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  • Winter 2017 Newsletter

  • Vote Smart organization to move headquarters to Des Moines

    Vote Smart organization to move headquarters to Des Moines  

    Drake University will soon be home to one of the world’s leading sources of nonpartisan political information. Vote Smart, formerly known as Project Vote Smart, will move its operation from a secluded ranch in Montana to a university-owned office space adjacent to Drake’s campus in Des Moines early next year. The move will bring 23 full-time jobs to the city and generate as many as 70 year-round internship opportunities for students at Drake and other local colleges and universities, the university said in a release. Drake expects the partnership to generate internship opportunities for students in areas traditionally associated with politics, including political science, strategic political communications, sociology and rhetoric, but also in fields like data analytics, computer science and graphic design, which help the organization to analyze and visualize information. Representatives from Iowa State University, Grand View University, and Des Moines Area Community College have also expressed an interest in offering Vote Smart internships to their students.

  • Co-founder of 50-50 in 2020 Maggie Tinsman talks about the excitement of Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds becoming Iowa’s next Governor

    Co-founder of 50-50 in 2020 Maggie Tinsman talks about the excitement of Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds becoming Iowa’s next Governor


  • 50-50 in 2020 featured on IPTV’s Iowa Press

    50-50 in 2020 representatives will be featured guests on this Friday’s “Iowa Press,” Iowa Public Television’s weekly political news show. Executive Director Mary Ellen Miller will be joined by 50-50 in 2020 board members Mary Rae Bragg and Melissa Gesing on the program which airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday (12/16/16) and  noon on Sunday (12/18/16). They will discuss the impact the recent election has on their organization’s efforts to recruit more Iowa women to run for public office.  Moderator Dean Borg will be joined by Radio Iowa reporter Kay Henderson and the Cedar Rapids Gazette political reporter James Lynch.


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 9, 2016

    Contact: 50-50 in 2020 Exec. Dir. Mary Ellen Miller 515-783-6390


    Women’s attempt to increase their presence in Iowa’s federal and state offices took a hit in Tuesday’s election, but it will serve only to strengthen our resolve to attain gender equity in state government, 50-50 in 2020 leaders said Wednesday.

    First reports indicate that of the record-setting 65 women running for Iowa’s state and federal offices Tuesday, more than 30 were successful.

    “The surge of Republican victories throughout the state was bound to effect women’s chances to make gains in public offices in Iowa as fewer Republican than Democrat women ran,” said 50-50 co-founder Maggie Tinsman, former Iowa State Senator from Bettendorf. “Because there are three times as many female Democrats as female Republican legislators in Iowa, we have long said more Republican women need to step up to the challenge of running for office.”

    “We are extremely proud of all the women who stepped forward to campaign in 2016,” said 50-50 co-founder and former Iowa City state Sen. Jean Lloyd-Jones. “We know that each one invested tremendous amounts of time, energy and passion in their quest for public office.

    “Whether or not they succeeded, we will be working with them in the months ahead as we continue to support their political ambitions, while encouraging other women to join them in office and on the campaign trail,” Lloyd-Jones said.

    50-50 in 2020 was founded in 2010 as a bipartisan, issue-neutral organization working to help women from all political parties and parts of the state to run for office. It is the only such group in America and is not a political action committee, nor does it endorse candidates. While women currently make up just over half of Iowa’s electorate, they hold just 23 percent of seats in the General Assembly.

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  • Join us Sept. 20: Panel discussion: Women Making a Difference in Metro Des Moines

    Sept. 20: Panel discussion: Women Making a Difference in Metro Des Moines
    Host: League of Women Voters Metro Des Moines
    About: While 2016 marks the first woman nominated by a major political party for U.S. presidency, there is more to be done toward gender equity in Iowa politics. Through this panel discussion, the League hopes to encourage women to consider public service. Panelists include Marti Anderson, District 36 state representative; Angela Connolly, Polk County supervisor; Chris Hensley, Des Moines city councilwoman; Ruth Randleman, Carlisle mayor; and Bridget Montgomery, Urbandale Planning and Zoning Commission member.
    When: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
    Where: West Des Moines Marriott, 1250 Jordan Creek Pkwy.
  • REGISTER NOW for 2016 Equity for Women Awards Reception


    WHAT: 50/50 in 2020 Equity for Women Award ReceptionSister Catherine

    Every year, 50-50 in 2020 honors a woman (or women) who embody the spirit of political or societal equity. This year, we are pleased to honor Sister Catherine Dunn, President Emerita of Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. Sister Catherine was picked to receive this honor because she embodies the spirit of the award and has been a trailblazing leader at Clarke University.

    WHEN: Thursday, September 29th, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

    WHERE: Grand River Center, 500 Bell Street, Dubuque, IA

    Hotel Information: The 50-50 in 2020 Board of Directors is staying at the Grand Harbor Resort & Waterpark Hotel which is connected to the Grand River Event Center where the reception will be held.

    Sponsorship and Ticket Information:

    • $5,000 U.S. Senate Level (10 reception reservations)
    • $2,500 U.S. House Level (8 reception reservations)
    • $1,000 IA Governor Level (6 reception reservations)

    Sponsors will be listed on the invitation, event program and receive recognition at the reception.


    • $500 IA Senate Level (4 reception reservations)
    • $250 IA House Level (2 reception reservations)

    Hosts will be listed on the invitation and the event program.

    Individual Tickets: 

    • $100 each


    2016 Honoree Catherine Dunn, BVM, Ph,D.

    About Sister Catherine Dunn:

    In addition to her achievements as Clarke president, serving in that capacity from 1984 to 2006, Sister Catherine is also recognized as a leader in both local and statewide civic projects.

    Appointed to the Iowa Transportation Commission by Gov. Terry Branstad in 1989, in 1994 she became the first woman to chair the commission in its 81-year history, leading the group in six of the 12 years she served on it. In 2000, Gov. Tom Vilsack presented Dunn with a special Governor’s Volunteer Award for her years of service to the Department of Transportation.

    At Clarke, Dunn was just 111 days into her tenure as president when on May 17, 1984, a disastrous fire destroyed three of the campus’ historic buildings. Marshaling both campus and community providers, she oversaw the rebuilding and subsequent growth in the school’s enrollment, programs and facilities. In recognition of her outstanding leadership, she was awarded silver and bronze medals by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

    As president emerita, Dunn continues to work for Clarke as major gift officer in the university’s development office.

    As a woman religious in the Roman Catholic Church, in 2005 Dunn received the Vatican’s Papal Medal for her outstanding service to the church and education community.

    Locally, Dunn was honored as the Dubuque Telegraph Herald’s Citizen of the Year in 1986 and was recipient of the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce 1993 Distinguished Civic Service Award for her involvement in humanitarian, governmental, cultural and philanthropic activities.

    Sister Dunn has served on the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, the Board of Directors for the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors for American Trust & Savings Bank.

    Earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, Dunn has honorary degrees from Clarke, Loras College, Mount S. Clare College, St. Ambrose University and the University of Dubuque. She is a recipient of the “Elite Who’s Who Among Outstanding Women Executives” Award.

    Dunn served on the Washington, D.C.-based boards of directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities executive committee, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and Council of Independent Colleges. She also served on the Iowa College Foundation and the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.



  • Full Listing of 2016 Candidates & Legislators

    The following list documents all female legislators and candidates in Iowa as of August 22, 2016

    *blue highlights are 50-50 in 2020 program participants

    Non-Incumbents IA House = 28 November Opponent
    Alarcon-Flory Perla Dem HD6 Sioux City Jim Carlin 
    Bloomingdale Jane Rep HD 51 Worth County + Tim Hejhal
    Celsi Claire Dem HD 42 West Des Moines Peter Cownie
    Childs-Smith Sondra Rep HD 45 Story County Beth Wessel-Kroeschell
    Creason Jan Dem HD 17 Hamilton County Matt Windschiti
    Denison Paula Dem HD 75 Benton County Dawn Pettengill
    Donahue Molly Dem HD 68 Cedar Rapids Ken Rizer
    Duncan Deb Dem HD 47 Boone County + Chip Baltimore
    Duncan Carrie Dem HD 84 Henry County David Heaton
    Eldrenkamp Jeannine Rep HD 98 Clinton County Mary Wolfe
    Franklin Mickie Dem HD 49 Nevada Dave Deyoe
    Fritz Doris Dem HD 49 Butler County + Pat Grassley
    Fry Jocelyn Lib HD 35 Des Moines Ako Abdul-Samad
    Hager Kristi Rep HD 56 Waukon Patti Ruff
    Hinson Ashley Rep HD 67 Linn County Mark Seidl
    Hoveland Barbara Rep HD 53 Cerro Gordo County Sharon Steckman
    Huddleston Sara Dem HD 11 Buena Vista Co Gary Worthan
    Huisinga Nancy Paule Dem HD 08 Clarion Terry Baxter
    Kean Jessica Dem HD 58 Jackson Co Andy McKean
    Konfrst Jennifer Dem HD 43 Windsor Heights Chris Hagenow
    Lundgren Shannon Rep HD 57 Dubuque Tom Stecher
    Matson Heather Dem HD 38 Ankeny Kevin Koester 
    Meyer Theresa Dem HD 63 Blackhawk County + Sandy Salmon
    Morris Maridith Dem HD 39 Johnston  Jake Highfill 
    Nielsen Amy Dem HD 77 Johnson County Royce Phillips
    Phillips Andrea Dem HD 37 Ankeny John Landon
    Stokes Stacie Rep HD 52 Floyd County + Todd Prichard
    Taha Sherrie Dem HD 48 Story County + Robert Bacon 
    Incumbents IA House = 22
    Anderson Marti Dem HD 36 Des Moines Scott Miller
    Bennett Liz Dem HD 65 Linn County Harry Foster
    Brown-Powers Timi Dem HD 61 Black Hawk County no opponent
    Finkenauer Abby Dem HD 99 Dubuque County no opponent
    Gaines Ruth Ann Dem HD 32 Des Moines no opponent
    Gaskill Mary Dem HD 81 Wapello County no opponent
    Hanusa Mary Ann Rep HD 16 Pottawattamie County no opponent
    Heddens Lisa Dem HD 46 Story County no opponent
    Jones Megan Hess Rep HD 2 Clay County no opponent
    Lensing Vicki Dem HD 85 Johnson County no opponent
    Mascher Mary Dem HD 86 Johnson County no opponent
    Miller Helen Dem HD 9 Webster County Gary Waechter
    Pettingill Dawn Rep HD 75 Benton County Paula G. Denison
    Ruff Patti Dem HD 56 Clayton County Kristi Hager
    Running-Marquardt Kirstin Dem HD 69 Linn County no opponent
    Salmon Sandy Rep HD 63 Black Hawk County Teresa L. Meyer
    Steckman Sharon Dem HD 53 Cerro Gordo County Barbara Hovland
    Thede Phyllis Dem HD 93 Scott County Kurt Whalen
    Upmeyer Linda Rep HD 54 Cerro Gordo County no opponent
    Wessel-Kroeschell Beth Dem HD45 Story County Sondra Childs-Smith
    Winckler Cindy Dem HD 90 Scott County no opponent
    Wolfe Mary Dem HD 98 Clinton County Jeannine Eldrenkamp
    Non-Incumbents IA Senate = 6
    Bangert Susan Dem SD 4 Algona Dennis Guth
    Gadelha Renee Rep SD 34 Linn County Liz Mathis
    Hiekes Jan Dem SD 28 Decorah Michael Breitbach
    Hikiji Miyoko Dem SD 20 Urbandale Brad Zaun
    Sadler Bonnie Rep SD30 Blackhawk Jeff Danielson
    Smith Ruth Ind SD 14 Wayne Count + Amy Sinclair
    Incumbents IA Senate = 5
    Jochum Pam Dem SD 50 Dubuque County John Hulsizer Jr.
    Mathis Liz Dem SD 34 Linn County Renee Gadelha
    Petersen Janet Dem SD 18 Polk County no opponent
    Sinclair Amy Rep SD 14 Wayne County no opponent
    Wilhelm Mary Jo Dem SD 26 Howard County Wayne Brown
    Non-Incumbents U.S. Congress = 4
    Addy Claudia Ind US House 3 Des Moines David Young (I)
    Judge Patty Dem US Senate Albia Charles Grassley (I)
    Vernon Monica Dem US House 1 Cedar Rapids Rod Blum (I)
    Weaver Kim Dem US House 4 NW Iowa Steve King (I) 28, 861
    Holdover Incumbents  = 5
    Hart Rita Dem SD 49 Clinton County
    Ragan Amanda Dem SD 27 Carro Gordo County
    Mossiman Mary Rep State  Auditor
    Reynolds Kim Rep State Lt. Governor
    Ernst Joni Rep State U.S. Senate
    Incumbents Not Running Again = 4
    Berry Deborah Dem HD  62 Blackhawk
    Dunkel Nancy Dem HD 57 Dubuque
    Miller Linda Rep HD 94 Scott
    Stutsman Sally Dem HD 77 Johnson
    Non-Incumbents Totals:   28 House, 6 Senate, 4 Congress  = 38
    Incumbent Totals:  22 House, 5 Senate = 27
    Total women running in November 2016  for state level offices:  65
    (per SOS office August 20, 2016)
    *blue highlights are 50-50 in 2020 program participants


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE50-50 in 2020 logo
    July 26, 2016
    Contact: 50-50 in 2020
    Exec. Dir. Mary Ellen Miller 515-783-6390

    For a complete list of women running on the Iowa ballot, click here.

    This November’s election in Iowa will be a milestone to celebrate regardless of who wins, according to 50-50 in 2020, the state-wide initiative to help elect more Iowa women to office.

    For the first time in history, voters will have an opportunity to vote for women on every level of the state ballot.

    Leaders of 50-50 in 2020, whose goal is to elect more women to Iowa’s Legislature, congressional offices and governor’s office, say that having women contend at every level sends a message to women throughout Iowa.

    “For nearly 100 years, since women in America got the right to vote, female candidates have been the exception,” said Jean Lloyd-Jones, 50-50 co-founder and former state senator from Iowa City. “But in November not only will there be a woman running for president, Iowans will see a woman running for U.S. Senate, women running for U.S. House in two of the state’s four congressional districts and 58 women running for office in the Iowa House and Senate.”

    Public acceptance of women running for office in Iowa is growing, contends Maggie Tinsman, 50-50 cofounder and former Iowa State senator from Bettendorf.

    “Our job is nowhere near complete,” Tinsman said, acknowledging that even if all 59 legislative candidates were to win they would not be enough to balance the gender gap in Iowa’s 150-member General Assembly. “But the more females seen running for top-of-the-ballot office, the easier it becomes for people to see women as contenders, beginning with themselves.”

    “Studies show that having more women involved in decision-making brings better problem-solving and better results – something we all want to see in our government as well as in society in general,” Tinsman said.

    Established in 2010, 50-50 in 2020 is an issue-neutral, not-for-profit organization working to help women from all political parties and parts of the state to run for office. It is the only bipartisan, issue-neutral group in America working for election of women to political office. It is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates.

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    For a complete list of women running on the Iowa ballot for November 2016, click here.