Citizen lobbyists reshaping the way business is done at the statehouse

Small groups of everyday people can have a bigger impact that pin-stripe suited lobbyists when we take organized action together

Four weeks into the 2013 legislation session and small groups of CCI members just like you and me are changing the way politics is done in Iowa – proving the power that everyday people have to influence the public debate when we organize collectively and go toe-to-toe with the pin-strip suited lobbyists and big money corporate interest groups.

During the week February 4-8, CCI members from Ames, Des Moines, Grinnell, Huxley, Pleasant Hill, and Winterset joined us at the statehouse on two consecutive days and together we stood up and spoke out in key House and Senate subcommittee meetings for budget, economic development, ethics, and environmental policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits.

This is the third week in a row we’ve tried this innovative tactic – mobilizing CCI members to the statehouse to mix it up with the paid lobbyists during key legislative debates – and it’s working (read more examples here).

We don’t always have to bring 50, 100, 200 or 500 people to the capitol every time we visit.  When it comes to the nitty-gritty of the day-to-day grind, bringing just 2-3 “citizen lobbyists” to testify at key times on the issues that matter most can tip the scales in ways that favor the concerns of everyday people and hardworking families over big-moneyed corporate interests.

“We made a big ‘put people first’ impact today framing the debate,” Brenda Brink of Huxley said as we were leaving the capitol after a day of testifying at subcommittee meetings.  “They may have the money, but we have the real people with the real stories.”

Brenda attended a House Ways and Means subcommittee meeting and told Representative Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) that she didn’t want another tax cut if it meant throwing away our $800 million budget surplus rather than reinvesting in the critical public services that have faced cuts in recent years like education, environmental protections, health-care, and workforce development.

“While it  would be nice to have a one-time check, I would rather have clean water in my state,” Kenn Bowen of West Des Moines testified. “I want to be able to take my grandchildren swimming without having to see a sign that says ‘enter at your own risk.’ ”

Because of the hard work of members like you, we are beating back bad policy, gaining earned media on our issues, educating the legislature and the public on what matters most, and advancing our worldview of what a more just and democratic Iowa looks like.

Let’s keep it up.  To join our citizen lobby team, contact CCI staff at 515.282.0484 or

Read more:

January 23 – one day, five issues, a dozen CCI citizen lobbyists in full effect

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