It was a near record 95 degrees in Des Moines on Saturday afternoon, but hundreds of Iowans showed up in the capital to protest Gov. Terry Branstad's agenda of deregulation and reducing taxes on corporations and the wealthy while simultaneously cutting services for everyone else. The protestors blocked Grand Avenue for a rally, then marched up the hill after the rally up to the Governor's Mansion.Many of the attendees were members of labor groups like the AFL-CIO and Iowa State Education Association and did not mince words about which side they stood on.
"The choice is really pretty clear for the governor -- (he) can stand up for the children and provide services and schools for the 20 percent of Iowa's children living in poverty, or he can continue to stand with the large corporations and factory farmers. I know (local) teachers are going to continue to stand for our kids. Gov. Branstad, it's time to put our kids first," Andrew Rasmussen, of the Des Moines Education Association, said.When the marchers reached the Governor's Mansion, they were told that Gov. Branstad was at a governors conference in Salt Lake City. They passed a letter with 400 signatures to an Iowa State Patrol officer listing their demands: a more just and democratic Iowa, an economy that works for everybody and public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters.The connection with Wisconsin was clear in the minds of many protestors.
"That was awesome. I knew there was a heat advisory but I love Iowa,” Iowa native and Des Moines resident Julia Williams said after the demonstration in front of Terrace Hill. “The ’80s called Terry, they want you back!”
Williams, a retired postal worker and union member said she braved all types of weather — rain, heat, wind and ice — to unload the mail trucks and today is no different. She even ignored the icy, chilly conditions last winter when she marched for bargaining rights during the demonstrations in Wisconsin.