What A Week
By Progress Iowa
James Simmons from Progress Iowa break down the big headlines of the week in Iowa and national politics and talks with leaders from around the state about issues Iowans care about.
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Have a question or want to hear a certain issue addressed on the podcast? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a Week is part of the Potluck Media network. Learn more at potluck.fm
The Significance of Black Lives Matter Pt. 2 - Discussion
Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, on this special, two-part edition to discuss "The Significance of Black Lives Matter" Forum hosted by the University of Northern Iowa's Women and Gender Studies program. The forum featured Dr. Reverend Belinda Creighton Smith, a professor at UNI a Pastor of Faith Temple American Baptist Church, as well as Joyce Levingston, who sits on the College of Education Advisory Board at the University of Northern Iowa and Upper Iowa University. This episode is part 2 of the two part series, and is the interview discussions James had with Dr. Rev. Creighton-Smith and Joyce Levingston in the weeks following the forum.
February 28, 2022
The Significance of Black Lives Matter Pt. 1 - Forum
Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, on this special, two-part edition to discuss "The Significance of Black Lives Matter" Forum hosted by the University of Northern Iowa's Women and Gender Studies program. The forum featured Dr. Reverend Belinda Creighton Smith, a professor at UNI a Pastor of Faith Temple American Baptist Church, as well as Joyce Levingston, who sits on the College of Education Advisory Board at the University of Northern Iowa and Upper Iowa University. This episode is part 1 of the two part series, and is the audio recording of the forum held on February 7, 2022.
February 27, 2022
Tax Plans Explained with Senator Pam Jochum
Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, to break down this week's news and hear from a tax expert to help us make sense of all the tax plans coming from the Iowa Capital. Later in the episode, James speaks with former President of the Iowa Senate and Ranking Member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Democratic Senator from Dubuque, Pam Jochum. *** Theme Song: "What a Week" Lyrics and music by Lily Noel and James Simmons Produced by Lily Noel
February 06, 2022
Democratic Leader, Senator Zach Wahls
Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, to break down this week's news and to hear from Iowa Senator and Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, who joins us to discuss workers' issues in the state of Iowa. *** Theme Song: "What a Week" Lyrics and music by Lily Noel and James Simmons Produced by Lily Noel
January 30, 2022
Roe v Wade 49th Anniversary
January 22nd, 2022 is the 49th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion access nationally. Host James Simmons speaks with Iowa House Ranking Member on the Human Resources committee, Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, and Jamie Burch Elliott, who is the Director of Public Affairs for North Central Planned Parenthood. *** Theme Song: "What a Week" Lyrics and music by Lily Noel and James Simmons Produced by Lily Noel
January 23, 2022
House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst
Join James Simmons, Progress Iowa's new Deputy Press Secretary, and Iowa House Representative and Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst in discussing Governor Kim Reynolds' Condition of the State Address, the Democrats' response, and what to look out for during the Iowa 2022 Legislative Session. *** Theme Song: "What a Week" Lyrics and music by Lily Noel and James Simmons Produced by Lily Noel
January 16, 2022
Meet the Team Edition
Join James Simmons, Progress Iowa's new Deputy Press Secretary, and meet the new Progress Iowa team! *** Theme Song: "What a Week" Lyrics and music by Lily Noel and James Simmons Produced by Lily Noel
January 09, 2022
Roe on the Ropes
Matt and Ivy discuss the Supreme Court challenge to Roe v Wade, Iowa's increasing COVID numbers, the latest school shooting that our leaders refuse to do anything about, and Iowa's big windfall in money for clean water as a result of the infrastructure bill.
December 04, 2021
Building it Back Again
Matt and Ivy discuss the rollercoaster of a week with the highs of the Build Back Better Act passing the House and the John Deere UAW strike ending and the lows of the gut punch verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
November 22, 2021
Build it Back!
Kim Reynolds is taking credit for popular bills she opposed, the John Deere strike goes on after a second attempt on a contract is rejected by workers, COVID vaccines are coming for kids as young as 5, municipal and school board elections were a mixed bag here in Iowa, Chuck Grassley votes against expanding voting rights (again!), and ABBA's back!
November 06, 2021
Workers at 14 John Deere plants across the country walked out after their union, the United Auto Workers, rejected an unacceptable contract offer from management. Also, Governor Reynolds's boasting may have sunk her mask mandate ban lawsuit, early voting has begun in local elections across the state, Donald Trump's... interesting... strategy for winning the midterms by convincing Republicans to stay home, Squid Game, and more! Links 10,000 John Deere workers are on strike after rejecting contract (Washington Post) Governor's own words helped sink mask mandate ban in court (Bleeding Heartland) Here's how to vote early in Iowa's city council and school board elections (Des Moines Register) Absentee Voting information (Iowa Secretary of State)
October 16, 2021
Give it up, Chuck!
Matt and Ivy discuss the news that Iowa's own Chuck Grassley wants an 8th term in the US Senate. Gross. They also discuss the wailing and thrashing of the right at school board meetings around keeping kids as safe as possible during COVID, Governor Reynolds wants her mask mandate ban back as COVID cases reach a new record high, Iowa's first potential redistricting map, the Dear Evan Hansen movie and more!
September 25, 2021
Everyone Needs a Labor Union
Matt spent the week at the yearly Iowa Federation of Labor conference and got to speak with elected officials and Iowans who fight for the rights of all workers, unionized and not, every day. We hear from Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, RuralVote.org Executive Director JD Scholten, IFL AFL-CIO Political Director Al Womble, and Western Iowa Labor Federation Field Coordinator Jen Pellant.
August 30, 2021
Back to School
Kim Reynolds' sides with COVID against common sense in order to score political points. She digs in her heels on her ridiculous school mask mandate ban. Also, her administration is being sued for not following open records laws. Also, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz came to the state fair (Insert cow pie throwing joke here), our redistricting process has begun with the long-awaited release of census data, . Links: Join our live Supreme Stakes virtual event on Monday! Petition: Demand Governor Reynolds Support Schools on Mask Mandates! AP: Lawsuits: Iowa governor’s office violating open records law
August 21, 2021
Deep Fried COVID
The 2021 Iowa State Fair kicks off and it's not just the deep fried butter that could be hazardous to your health. Spoiler: It's COVID. There's COVID at the Fair. Matt and Ivy also talk about the census data that shows most of Iowa's counties are shrinking in both population and diversity, the second child tax credit checks that are hitting mailboxes now (thank you, Cindy Axne!), the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees, and more!
August 14, 2021
Delta, Delta, Delta.
The "Delta variant" of COVID-19 runs rampant across Iowa and Kim Reynolds' blames immigrants and tries to restrict abortion rights, the most on-brand thing for her we can think of. Matt and Ivy also discuss the latest Olympic wins, President Biden's nudge to governors who won't do their jobs, the 56th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and the new eviction moratorium put in place by Biden. Also, did anyone actually qualify for their Field of Dreams game ticket??
August 07, 2021
The Supreme Stakes
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa Public Affairs Director Jaime Burch Elliot joins Matt and Ivy to talk about the Supreme Stakes, a series of events hosted by Progress Iowa, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa, and the Iowa Interfaith Alliance to educate Iowans about the attacks on our reproductive rights. We also talk about the Olympics (Go Team USA!), Jeff Bezos's phallic ride to space, and producer Greg's snarky tweets getting fact-checked by the Daily Iowan.
July 24, 2021
Please, Think of the Children!
Matt and Ivy (and Greg) are back in the Progress Iowa studio after 15 months of social distancing and boy, does it feel good. Almost as good as hundreds of thousands of Iowa families receiving $300 in tax relief every month in an historic initiative to cut childhood poverty. Thank you to Cindy Axne and Cindy Axne only. We also discuss what we briefly heard from the Family Leader Summit where former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were scheduled to speak, Governor Reynolds putting politics before refugee children AND our public safety, and Ivy tells the old guys in the room who Olivia Rodrigo is.
July 17, 2021
Time's Up for Chuck
Matt and Ivy discuss the Des Moines Register poll that said over 60% of Iowans want someone other than Chuck Grassley in the Senate, the new anti-protest bill that would have made they themselves criminals, the tragic fire that destroyed a memorial to Black youth and investigation around that fire, and our Senators' votes and outright lies on SR1, the For the People Act.
June 26, 2021
Petty Unemployment Politics
Matt and Ivy deep dive on Governor Reynolds's decision to make Iowa one of just four states to cut its citizens off from extended unemployment benefits. Colin Gordon, a senior research consultant with Common Good Iowa, joins later to explain just why this was a bad move.
June 12, 2021
Happy Pride Month!
Matt and Ivy talk Pride Month and Progress Iowa's LGBTQ+ Media Guide, Kim Reynolds unwillingness to do any more than the bare minimum when it comes to promoting vaccinations, the wide ranging effects COVID relief had on Americans, the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, and more.
June 05, 2021
No One Likes A Bragger + Edward-Isaac Dovere
Governor Reynolds goes back on Fox to brag/lie about Iowa's COVID recovery, the post legislative session landscape, and Matt is joined by staff writer for The Atlantic Edward-Isaac Dovere to talk about his new book "Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump."
May 29, 2021
This is the End
The 2021 legislative session is finally over and Matt and Ivy (and special guest little Joey Sinovic) have thoughts on that, Iowa's sputtering economy, and the 20th Shrekiversary.
May 22, 2021
The Bully in Chief ft. Sen. Zach Wahls
Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls (D-Coralville) joins Matt to discuss the bombshell leaked audio of a right-wing think tank admitting to writing the voter suppression law that Iowa Republicans rammed through the legislator, possibly in violation of Iowa law, as well as Governor Reynolds putting the bully in bully pulpit and more.
May 15, 2021
Get Vaccinated, Iowa!
Matt and Ivy discuss President Biden's address to Congress, Iowa's supply/demand issue with COVID vaccines, Governor Reynolds's bizarre admission that she sent $93 million back to the federal government instead of using it for contact tracing, Rudy Giuliani's early morning visit from the FBI, and more!
May 01, 2021
13 Years Old.
It's been a rough week for anyone who cares about justice and equality and our hearts go out to the families of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and the eight victims of the mass shooting in Indianapolis: Matthew Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Amarjeet Johal, Jaswinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Sekhon, Karli Smith, and John Weisert.
April 17, 2021
Kim Reynolds is Our Problem
Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds's "not my problem" moment when discussing immigrants, the press conference from AFSCME around workplace safety and the murders of corrections workers at the Anamosa State Penitentiary, the anti-abortion amendment that passed the legislature and more.
April 11, 2021
Flush it down the funnel
Kim Reynolds caves to the NRA and signs the bill to allow concealed guns to be carried without a permit or mandatory background check. That, plus the bills that made it through the second funnel and now that Trump's out of town Matt Gaetz is Washington's newest Sleazeball Supreme. Joining us for our interview this week is Rep. Ras Smith (D-Black Hawk) to discuss the second funnel, Governor Reynolds's last minute bill signing, and the Derek Chauvin trial.
April 03, 2021
The Extreme 16
State Rep. and Assistant Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst join Ivy and Matt to bust this year's Extreme 16 Bracket: Bad Bill Edition. Links: Follow Rep. Konfrst on Twitter Learn more about the Extreme 16
March 27, 2021
Stop the Madness!
On March 24, 2020 the first of more than 5,600 Iowans passed away due to COVID-19. Progress Iowa honors those who we've lost with the Iowa COVID Memorial website. Matt and Ivy also discuss this year's "Extreme 16" bracket where you can vote on the worst of the worst bills introduced in this year's legislative session, the polls suggesting Iowans do not want either Governor Reynolds or Senator Grassley to run again, our (finally!) increasing vaccine numbers,
March 21, 2021
Help is on the way!
Matt and Ivy talk about the American Rescue Plan, Ashley Hinson's trolling messages via mask, the latest goings on in the Iowa Legislature, and give a shout out to @IAVaccineAlerts who has helped people across the state find open vaccine appointments in their areas.
March 13, 2021
Down the Funnel We Go!
It's Funnel Week! Bills that have not passed a subcommittee in the Iowa legislature are almost surely dead. Unless they're not. Matt and Ivy discuss the big bills that made it through, the COVID relief package coming out of Washington and the political theater that Republicans are engaging in, and Chuck Grassley "both sides-ing" the January 6th terrorist attack on the US Capitol.
March 06, 2021
Slash and Burn
Kim Reynolds learns how to use GoDaddy six months too late, Sen. Schultz says we're "out of the pandemic," (we're not) and wants to cut food assistance, the Equality Act finally passed in the US House, and State Representative Christina Bohannan joins to discuss the voter suppression bill that was fast-tracked through the legislature this week. Also, as a father, Matt's going to have to brush up on his Spiderman filmography. Links Iowa state senator: ‘We’re out of the pandemic’ (Iowa Capitol Dispatch) Follow Rep. Bohannan on Twitter
February 27, 2021
Republicans Don't Want You To Vote
Matt and Ivy talk about Kim Reynolds's latest retreat in the fight against COVID, the voter suppression bill that election attorney Mark Elias calls "the worst anti-voting bill" in the country and other disasters coming out of the state house. IT'S NOT GREAT, PEOPLE. WE DON'T WANT TO BE THIS MAD.
February 20, 2021
Race to the Bottom
Ivy and Matt talk about Governor Reynolds's bizarre fundraising pitches around her COVID response and literally auctioning her time off to the highest bidder, the once again inadequate school funding bill, the legislature's race to the bottom on transgender rights, and give their hot take on the impeachment trial in Washington. Text JOIN to 515-417-3320 to receive updates from Progress Iowa.
February 13, 2021
Don't Tread on My Jeans
Ivy and Matt discuss Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell's "Denim Demonstration", the racial profiling bill that isn't, (finally) some COVID relief from Washington, favorite Super Bowl foods, and more! Text JOIN to 515-417-3320 for text message updates from Progress Iowa.
February 06, 2021
It's Burn It All Down Week
Matt and Ivy discuss the horrible bills moving through the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds's refusal to take responsibility for our state's response to the pandemic which has also been horrible.
January 30, 2021
A Light at the End of the Tunnel
Matt and Ivy react to the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President, the historic inauguration of Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President, and the progressive agenda that will begin restoring our nation. They also discuss the "disappointing but not surprising" agenda coming out of the Iowa legislature. And of course, the Bernie memes.
January 23, 2021
How Low Can We Go?
Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds's Condition of the State address and agenda, the death penalty bill that passed a subcommittee vote despite almost unanimous public comment opposing it, the second impeachment of Donald Trump, and State Senator Zach Whiting's gross comparison of the attack on the capitol with civil rights marches. Then Matt speaks with Iowa Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls about his new job, COVID protocols at the Capitol (or lack thereof), and how Democrats are going to help Iowans out of this mess.
January 16, 2021
Treason, Terror, and a Silver Lining
We're back for the first episode of 2021. It feels so good to leave such a toxic and tumultuous year behind for... oh... Matt and Ivy discuss the domestic terror attack on the US Capital, Iowa's ongoing COVID crisis (we're 5th in positivity and lowest in tests!), Kim Reynolds's PR video debut, the Democratic victories in Georgia, and are joined by Iowa State Representative Jennifer Konfrst to discuss the Democratic caucus' priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Links: Iowa has the fifth-highest COVID positivity rate, lowest number of tests (Iowa Capital Dispatch) Iowa governor, aides appear in PR video for no-bid vendor (Associated Press) Follow Rep. Jennifer Konfrst on Twitter
January 09, 2021
The 8th Annual Progress Iowa Holiday Party!
Every year Progress Iowa holds a holiday party to relax, reflect on the hard work we've done over the past year, and gather with friends and allies. Obviously due to COVID-19 that couldn't happen in person this year so we asked our friends to record videos and we streamed the event on Facebook. Enjoy holiday greetings from Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, Congresswoman Cindy Axne, Congressman Dave Loebsack, and former candidate JD Scholten. You can see all of the speeches and our annual award winners on the livestream at facebook.com/progressiowa
December 22, 2020
Kim Reynolds's White Flag of Surrender
Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds latest COVID press conference, the apparent end of the Hart/Miller-Meeks race in #IA02 (every vote counts, y'all!), the disturbing developments out of the Glenwood Resource Center lawsuit, and again advocate for Dolly Parton's receiving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Or sainthood. Whatever's easier. Links: Lawsuit claims Reynolds’ staff, AG’s office approved sexual-arousal experiments at Glenwood (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
December 05, 2020
Secretary Dolly Parton?
Matt and Ivy talk about the half-a-loaf non-mandate mask mandates from Kim Reynolds, Joe Biden's picks for his national security team, the historically close margin in Iowa's 2nd congressional district race, and of course their Thanksgiving Day recipes. Be thankful. Stay safe. Links: COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool Follow Ryan Foley on Twitter
November 27, 2020
Iowa needs a mask mandate
Matt and Ivy talk about the ups and downs of last week's election, the COVID crisis that just keeps getting worse, and the complete lack of leadership from the Governor's office. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay apart.
November 14, 2020
Health care is on the ballot. VOTE.
Matt and Ivy discuss the news of the most recent week to feel like 50 years and share stories of Iowans with pre-existing conditions to remind you that health care is on the ballot tomorrow. GO VOTE. Links: IWillVote.com
November 02, 2020
Close the Boyfriend Loophole!
Matt and Ivy discuss the final presidential debate, the Senate Judicial Committee's vote on Amy Coney Barrett, the 545 migrant children still separated from their parents, and Kim Reynolds's CARES Act spending spree. We also hear a message to Sen. Joni Ernst from Lilly Steil, a young woman who became an activist against domestic violence after her sister Roseanna was shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend. Call Sens Ernst & Grassley -- NO Supreme Court vote until the people have spoken Ernst: (202) 224-3254 Grassley: (202) 224 - 3744
October 24, 2020
Donald and Kim. Two Beans in a Pod.
Kim Reynolds opens for Donald Trump at a rally in Des Moines that spits in the face of her own COVID guidelines, Joni Ernst implodes in her final debate with Theresa Greenfield, David Young tells more lies about his record, and Ivy talks to Murphy Burke of Next Gen Iowa about their efforts to get out the vote.
October 17, 2020
Talking About Talkers Talking
The buzz (get it?) is over the one and only Vice Presidential debate, as well as a debate between Congresswoman Cindy Axne and her challenger David Young in Iowa's 3rd district. Buzz buzz. Links Watch the Vice Presidential debate (CBS News) Watch the 3rd Congressional Debate (Iowa PBS)
October 10, 2020
A hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck
Matt and Ivy discuss the Ernst-Greenfield debate on Iowa Press, the Trump-Biden debate/"hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck," and Friday morning's breaking news that Donald Trump and others in his circle have COVID-19. Links Watch the Ernst-Greenfield debate (Iowa PBS on YouTube) Watch the Trump-Biden debate (C-SPAN on YouTube) Watch a replay of our event with Sen. Tom Harkin
October 03, 2020
Losing a Legend
Matt and Ivy talk about the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsber and our US Senator's baldfaced lies to the people they serve. They also share several hot takes on birds... Yes, birds. Links: Rob Sand's tweet about RBG and the Des Moines Symphony
September 26, 2020
Yes, Iowans DO Want Healthcare!
Editors note: This episode was recorded on Friday, September 18th, before the death of Justice Ginsburg. This week Matt and Ivy talk to Ben Jealous with People for the American Way about Iowa's Senate race and the importance of our nation's courts in that race.
September 20, 2020
We agree, Mr. President. This is deadly stuff.
Trump spilled the beans to Bob Woodward (and who knows who else!) while keeping the public in the dark about the deadliest crisis in modern history, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer squared off against State Rep Ashley Hinson and put her on the defensive on her terrible labor record, and Senator Joni Ernst peddles conspiracy theories about coronavirus deaths. Then, Matt and Ivy speak to Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek about how Iowa's teachers, staff, and students are faring going back to schools during this pandemic. Links: Follow ISEA on Twitter Iowa Starting Line: Iowa GOP Rep: U.S. Not Racist Because Obama Elected Twice Iowa medical group: Sen. Ernst's embrace of a COVID conspiracy theory 'offensive'
September 13, 2020
The Corn Feed Goes Virtual
Insert kernel jokes here. On Tuesday, Progress Iowa held it's sixth annual Corn Feed. For obvious reasons, this year's event was held online. We were joined by special guests such as: Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Katie Porter of California, Ashley Biden, and more. On this weeks show, some of the best clips from Tuesday's event. Our focus this year was voting rights and making our own plans to vote. With all the back and forth from our elected officials on when and how we can vote, it's more important than ever to have your plan ready as early as possible. Links Register to Vote
September 04, 2020
Back to school whether we like it or not
Correction: The amount of funding passed by the U.S. House for USPS that is currently being held up by the Senate is $25 billion, not $65 billion. Matt and Ivy are joined this week by Danielle Root from the Center for American Progress to talk about the Trump administration's attacks on the post office juuuuuuust in time for mail-in ballot requests to start hitting our mailboxes. They talk about the alternatives and how important it is to make a plan early. They also discuss Joni Ernst's speech to the RNC, the unwarranted shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, and the latest pandemic news from Iowa. Links Iowa Starting Line: Ernst sells out Iowa during RNC speech Daily Beast - Rep. Katie Porter Grills Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Basic Facts About the Post Office The Guardian: Kenosha: teen charged with murder after two Black Lives Matter protesters killed Des Moines Register - Iowa won't alert public to coronavirus outbreaks at schools
August 28, 2020
Stacey Walker on Conditions in Cedar Rapids
Welcome to new cohost Ivy Beckenholdt! Matt and Ivy break down the week's headlines, give their hot takes on a couple stories and give shoutouts to the Iowans who deserve them. Then, they speak with Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker about conditions on the ground in Cedar Rapids 10 days after the historic derecho storm. Links: Follow Stacey Walker on Twitter Follow Advocates for Social Justice on Facebook Donate to them here
August 21, 2020
A Hurricane in Iowa
Just when you thought the news couldn't get any bigger, hurricane force winds devastated parts of the midwest. A rare derecho storm ripped up trees, damaged buildings, and damaged enough crops to be able to see from space. Hundreds of thousands of Iowans were without power and some neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids may not get it back for weeks. This week we depart from our usual format to hear from some people on the ground in Cedar Rapids.
August 15, 2020
No, President Trump can’t delay the election
Matt's back! Our fearless leader took a break from the sleepless nights of early fatherhood to talk about Kim Reynolds' latest approval ratings on her administration's Coronavirus response, Congressman John Lewis's passing, and the latest outrageous Trump tweet. Yes, not content with giving up the spotlight for even a moment, Donald Trump hinted at delaying the 2020 general election. Which is totally something you do if you're winning. Matt spoke to former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander about Trump's suggestion. Links: Only 28 Percent Approve Of Gov. Reynolds’ COVID Response - Progress Iowa Check out the Veterans Community Project
July 31, 2020
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Lyz Lenz is back! Ashley Hinson endorses Abby Finkenauer's positions but forgets to tell everyone, and Governor Reynolds straight up lies about the number of sick people in our state on behalf of big business. Cool. Links: Follow Lyz on Twitter you cowards! Des Moines Register - GOP congressional candidate Ashley Hinson apologizes for plagiarism, cuts ties with consulting firm AP: Outbreak at Iowa pork plant was larger than state reported
July 24, 2020
Live from the Red Zone
A new report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force puts 18 states, including Iowa, in the "red zone" for the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. This after the Vice President called Iowa's response a "success story" and our Governor rushed to re-open the state. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Then, State Auditor Rob Sand joined us over his lunch break to talk about his office's bombshell report stating Test Iowa, the company we're all paying to process our COVID-19 tests and deliver the results, may be breaking Iowa law, only to be met with a collective "nuh uh" from the Governor's office. Links: Center for Public Integrity: White House Document Shows 18 States In Coronavirus "Red Zone" AP: Iowa auditor questions legality of Test Iowa reporting chain Follow Rob Sand on Twitter
July 17, 2020
Hear No Outbreak, See No Outbreak
We're joined this week by Bleeding Heartland's Laura Belin to talk about the breaking story that the director of Iowa's Department of Public Health "rebuffed an offer of federal assistance to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants" and the coming fight between Iowa's Secretary of State and county auditors over the new vote by mail restrictions. Links Follow Laura on Twitter Why didn’t Iowa accept CDC’s offer to help with meatpacking plant infections? - Iowa Capital Dispatch Iowa elections director misstates law in warning to county auditors - Bleeding Heartland
July 10, 2020
Healthcare Roundtable with Sen. Claire Celsi
On Thursday, Progress Iowa partnered with Iowa Voices to hold a roundtable discussion on the future of the Affordable Care Act with Iowa State Senator Claire Celsi and Iowa Citizen Action Network's Sue Dinsdale.
June 27, 2020
The pandemic isn’t over just because you’re tired of it
On Lauren's last show 😭 she and Matt discuss the latest moves by Governor Reynolds to open the state and hide the number of new COVID-19 cases at businesses and the "banner week for racism" that saw a black man threatened in Central Park and the killing of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
May 29, 2020
Parades and Pandemics with Lyz Lenz
Matt and Lauren are joined by Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist and author Lyz Lenz to discuss the news of the week and the state of our fine state. Correction: In the intro Matt mistakingly says 500 Iowans have died from COVID-19. The correct number is 400 and we hope that number never goes up. Links Follow Lyz on Twitter
May 22, 2020
Kim’s COVID Casino
Mike Pence just wouldn't stay away and now our Governor is in "modified quarantine." That's not stopping her from forcing Iowa to re-open during one of the deadliest weeks we've had since this pandemic began. Based on her daily press conferences you would think we’ve passed the peak but we have no idea because we also can’t see the modeling they have. Matt and Lauren also discuss the nationwide ads from Amazon and Walmart. They have the money for feel-good ads about how they think that their workers are heroes... but giving their employees a living wage or the companies paying their fair share in taxes is out of the question? Yeah, that tracks. Sign up for our COVID-19 daily email.
May 15, 2020
Go Home, Mike Pence
Iowa has surpassed entire countries' coronavirus case counts but that doesn't stop the pom-pom squad of Vice President Pence, Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, David Young, and more from flying in, modeling all sorts of bad behavior, and declaring mission accomplished. Links: Sign up for Progress Iowa's Coronavirus Daily newsletter
May 09, 2020
Every Week Feels Like a Year
Our peak is 2-3 weeks away (after being 2 weeks away 4 weeks ago) but time is meaningless and viruses apparently respect county borders so IT'S ALL GOOD. Links: Sign up for the Progress Iowa COVID-19 Daily E-Mail Herald-Leader: Reynolds prepares to ease lockdown and asks, ‘Isn’t this great?’ Iowa Starting Line: Protections Aren’t “Punishment,” Governor Lyz Lenz's tweet
May 01, 2020
Rural Iowa Braces for Impact
Progress Iowa held a virtual town hall to discuss the impact of COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on rural Iowa. The town hall was broadcast on Facebook Live and featured former Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge, State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque, State Rep. Timi Brown-Powers of Black Hawk County, and Dr. Rossana Rosa, an infectious disease specialist working in Des Moines. Links: Read the report "Bracing for Impact: Rural Iowa Faces Coronavirus" Watch the town hall on Facebook Live
April 24, 2020
We're the "Bad Neighbor" Now
Matt and Lauren talk about another week of no shelter-in-place order for Iowa despite increased cases of COVID-19 and Governor Reynolds's refusal to join a group of neighboring states to plan a return to normal life. But we got a PSA from Ashton Kutcher, so we got that going for us. Subscribe to Progress Iowa's COVID-19 Daily
April 17, 2020
Kim Reynolds is NOT a Faith Leader
Still no shelter-in-place order as of Governor Reynolds' press conference Thursday, but at least the bowling alleys are closed now. Our friend Connie Ryan from Interfaith Alliance of Iowa said it very well: “The Governor should focus on the best practices in public health to ensure the safety and well-being of all Iowans, not the practices of any religion. Promoting religious practices is the role of faith leaders, not elected officials.”
April 10, 2020
Kim Reynolds is NOT a Doctor
Iowa is one of the last states in the nation not to have a shelter-in-place order to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Reynolds' reasoning is baffling at best. Links: Progress Iowa's COVID-19 Resources Our new daily email series Iowa COVID-19 Daily. Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand doing some good during this bad time.
April 04, 2020
Sorry Grandma, Goldman Needs a Good Q2
We didn't think we’d have to say this but here we are: people are worth saving. Yes, all of them. Every time we argued that a program would "grow the economy," we helped the opposition cement the view that this is the singular objective of policymaking. — Anat Shenker-Osorio (@anatosaurus) March 26, 2020 Links: Vox: The $2.2 trillion stimulus can’t be the last thing Congress does on coronavirus Show Rep. Karin Derry some love on Twitter
March 27, 2020
Be Brave, Stay Home
That escalated quickly. Matt and Lauren discuss our Senator's "no" votes on paid sick leave, one Senator's need for a history lesson, compare Iowa's response to the coronavirus to that of other states', and talk about Progress Iowa's #BeBraveStayHome campaign. Links: Sen. Ron Johnson's amendment to remove paid sick leave from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act History Channel aficionado Sen. Chuck Grassley doesn't get history. Be Brave, Stay Home
March 20, 2020
Wash Your Hands 2: Antiseptic Boogaloo
Lauren and Greg discuss our government's (lack of) response to the coronavirus outbreak and the civil rights violations carried out by state police against LGBTQ+ students at the Capitol. Links: WashYourLyrics.com The Advocate: LGBTQ Students Kicked Out of Iowa Capitol Over Restroom Use
March 14, 2020
🎵 It's Ladies Week and the Feeling's Bleek 🎵
Wash your hands, fund our schools, get some big progressive energy, and according to Merriam-Webster, searches for ‘misogyny’ are up 2400%. Links: Slate: Ladies’ Week at the Supreme Court Again Glamour: Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer Opens Up About Her Struggle With Endometriosis Vote on your favorite sticker!
March 06, 2020
Talk Judicial To Me
The legislature gets flushed down the funnel, Joni Ernst sells us out for the NRA (again), and we're joined by Jamie Burch Elliot who gets judicial with us. Links: Iowa Starting Line - After Sister’s Murder, Iowan Calls Out Ernst On Boyfriend Loophole Lilly Steil on Twitter Jamie Burch Elliott on Twitter
February 28, 2020
I, Gladys Kravitz, do solemnly swear...
Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are doing thier best Gladys Kravitz impressions through some pretty terrible bills that range from stupid to cruel. Then Lauren updates us where the anti-abortion rights amendment is in the legislative process. It's not good. Links: Find your legislator. Then contact them and either thank them or give 'em a piece of your mind. WHOtv: Bill Would Require Iowa Schools to Notify Parents of LGBTQ-Related Curriculum [whotv.com]
February 14, 2020
Many Unsatisfying Ends
An acquittal by jurors who know he's guilty, a speech full of lies, a primary narrative that shattered like a wine bottle on a high school gym floor and an actual bottle of wine shattering on a high school gym floor. What a week. Matt, Lauren, and Greg share caucus stories from three different perspectives, opine on Trump's third State of the Union and the "rip heard 'round the world" from Speaker Pelosi, and the latest on the anti-abortion constitutional amendment worming its way through the Iowa legislature. Links: Iowa Caucus results We all thought about it, she went there. Iowa caucuses: Attendee drops, breaks ‘concealed bottle of wine’ [NY Post] Rep. Shipley wants everyone to read his favorite book before they graduate. [Des Moines Register]
February 07, 2020
The Joke's On Us, I Guess
75% of voters want to hear new witnesses and John Bolton's out there doing his best Lloyd Dobler impression outside the capitol building but Senators Ernst and Grassley couldn't care less. They, along with 49 other Republicans voted not to hear any further evidence in the impeachment trial. Republicans in the Iowa House tried to take a bottle of white out to the Iowa Civil Rights Act but were stopped by... Steve Holt? And we're joined by Sue Dinsdale of Iowa Citizen Action Network to talk about their drug price reduction platform and how you, an Iowa citizen, can take action. Links: Find your caucus location and be in line by 7:00pm Greg talks with Iowa Safe Schools about the attempted gender identity erasure on The Daily Dome Lower Drug Prices NOW from IowaCAN
February 01, 2020
And Our Rights We Might Maintain
The anti-choice amendment advanced to the full State Government Committee and passed on a 10-5 party line vote. We talk about that, our press conference on a new bill protecting Iowans with pre-existing conditions and play clips from the 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on Democracy held here in Des Moines this past weekend. Links: Hear Claire Celsi's interview on Daily Dome Des Moines Register: Iowa lawmakers consider measures to protect people with pre-existing conditions as 'Obamacare' faces legal challenges Watch the 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on Democracy
January 24, 2020
The Condition of Our State is...Meh.
Matt and Lauren dive into Governor Reynolds's Condition of the State address and on Thursday, Lauren attended a hastily called subcommittee meeting at the Iowa legislature trying to slip an amendment to Iowa's constitution under the public's nose. Links: Des Moines Register story on the subcommittee meeting
January 17, 2020
A Tall Glass of Haterade
We have a big e-mail list. Not everyone who's on it is friendly. For the first episode of 2020 we take you through the greatest (worst?) hits of our inbox so far. We've bleeped the worst of the swears but this episode may still not be for everyone.
January 10, 2020
What a Holiday Party!
Thursday night was Progress Iowa's annual Holiday Party. This year we posthumously honored Robin Stone for her work on behalf of Iowans with pre-existing conditions, and we gave our first Ruth and Tom Harkin Hero award to the namesakes, Ruth and Tom Harkin, for their decades of service to our state. We wrap up the year (and decade!) with a parody poem from Iowa Citizen Action Network's Sue Dinsdale. We'll be off next week so Happy Holidays from everyone at Progress Iowa!
December 20, 2019
O’er on the House Floor
Get your 2019 Holiday Party Tickets Today! Links: Joni Ernst's 2014 campaign "knowingly accepting excessive and prohibited contributions" Donald Trump says he might not participate in debates next year. Activists across the state sung carols about drug prices.
December 13, 2019
Joni Ernst, Call Your Office!
Joni Ernst backs an unqualified judicial nominee, abandons domestic violence survivors, and might have (probably) broken the law. What a week. Matt and Lauren are joined by Paul Gordon, Senior Legislative Counsel for People for the American Way. Paul works on a variety of issues and regularly engages with government officials and national and state coalitions on judicial nominations to ensure that our courts have highly qualified, independent judges. They discuss Joni Ernst's recent vote to confirm Sarah Pitlyk, the most recent Trump nominee the American Bar Association deemed "unqualified" to sit on the bench. Links: Follow Paul on Twitter Progress Iowa's report on Sen. Ernst's VAWA bill AP: "Dark money" ties raise questions for GOP Sen. Ernst of Iowa What a Week is produced by Progress Iowa as part of the Potluck Media Network and would not be possible without grassroots supporters like you. We are recorded, mixed, and edited by Greg Hauenstein.
December 06, 2019
WTF Jeff Kaufmann
Trump holds court, forgetting to remember, Iowa loses a hero, and WTF Jeff Kaufmann. – what a week. Here's a fact check for Chairman Kaufmann. The Cedar Rapids Gazette endorsed GOP candidates for Governor in 2010 and 2014, Mitt Romney for President, Chuck Grassley for Senate, and Chris Peters for Congress in 2016, and multiple GOP candidates for the legislature every cycle. And just this week they printed a column co-written by Kaufmann himself. Give us a break. Links: Vogue: #TDOR Founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith on the 20th Anniversary of the event Iowa Starting Line: Trump Has Now Appointed 25% Of Nation’s Second-Highest Judges “It was his abiding sense of right, wrong and fairness which distinguished his work.” Read a eulogy for Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady in the Des Moines Register. Jeff Kaufmann's latest anti-press rant on Facebook
November 22, 2019
The Boyfriend Loophole is Heteronormative
Joni Ernst refuses to reauthorize VAWA, DREAMers get their day in court, and Trump is in big trouble – what a week. Matt's in DC so WAW producer Greg Hauenstein trades the mixing board for microphone to talk with Lauren about Joni Ernst stopping the Violence Against Women Act in its tracks, the DACA hearings in the Supreme Court, and the public impeachment hearings in the House Intelligence Committee. Links: Bleeding Heartland: Joni Ernst won't cross NRA for deal on Violence Against Women Act Iowa Starting Line: Iowans Will Feel Effects Of Supreme Court’s DACA Ruling Slate: The Seven Ways Wednesday’s Hearing Clarified Trump’s Real Motives
November 15, 2019
Rockin' the Suburbs
Matt and Lauren discuss the election results from Virginia, Kentucky, and right here in Polk County, Iowa. They are then joined by two of the newly-elected members to the city council of Urbandale, Iowa, Bridget Carberry Montgomery and Matt Blake. Links: Follow Bridget Carberry Montgomery on Twitter Follow Matt Blake on Twitter Iowa Starting Line: Democrats Flip Local Suburban Seats Across Polk County Iowa Starting Line: Ernst makes excuses about being vulnerable Radio Iowa: Grassley at White House to celebrate Trump's impact on courts Radio Iowa: Congressman King expects to regain committee assignments
November 08, 2019
Labor Strikes Back
Matt and Lauren discuss the results of Iowa's public employee union recertification elections, Senators Ernst and Grassley's votes against outlawing junk "insurance" plans that don't cover pre-existing conditions, and tonight's big Iowa Democratic Party "Liberty & Justice Celebration." Obamacare open enrollment begins today and runs through December 15th. Get covered at Healthcare.gov!
November 01, 2019
Quid Pro QuOMG
An earlier version of this podcast had an editing error. All good now. What a week, indeed. Matt and Lauren talk about the upcoming recertification elections for Iowa's public employee unions and why they're even a thing, Donald Trump's victim complex dialing up to 11, and Matt talks with Jeremy Venook from the Center for American Progress and The Moscow Project about the latest in impeachment news. Links: Vote to re-certify your union here. Follow Jeremy Venook on Twitter Learn more about The Moscow Project
October 25, 2019
They Just Do Crimes on TV Now, We Guess
Joni Ernst takes a dive, Zuckerberg thinks he’s MLK, a record-setting debate, and the White House admitted to everything so can this please just be over now? What a week. Rest in Power, Congressman Elijah Cummings. Links: Joni Ernst's approval takes a nose dive NBC: Civil rights leaders criticize Zuckerberg's free speech address Bernice King's reaction Sherrilyn Ifill's Op-Ed
October 18, 2019
You Blew It, Joni!
Fat Bear Week isn't the only hairy situation Matt and Lauren talk about this week. We meet the new boss in the Iowa State House, Joni Ernst had one job and she blew it, and Chuck Grassley owes someone an apology. Links: Video: Joni blows it on CNN Video: Cancer Patient Asks for a Conversation with Chuck Grassley Video: Iowa Woman Holds Chuck Grassley Accountable Donate to Robin
October 11, 2019
What Happened to Voting Rights This Week?
Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald explains the good and bad of this week's big court ruling on voting rights in our state. Matt and Lauren also discuss President Trump's treasonous behavior and Joni Ernst's out-of-nowhere honesty regarding her health care votes. Oh yeah, and a cow went rogue on the north side of Des Moines. What a week.
October 04, 2019
The Power of Your Story
Iowa Voices Executive Director Emily Holley joins Lauren to talk about some other headlines of the week and heap praise on their two favorite women this week: Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old climate change activist and Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Lyz Lenz.
September 27, 2019
Strikes, Drugs, and Taxes
Progress Iowa had a table at a local meeting of the Alliance for Retired Americans. While there they sat down with retired UAW retiree Wayne Hungerford to talk about the UAW strike against General Motors, Emily Holley of Iowa Voices to talk about Senator Joni Ernst's record on drug prices, and Sue Dinsdale of the Iowa Citizens Action Network who had a thing or two to say about the big GOP tax cut of 2019 and who it's actually helping.
September 23, 2019
ABC... Are You Ok?
Matt and Lauren talk about the Democratic debate in Houston which was heavy on people but light on some big issues, a new study shows the contributions DACA recipients make to our economy, and we reconvene the Lyz Lenz Fan Club for the question, "Men, Ok?" What a week. Links: Reproductive justice discussion missing from Democratic debate Report: DACA recipients pay over $50 million in taxes Lyz Lenz: Are Men Ok?
September 13, 2019
Joni Ernst Grabs the Third Rail
"Congressman says he enjoyed drinking toilet water" isn't a sentence you thought you'd ever read... but here we are. What a week. Links: The Problem With Steve King's Toilet Sink Water Claim (Iowa Starting Line) Sen. Ernst says lawmakers should discuss fixing Social Security ‘behind closed doors’ (Washington Post) Lyz Lenz's columns in the Cedar Rapids Gazette
September 06, 2019
Thank a Union
This week Matt and Lauren talk about the struggles workers have had to face from their own government here in Iowa. It's been a rough couple years since Republicans in the legislature teamed up with corporate lobbyists and passed one of the worst bills in the nation for public employees. Labor Day is about more than the end of summer and your last big barbecue. Workers have struggled and even died for basic rights like organizing, safe working conditions, a basic level of pay, and health care. If you agree, check out ThankAUnion.com and spread the word.
August 30, 2019
Swiss Cheese Gun Laws
Matt and Lauren talk about Sen. Joni Ernst's town hall and State Fair visit over the weekend with Iowa Voices Executive Director Emily Holley and then dive deep into gun safety issues and advocacy with Amber Gustafson, a volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action and a candidate for the Iowa Senate in 2018. Links: Sign up for Amber's newsletter "All Views My Own" Like and watch Amber Gustafson on Facebook Follow Amber on Instagram Follow @AmberForIowa on Twitter Like Iowa Voices on Facebook Follow @IowaVoices on Twitter
August 23, 2019
Dear America, Sorry About Steve King
Iowa's 4th District Congressman shot his mouth off again and the national press took notice. Matt and Lauren talk about the reaction to Steve King's latest offensive comments, Presidential candidates at the Iowa State Fair, and the hide-and-seek game Iowa's US Senators play with their town hall meetings. Then, Planned Parenthood Voters Executive Director Erin Davison-Rippey sits down with Matt and Lauren to give her thoughts on Steve King and talk about the condition of reproductive freedom in Iowa.
August 16, 2019
A conversation with Ed Espinoza
Matt and Lauren discuss State Rep. Steve Holt's gun range fundraiser held just days after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, and talk with Progress Texas's Executive Director Ed Espinoza on what life has been like over the past week in Texas.
August 12, 2019
Sounds of Progress
The Sound of Progress is the follow up to last year's Reynolds Pamphlet and is playing at the Des Moines Performing Arts Center on Thursday, August 8th at 7pm and Sunday, August 11 at 3pm. Get your tickets today!
August 02, 2019
Lauren and Matt break down the big headlines of the week. Governor Reynolds stonewalls the public on why she fired DHS Director Foxhoven, Robert Mueller testifies before the House, Joni Ernst compares migrant camps to a crowded Thanksgiving, and Iowa Forward Executive Director Emily Holley sits down with Matt to talk about the two years anniversary of the late Senator John McCain's dramatic no vote on repealing Obamacare. What a week.
July 26, 2019
What a Corn Feed
Matt and Lauren discuss the headlines of the week, recap the Progress Iowa Corn Feed and share clips from their exclusive interviews with 10 of the 11 presidential candidates that attended the event.
July 19, 2019