The families of public employees, the labor movement, and the hardworking citizens of Iowa lost a battle today, which was a foregone conclusion. It was a cheap shot, sucker punch of a move by an unchecked GOP legislature and governor that was so quickly introduced and passed that the true purposes, costs, and effects will take some time to come to light. When they do I am confident most Iowans will find the action destructive, divisive, and disrespectful.
What was equally quick was the amazing response from thousands of Iowans who stood up for their fellow citizens. In just five days an amazing protest and march at the State Capitol was organized. On the day of the first public hearings on the bill thousands packed the capitol rotunda and voiced their opposition. For three days Democratic Representatives and Senators witnessed the litany of wrongs that this bill brought upon the public servants of the state, their families, and the very Iowans they serve.
I was there for much of it. I was proud to bring my school aged sons to the rally Sunday where they heard Nate Boulton, Ako Abdul-Samad, Tammy Wawrow, and TJ Foley. I stood in line Monday night for over 30 minutes to get into a State Capitol building that was standing room only. I found friends, colleagues, and legislators, among the police, firefighters, social workers, corrections officers, DOT workers and so many more. They are heroes.
All through this process our brothers and sisters in the labor movement from the I.B.E.W, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, UAW, IPOA, Steelworkers, and so many more were there. Many of them not were not directly impacted by this bill, but correctly recognized fellow union members under attack and loyally stood alongside them. They are heroes.
Senators Rob Hogg, Janet Petersen, Nate Boulton, Matt McCoy and so many other House and Senate Democrats were on hand daily to speak with those most affected and valiantly waged three days of debate including an all night session last night that only ended when the Republicans finally lost patience and closed debate. They are heroes.
Thousands of Iowans found time to email, call, and register their opposition to the bill. They amplified the voices of their neighbors, co-workers, and fellow citizens. They demonstrated what the action of democracy is and they are heroes.
Ultimately those that claim to represent us Iowans didn’t listen to our pleas, but they surely did hear us. And as the wobbly march of democracy goes on this chorus of heroes will grow louder. Make no mistake, the lessons learned in Iowa this February will not be forgotten.
Thank-you friends. You are my heroes.