OP-ED – Minimum Wage – For Release 10/6/2014

OP-ED – For Release 10-6-14


by Mary Ann Ahrens, West Des Moines, Iowa

We hear much talk about growing Iowa and increasing our economic development base. We know that, in order to grow Iowa and recruit new business, one must have a trained workforce that earns living wages.

The reality is that we have thousands of workers in Iowa earning minimum wages that have not kept pace with inflation.

It is unconscionable that our 2014 Iowa Legislature and Congress could not find it possible to address/increase the minimum wage. Could it be that it is an election year?   The latest results from CNN’s Money American Dream Poll show 71% of the public supports raising the minimum wage. In Iowa 65% of the people support raising the minimum wage including 45% of Iowa Republicans (Center for American Progress Action Fund—Iowa Survey).

I wonder how many of our elected officials, business and institutional executives, etc. could live on $15,080 a year – the amount a full-time minimum wage earner makes before taxes and without any vacation. Perhaps elected officials/ executives need to switch places with minimum wage earners and walk in their shoes.

We hear a lot of rhetoric about religious values and morals, but see no action to adequately value/reward our working poor in this state. These are the people who produce the goods and services that make it possible for businesses to keep their doors open and earn profits.

We also hear much talk about employee performance issues. Consider that many employees living on minimum wages are hungry, do not have adequate housing, child care, transportation, or health insurance. Why might they be absent and not performing well? Could it be that they or their family members are ill or struggling with child care or transportation issues?

The current minimum wage, which has been at $7.25 per hour since 2009, leaves almost 50 million Americans in poverty. In Iowa an increase in minimum wage would benefit 306,000 workers. Fifty-eight percent are women working at low-wage, under-valued jobs. If Iowa would join the 23 states and the District of Columbia which have a minimum wage higher than the federal level, the increase potentially would lift more than 23,000 Iowans out of poverty.

The Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO policy recommendation is to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in support of the 2013 Fair Minimum Wage Act introduced by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller of California. It would raise wages in three increments and index it to inflation. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since 1968 when it was $1.60 per hour, it would be $10.86 today.

A 2013 survey conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business indicates that leading economists agree by a 4 to 1 margin that the benefits of raising and indexing the minimum wage far outweigh the costs. Other studies cite the following benefits: higher employee productivity, lower turnover, decreased absenteeism, increased worker morale, fewer disciplinary issues, and improved customer service. A brighter picture.

Shouldn’t a full time job be a bridge out of poverty and an opportunity to make a living wage through hard work?

Is Iowa the land of opportunity? If so, for whom? We must change this picture. We have an opportunity and responsibility in the November election to support candidates/elected officials who will help people achieve the American Dream. Use your vote. Vote Democratic! We can create a new picture.


Questions? Contact:

Mary Ann Ahrens
West Des Moines, IA
515-664-8933 (h)
319-240-5904 (cell)

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Women’s Issues – Letter to the Editor – 10/16/2014

Letter to the Editor -10-6-14

This is a Call to Action for anyone passionate about women’s issues in the upcoming election!

Women make up the majority of our population. We do vote! We have the power to use our vote to elect candidates who respect and support women and want to help women gain educational and economic equity.

Inform yourself to determine who supports women’s issues. Don’t rely on hearsay and misinformation or be crippled by fear tactics. Would you vote for candidates who do not support the following issues?

-Raising the minimum wage
-Equal pay for equal work
-Choice in women’s reproductive rights
-Protecting not privatizing Social Security
-Strengthening Medicare
-Affordable health care for all
-Educational opportunities/funding as a pathway out of poverty
-Measures to end violence against women (globally, too)
-Concern for immigrants
-Support for disability issues
-Marriage equality

To be competitive as a state, we need both women and men working as partners to grow Iowa’s economy and help women achieve the American dream so they can live with dignity!

We live in a complex, rapidly changing world. We have made significant progress on women’s rights through hard work over the years. Let’s not let our progress be reversed by the Republican candidates. We can’t go back!! There is too much at stake!

Now is the time to speak up, speak out, and stand tall! Submit letters to area media outlets. Talk to friends, neighbors, relatives and work colleagues who have concerns about the women and girls in their lives. Remind them of what’s at stake! Urge them to vote for democratic candidates who will support economic and educational equity for women! Together, we can do this!

Mary Ann Ahrens
501 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, IA 50265
515-664-8933 (h)
319-240-5904 (cell)

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State Convention – June 21, 2014



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District Convention – April 26, 2014

The Third District Convention was held on Saturday, April 26, 2014, and adopted the Third District Platform, as amended by the convention.

State Central Committee

Linda Nelson
Marcia Fulton
Julie Stewart
Jennifer Lunsford

Bill Brauch
John McCormally
Rick Smith
Carl McPherson

Affirmative Action Chair

Mary Madison

The Third District Central Committee convention call booklet.

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District Meeting Photos – August 10, 2013

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District Meeting Photos – June 22, 2013

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Marcia Fulton’s Letter to the Editor

In November we have many decisions to make as to whom we trust to lead us into the future. Due to Iowa losing a seat in reapportionment, one of the choices is between two current congressmen. Both are decent men but there are differences I would like you to consider. Are you a military family or value those who serve? Only one of these congressmen ever served his country by wearing the uniform of the American soldier. This congressman not only served, he led and is the most decorated soldier currently serving in Congress. This congressman served two tours in Vietnam as a combat assault helicopter pilot and two tours of duty in Europe with NATO. Not only did he serve, but while serving, he earned TWO Distinguished Flying Crosses, and TWO Bronze Stars, as well as the Soldier’s Medal.

This congressman is not new to Southwest Iowa but has represented our community, including Union County , making him well acquainted with the needs of our rural area. Raised in Ringgold and Decatur counties, he graduated from Lamoni High School and went on to graduate from Graceland College. This congressman will protect our Medicare and Social Security and see that the Middle Class is not the “back” used to protect the rich from paying their fair share of the tax burden. He will stand up for the rights of women, both in the workplace and in decisions concerning their own bodies. He will insure that our returning service men and women get the help they need to re-enter civilian life. Finally, he will support a balanced budget amendment and work to cut wasteful spending.

Right now, he will sign the Farm Bill, and not hold it hostage for political folly. Who is this congressman? LEONARD BOSWELL, a man who has been there, a man who has stood up for family, Southwest Iowa, and the United States of America. Now it is our turn. Please stand up for Leonard and send him back to congress to represent us in the Third Congressional District.

Marcia Healey Fulton
Vice Chair, IDP Third Congressional District
641 782 2490

October 21, 2012

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IDP 3rd District Update for Thursday, October 11, 2012

“Countdown to Election Day”
Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) 3rd District Central Committee
Update for Thursday, October 11, 2012

IDP 3rd District highlights for this week

Boswell for Congress announces President Clinton will be in Des Moines Friday, October 12, 2012 – 8:00pm – 10:00pm at the Renaissance Savery Hotel, 401 Locust Street Des Moines, IA, 50309. For more information see:   http://www.boswellforcongress.com/clinton

With citizens in states across the country already casting votes in the 2012 election, the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America are conducting a month-long “Gotta Vote” Bus Tour which launched in Iowa over the weekend.  With stops from Sioux City to Council Bluffs and Des Moines to Waterloo over the weekend, and the tour is sending a simple but unmistakable message to voters in Iowa and beyond in the coming weeks: If you want to ensure that President Obama can continue in office and keep our country moving forward, you gotta register and you gotta vote. For more information see: http://www.iowademocrats.org/2012/10/dncofa-gotta-vote-bus-tour-gains-traction-in-iowa/

Campaign Resources

Additional Resources /Templates for Quick Responses:  The 3rd District Iowa Democratic Party Central Committee met on Saturday October 6, 2012 and received an update of activities across the district. (A very busy district) In addition the committee received some questions about where readily available resources can be located for messaging efforts of the county central committees the last three weeks. They are:
•         The Obama web site has numerous audience specific messages, and could be readily used in messaging for letters to the editors.  The web site tab is: https://my.barackobama.com/page/content/iowa-lte-tool/

•         The Boswell for Congress website has a media tab, and has several good messages and can be readily turned into a letter to the editor. The website: http://www.boswellforcongress.com/media

•         The Polk Co. Democratic Party has a blog tab on its website, and has numerous messages. The web site is;  http://polkcountydemocrats.org/blog

In addition see attachments letters to the editor submitted in Polk Co. Ideas for Letters 2012

Asking all counties central committee/ members to adopt the additional three goals;   The 3rd District IDP central committee is aware how hard you are all working, but as we all know…we need to continue to keep up our efforts to the very last hour.  With that goal in mind the district central committee is asking all central committee/ members to adopt the additional three goals in the last three weeks of the election cycle locally.  They are:

•         Ensure weekly “letters to the editor” are submitted.  The letters describing and supporting your local candidate, Congressman Boswell, and President Obama are submitted weekly to every newspaper across the counties.
•         Use platform comparisons:  The 3rd IDP platform committee has created a simple side by side comparison of the democratic and republican platform plans bullets, and is attached. Democratic Platform Comparison 2012 The bullets can be used for any messaging you may be working on in your communities describing what it means to be a democrat or vote democratically.
•         Ensure Volunteer/Staffing for OFA offices; as county central committee members across the district ENSURE that the OFA offices have plenty of the volunteers signed up to for the “Get Out the Vote” efforts the last weekend prior to the election day at the local levels.

Donkey Drawing:  Madison Co.  Democratic central committee recently received a set of donkey drawings that they used for a successful fundraising idea.  Tom Clause, a Madison Co Democrat, created and donated the drawings to the central committee fundraising efforts.  An electronic version was created and a sample is attached for use across the district. Braying Donkey 2012

Campaign Updates

President Obama Campaign…asking if you are able to take some days off between now and November 6th and can travel to counties where the election will be the closest, to work on a local team getting out the vote during the critical last weeks and on election day… Please say that you’ll vote, and get others to join you.  If you are interested in being part of the VOTE CORPS contacts:



•         Be sure to check-out the 3rd District Website Calendar for ongoing weekly updates
•         October 20, 2012-Save the Date for the 2012 Jefferson Jackson Dinner.  http://www.iowademocrats.org/
•         Support Planned Parenthood Book Sale. visit  www.desmoinesbooksale.com
•         Presidential Debates Calendar October 16 and 22


Have an event or resource for the weekly update?  Submit email information to pam.deichmann@gmail.com

IDP 3rd District Central Committee

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Obama Audience Specific Messages




Share why you support President Obama with the people in your community. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper.
Click a topic below to get started.






The Boswell for Congress website has a media tab, and has several good messages and can be readily turned into a letter to the editor. The website: http://www.boswellforcongress.com/media
The Polk Co. Democratic Party has a blog tab on its website, and has numerous messages. The web site is: http://polkcountydemocrats.org/blog
In addition see attachments letters to the editor submitted in Polk Co. Ideas for Letters 2012
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Deval Patrick – August 21, 2012


Another View

Massachusetts’ governor explains his vote for Obama

In so-called battleground states, voters hear a lot from each candidate about why not to vote for the other guy. We get blessedly little of this in Massachusetts.

It’s not that we are so reliably Democratic. In fact, there are more independents in the commonwealth than registered Democrats and Republicans combined. It’s certainly not that Gov. Mitt Romney has a lock on the state he governed for four years.

It’s telling that he seems to have conceded the state that knows his record and his leadership most intimately.

At the end of it all, I am not voting against anyone in this race. I suspect a lot of other Americans want a reason to vote for a candidate than against one. I am voting for Barack Obama because he has the record, the vision and the courage to help us save the American dream.

His record is long, impressive and barely told.

»This is the president who delivered access to affordable health care to every American in every corner of the country after 90 years of trying.

»This is the president who saved the U.S. auto industry from extinction, the U.S. financial industry from selfdestruction and the U.S. economy from full-blown depression, adding 4.4 million private- sector jobs in the last 28 months— more than in eight years of George W. Bush’s administration.

»This is the president who strengthened laws demanding equal pay for equal work for women and has stood firm against the onslaught against a woman’s right to choose.

This is the president who ended the policy of “don’t ask don’t tell,” so that love of country, not love of another, determines one’s fitness to serve.

»This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, ended the Iraq war, signed a pact with Russia to cut nuclear arms and increased global pressure on Iran.

»This is the president who, when the bottom was falling out of almost every state’s budget, helped us support our public schools, keep firefighters and police officers, and provide for the folks hardest hit by the recession.

»This is the president who partnered with states to rebuild roads and bridges, expand broadband to left-out communities and construct high-speed rail.

»This is the president who has increased support for our warriors, their families and veterans, got automakers to agree to nearly double fuel standards and tightened restrictions on mercury.

»This is the president who has cut taxes for small businesses and middle-class families , saving a typical family $3,600 over his term.

I could easily go on. The president’s record is even more impressive when you consider that he has governed in the face of Republican leaders who openly declare that unseating him (by denying him legislative victories) is their top priority.

I also appreciate this president’s vision— a vision about putting the American dream within reach of everyone.

The president believes that to strengthen the economy and reduce the national debt, we need growth. That comes from investment, not from cuts.

Every business leader understands this. The president alone has offered a plan.

That plan emphasizes education to prepare us for the economy and society of tomorrow, innovation to seize the edge in growth opportunities, energy to secure our independence and fuel our growth, and infrastructure to create the platform for everything else. It’s a vision based on expanding opportunity to the middle class, not just the wellconnected.

I am also voting for this president because of his courage. Officeholders are often more focused on getting and keeping their jobs than doing them. They will sometimes avoid the right decisions if they’re unpopular.

This president has shown backbone. He stood up to Wall Street on regulatory reform to end the kind of risk-taking that plunged the economy into crisis. He stood up to his party loyalists on everything from elements of the Recovery Act to health care reform. He stood up to tea party extremists in Congress on women’s health issues, stem cell research, gutting Medicare and Social Security, and otherwise shredding the social safety net.

That’s why I am voting for Barack Obama.


a Democrat, has been governor of Massachusetts since 2007. Contact: www.devalpatrick .com

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