Iowa, I ask that the governor and state legislature fix this now, and not just for Tenco. As a candidate for State Senate, if elected, I will work hard with all legislators who care about this to find a solution. However, this cannot and must not wait for the 2019 session. Real people with real needs are at risk – it must be fixed now.
If you don’t have a seat at the table, bring a folding chair!” These were the triumphant words of Councilwoman Mazahir Salih this morning in Iowa City.
Last year I attended the Women’s March in DC, and was inspired by the courageous spirit I witnessed there. This year, on the anniversary of that monumental event, the government is in shutdown — but WE ARE NOT!
Watching the crowd pour into the pavilion, I was inspired once again, and filled with pride in the community we are so fortunate to have in Iowa City. Thank you to the intrepid event organizers who drew people together for this occasion, and to Brothers for hosting the reception afterwards, where I spoke about my commitment to public education, appropriate economic growth and elder care.
Help me make 2018 the year women take office by storm!
I truly believe that, on this Martin Luther King Day, we must focus now – more than ever – on what unites us; on seeking new ways to make common cause.
In that spirit, I offer an excerpt of Alden Solovy’s poem, “The Preacher Said”, from his book, “The Grateful Heart”:
“…Let us commit to each other,
The preacher said,
Commit in the name of equality,
In the name of righteousness,
And in the name of our children.
“Let us take to the streets,
The preacher said,
Let us take to the streets
To make our space,
To claim a place,
For no one race
Can live in grace,
Until we face,
Oppression and hate.
“Let us walk,
The preacher said,
Let us walk from Selma to Montgomery,
From oppression to the Promised Land,
From fear to courage,
From silence to action,
From today to the future,
To a place where all people
Will be judged by the content
Of their character,
The humanity of their words,
And the compassion of their deeds.”
I could not possibly say it any better. #RadicalEmpathy
It’s what we need to confront the heartlessness that assaults us daily – both in Washington and here at home in Iowa.
Remember the heartlessness we experienced last year when, at almost dizzying speed, Republicans in the Iowa legislature and our governor took steps to deliberately shred the fabric of our society? Now the 2018 session is upon us.
Radical Empathy is about opening our hearts wide. It means realizing we are ALL vulnerable; we are all in this together. It means – to borrow a turn of phrase from Rep Ras Smith – being truly indivisible, standing tall for all, and not allowing the insidious narrative of “the other” to seep in to divide us. And it means that, by not becoming numb or cynical, we can gather our full force to:
–Care for our most vulnerable;
–Sort out our fiscal mess fairly (NOT on the backs of those already struggling); and
–Pursue continued excellence in public education.
In short, it opens us up to do what is right for Iowans, full stop.
Radical Empathy. Mine has been unleashed. Join me. Tell me your stories.
I love that every new year, we can wipe the slate clean – start over. Didn’t work out so well last year? Take a deep breath and try again.
It applies to so much of life. There are, for example, many ways to create family. I grew up in a traditional – albeit small – family. My mom, my dad, and I. I loved kids; babysat whenever I could; assumed I’d have a career, be married and have kids by 30. Well, just before my 30th birthday, still single, I joined the Foreign Service. Turns out, life is complicated. Who knew?
Eventually, I turned that page – I started over. I was living in Turkey, working as the embassy’s human rights officer at the height of the PKK insurgency, and at the same time, I was reaching out to people about a possible adoption. I jumped through all the hoops at least five times; came within a hair of adoption three times; and then was offered the awesome responsibility of raising a baby girl. But her adoption hung by a thread over a technicality, just as Turkey’s seven-week summer judicial break began (their court system goes on vacation). I had no idea if it would ever go through. I had no idea if my human rights work would prove a barrier – the Turkish Government was less than thrilled with my work. The baby and I were in limbo.
I held my breath. Seven long weeks later, I sat down with the judge while my lawyer went to find the file. The judge and I conversed about this and that in Turkish. When he looked at me and asked, “Where did you learn your Turkish? You speak better Turkish than most Turks’!”, I exhaled. I knew the adoption would go through. I had stuck around. I had not given up. I had respected his country and culture enough to learn the language well. I was on a plane to the US with my (older) daughter a week later.
You never know what a new start will bring to any of us.
Happy New Year and happy new beginnings!