Greetings and Happy Easter!

Last night I attended a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch. As a New Yorker, fresh from the cutthroat political forays of a very mature, very wealthy, and very “old family” kind of atmosphere, I found the vibe of this event to be so wonderfully refreshing. It was about the issues, the people, the giving and the food. By the way, my appetizers for this event were a smash hit! You can read more about those here.

Most importantly, it was about getting Jack in office by keeping it real. The women were real, the men were real, everyone was polite and honest. There was no insulting, name calling, or aggressive scandalous banter about Jack’s opponent, Terry Branstad. There was just the sad truth of the issues – Branstad has had 20 years of power, and in that has given too many favors out to those who would not help the Iowan succeed. Women for Hatch agree its time to do some spring cleaning in state administration and we’re starting with the governor’s office.

Jack Hatch is about women. Women’s rights and women in politics. He has announced that 50% of his directors, when appointed to governor, will be women. He supports increasing the minimum wage, encouraging growth in small business, investing in teachers, and creating affordable health care for all, among many other great things. If you haven’t checked him out, you should. He’s a great candidate that I fully support and would be a welcome reprieve from the 20 years of Branstad governing this state has survived. Details of why you should vote for Jack can be found at Hatch for Governor.

Back to the party. This state is truly remarkable. As a political scientist, I’ve studied the campaign system, election cycle, caucuses, etc. but I’ve never had the opportunity to attend anything but a town hall meeting or other very open and public event. Even when things are open in New York, they fill up quickly. This state boasts a smaller population with with ten times the political fervor and participation of New York. I’ve been here 3 months. I was already invited to a fundraiser and I’m going to help Cynthia Paschen who is running for Iowa State Senate promote her campaign by putting up lawn signs. In New York, I applied to countless internships, and even called up politicians to ask how I can support their campaign. The only option I was ever given was to front money. As a college student, money was not an option. The only politician that would meet with me was the then Senator, Hillary Clinton, and even then I had to track her down at a upstate New York promotion she was holding at my undergraduate college and wait in a line for two hours to shake her hand and have 5 seconds to say something. Introductions would have been a waste of time.

Its not her fault. Its the name of the game in New York. Politics is such an old business there that your name has to be Rockefeller or Kennedy or you have to have millions of dollars to get somewhere. Politics is old in Iowa too, but its cleaner, nicer, more polite, and full of opportunities. Take for example, a man I met from Jack’s team last night. He has 600 times the experience I have and he’s 2 years younger than me. Iowa provides opportunities – even D.C. opportunities (of which the finance manager has) that I would never have had when I was 1 of 300 bajillion other aspiring hopefuls from a nameless family in the poorest county in the state.

I’ve fallen in love with Iowa, its countryside, its people, and its politics. I’m looking forward to November, the caucuses, and voting in a state where politics is not a dirty business, it is respected, celebrated, and participated in by many. Where a thriving purple zone shows the true friendly competition of a diversity of views. This is one of the few states left where the race isn’t won in the primary folks, its still won in November and I myself am looking forward to that!

That’s all she wrote, folks!