Iowa women urged to Step Up!

CATEGORIES: September 2017, Voices

A new, statewide initiative to help more women become politically engaged is bringing a training seminar to cities in Iowa this fall.

Step Up! – developed by 50-50 in 2020 – will be held Friday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rendezvous, 3127 Lucas St. in Muscatine and Saturday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Red Coach Inn, 1200 Senate Ave. in Red Oak. The first workshop was held on Oct. 13 in Charles City.

The Step Up! seminars, which target locally elected women, offer training that helps them lay the groundwork for a successful campaign for the state legislature. Each seminar will include presentations by experienced political candidates and campaign staff who will share their advice and best practices with seminar participants.

Participants of the Muscatine program will hear presentations by Scott County state Rep. Cindy Winckler, Johnson County Rep. Amy Nielsen, Linn County Rep. Ashley Hinson, former state Rep. Sally Stutsman of Johnson County and Solon City Council member Lauren Whitehead. Valerie Hennings, Morningside College political science professor will speak during the program.

The Red Oak program will feature Hennings and Jean Lloyd-Jones, co-chair of 50-50 in 2020. The program will discuss topics including pathways to public office, a typical day in the life of a legislator, how to manage a family and/or another career while serving in the legislature and how to run a successful campaign.

The Charles City program featured state Sen. Amanda Ragan of Mason City and state Rep. Jane Bloomingdale of Northwood as panelists.

Seminar registrants will learn how to build a local network, raise personal visibility, use social media strategically, hone public speaking skills and polish their public appearance. They also are instructed on finding a mentor, connecting with party leaders, filing campaign paperwork, and complying with finance and ethics rules. A $30 fee covers the cost of lunch and the seminar notebook.

To register, visit

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University is a co-sponsor of Step Up!

“We are pleased to partner with 50-50 in 2020 to bring campaign training workshops to communities outside the Des Moines metro area, particularly for those citizens who are not able to travel to Ames or the state capital for our existing programs,” said Dianne Bystrom, director of the Catt Center. The Catt Center sponsors Ready to Run Iowa: Campaign Training for Women in Ames every other year, with the next workshops planned for spring 2019.

Future opportunities for campaign training also include 50-50 in 2020’s Blueprint for Winning Academy and See Yourself Here. The next Blueprint for Winning Academy will be held Jan. 18-20, 2018, in Des Moines. The biennial three-day academy provides potential women candidates with in-depth training presented by national and Midwest experts in communication and campaign practices. See Yourself Here is a two-day event held at the state Capitol each spring where women interested in learning more about serving in the Iowa Legislature can get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of Iowa politics.

Established in 2010, 50-50 in 2020 is a nonpartisan, issue-neutral, not-for-profit organization working to help Iowa women from all political parties be successful candidates for state-level office. 50-50 in 2020 is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates.