The Ankeny Activists
If you have never been to your political party’s local meetings, you should.
As I sat in on the Ankeny Area Democrats December meeting at the Wig and Pen, a local pizzeria and bar, one phrase continued to run through my mind – these are 25 of the coolest people I have ever met. The group was founded in 2004, the first of its kind to represent a specific city in the Des Moines area and the progressive values they all share. They also function as a PAC, donating money to local candidates they support.
The meeting began with a call to order, followed promptly by a series of jokes at Ben Carson’s expense. After that Ben Foecke, the Iowa Democratic Party’s Executive Director, was invited to speak. Most of the meeting was focused around planning for the group’s upcoming January Winter Banquet. The group, all of whom are Ankeny residents, will all pitch in to help. Some are volunteering to cook the ham, potatoes, and other food, and others will set up and tear down the event. It was very clear their primary concern for the evening is to raise as much money as possible in order to help as many candidates as possible. I’ve been a part of my fair share of groups trying to raise money for a cause, but none cared as much as this group did.
That’s what struck me most about the Ankeny Area Dems. They care. And from what I can tell, a lot of other local party groups do as well. The local party members are the activists that volunteer, go door knocking, stuff envelopes, make calls, and ultimately show up at their local caucus site. These are the people that actually make the caucus system different from the primary. The people who tirelessly work to have their values represented in the elections long before election day. What really impressed me as well was just how long some of the members were involved for. Ray had been active since 1976! I’m sure Iowa isn’t the only place with these types of activists, but there sure seems to be a lot around here.
Ryan Tunink is a sophomore political science and law, politics, and society major from Waukee, Iowa. He enjoys running on the Drake cross country team and binging on Netflix. Follow him on Twitter.