DES MOINES — Just moments after Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate wrapped in Des Moines, Rep. Lindsay James entered CNN’s spin room to officially field questions on behalf of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign.
James, who endorsed Warren in September, was one of a three-member team supporting the progressive U.S. senator from Massachusetts. She joined former presidential candidate Julian Castro and longtime Iowa Democratic operative John Norris in the crowd of hundreds of journalists backstage.
The freshman Iowa lawmaker didn’t draw the clattering mob of cameras and reporters that Castro did. But she and Norris talked to many reporters based all over Iowa and elsewhere who wanted their localized perspective.
“It’s amazing the traction Elizabeth Warren gets with many of my constituents because she has a plan for all of it,” James told one crew.
“In Iowa, it’s all about knocking doors and reaching the people,” she told another. “That’s what we’re good at and Sen. Warren is great at. We’re going to follow her lead.”
During the debate, Warren spoke directly to an issue James has targeted during her first year and change at the state Capitol — the lack of access to affordable child care.
Warren promised to use revenue from a proposed 2-cent wealth tax to fully fund child care for all but the wealthiest U.S. residents. She promised to increase salaries for child care workers as well.
“Part of what we see about child care is a two-fold issue — it’s accessibility and affordability,” James said. “She does a phenomenal job of pointing out and addressing ways to take care of those particular issues and does it in a way that names the realities that often women are facing, which are demands in both of those places.”
James said the child care crisis must be solved to stop economic and personal problems for her constituents.
“If we don’t begin to address them, then we’re going to continue to have workforce issues, but we’re going to also have women who need and want to work not doing what they’re are passionate about and have a calling toward,” she said. “(Warren) nailed that tonight.”
Warren’s communications director in Iowa, Jason Noble, wouldn’t say what made James stand above the more than a dozen other Iowa lawmakers who have endorsed Warren so far to get the spot on the spin team. But he said the campaign is grateful for her support.
“She’s a great advocate for her constituents and a great ally in the fight for big, structural change to level the playing field for working people,” he said.
Iowa Rep. Andy McKean, D-Anamosa, also attended Tuesday’s debate. He has endorsed U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s bid for the Democratic nomination.
He said Klobuchar, of Minnesota, impressed him again in the debate, being “practical, level-headed and realistic, the kind of person who could bring the nation together.”
In particular, he appreciated her stance on health care.
“Her position on health care struck a responsive chord with most Iowans,” McKean said. “This election is going to be won or lost in the Midwest. I still think she has not only the credentials here, but the mindset that could win people over.”
Iowa’s Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley presided over the Senate on Thursday in his role as the chamber’s president pro tem.
In so doing, he headed the body as it accepted articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump from the U.S. House of Representatives. He also swore in Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over Trump’s trial.
Trump has been impeached on suspicion of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. If two thirds of the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate vote to convict Trump, also a Republican, he will be removed from office.
Durbin talks China with Branstad
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, met with U.S. Ambassador to China and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad this week to discuss the phase one trade deal with China, according to a release.
“As Ambassador Branstad certainly knows, uncertainty is one of the worst enemies to a farmer,” Durbin said. “I agree that China must be held to account for unfair practices. But the president’s unpredictable trade war has done serious harm to farmers, and it’s time to give them the certainty they need to rebound from an incredibly difficult 2019. I appreciated Ambassador Branstad’s commitment to helping our farmers succeed.”
Baldwin plots future professions
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., joined a bipartisan group to introduce the Industries of the Future Act this week.
According to a release, the bill would advance U.S. global leadership in artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, quantum information science, synthetic biology and next-generation wireless networks and infrastructure.
“I want Wisconsin workers and businesses to be global leaders in developing the next generation of infrastructure, technology and advanced manufacturing,” Baldwin said in the release. “We must ensure that our investments into research and development today produce economic growth and job creation in the future. Our bipartisan legislation will support strong investments that will boost new, emerging industries and drive our nation’s workforce into the future.”
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller endorsed former vice president and fellow Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign last week. This is Miller’s second endorsement. He previously backed Montana Gov. Steve Bullock before his exit from the field late last year.
10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, University of Dubuque Myers Center, 445 N. Algona St. — Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg will again hold a town hall in Dubuque as he continues his presidential campaign.