I was in Carey’s Electronics shop in downtown Spencer yesterday. As we concluded our business, the subject of kids, his kids, their health, and safety came up. I was curious to see where the conversation would go.
“To get a driver’s license, I needed to pass a test,” said the man behind the counter. “To own a car, I must have insurance. If I don’t wear my seatbelt, I can get a $275 ticket.
“But my 18-year-old son can go down the street and buy an assault rifle, no questions asked. This is just insane!”
And at that moment, in this reddish, northwest corner of Iowa, I came to believe that the slaughter of children in Texas, the lack of police response, and the ridiculous reaction from the GOP (it’s the school door’s fault, said Ted Cruz), is different. Check out Iowa Startling Line’s report from a Grassley Town Hall and the audience reaction to his answers: https://iowastartingline.com/2022/06/02/anger-on-gun-violence-boils-over-at-grassley-town-hall/
Vice Admiral Michael Franken was in Spencer for a meet-and-greet held at the local library. He is running in the Democratic primary (June 7) to face U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley in November.
Organizers had set the room for just a handful of people. It was the first gorgeous day of the year, so folks would be forgiven for not showing up for a political event. But they did. It was standing-room-only.
As my pal Chuck Offenburger reported in his Franken endorsement column last week, the candidate is relaxed, engaged, sometimes funny, and answers every question with depth, specificity, and authenticity. The crowd applauded his answers on guns, codifying Roe; health care; farming; eminent domain pipeline concerns, Ukraine war, immigration, and Social Security. One approached him privately about her son who served under his command.
Retired teacher Jan Myers and her friend Jacqueline Johnson had heard Franken speak in Storm Lake a few weeks earlier. They became excited about his candidacy and swung into action to introduce their friends to Franken. They made signs, went door to door, and posted about the event on their Facebook pages. There’s no paid campaign field staff there. This reaction popped up organically, and it’s happening around the state. This feels like a movement.
Deadly shootings are happening so fast, that it’s hard to keep track. Wednesday a gunman killed his surgeon and three other people in Tulsa. Yesterday, people were shot at a cemetery near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
And as Franken was talking about gun safety LAST NIGHT, two women in a fundamentalist church parking lot in Ames, IA, were killed. The shooter was under a no-contact order and should not have been allowed to purchase guns and ammunition had Red Flag laws been implemented.
These simple, obvious, common-sense, gun reforms are such no-brainers for almost everyone, EXCEPT, those who profit from gun sales or the campaign contributions those manufacturers make.
Franken and the crowd fueled one another last night. It feels different. This time, Chuck Grassley could be retired.
Our Monday Zoom Lunch Guest will be State Senator Jackie Smith of Sioux City. Let’s find out together what it’s like to be Jackie. She flipped her seat from red to blue and now faces a tough re-election bid. Let’s have her take us behind the scenes of the Iowa Senate and find out what happened this last session.
The Monday Zoom Lunch sessions are available to paid subscribers, who will receive a link to the Zoom call. We ask that the link not be shared. All proceeds fund scholarships for the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat. If you know of a science/climate writer, a working journalist, someone with a dynamite memoir, or who has a book they’d like to write, please have them contact us: www.okobojiwritersretreat.com
Monday Zoom Lunch Schedule:
June 6: Senator Jackie Smith
June 13: Laura Belin
June 20: Ambassador Ken Quinn
June 27: Ambassador and longest-serving Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
We’d love to have you join the call: