John's Remarks at the IDP Fall Gala

Remarks by John Norris
Monday, November 27, 2017
Iowa Democratic Party Fall Gala
Des Moines, IA

As Prepared for Delivery:

Thank You

A special thanks to my family – My sons Hunter, Cole and Sam, my wife Jackie and my mom Patsy.  They have been so supportive of me and Jackie so strong.

Through her strength and our love I am confident my sons will help lead a generation where women are treated with respect.  With all that is going on in politics and life today – they give me hope.

I love my dad and my mom even though I come from a split family.  Mom was with Hillary, Dad with Bernie.

I lost my dad this year.  He never had wealth but he taught me what it means to lead a rich life.

Be grateful for what you have and fight for those less fortunate.  The wealthy, they will be just fine.

But greed, greed really made him angry.  It makes me angry too.

And, greed has its grip on our government today.

This election is about contesting for power against the wealthy special interests and corporate lobbyists who control our government.

Kim Reynolds is turning our Iowa, the Heartland of America into the Land of the Heartless.  She cuts taxes for the wealthy and empowers those who do politics for profit over the care of our most vulnerable citizens.

While I have marched with some of our greatest leaders – Harkin, Wellstone, Jackson, Chavez – Hubert Humphrey perhaps said it best:  The moral test of a government is what that government does for those in the dawn of life, our children, those in the twilight of life, our elderly and the shadows of life, our sick, needy and disabled.

We are failing that test today!

We are at our best when we care for our people, all people, first.

Care for those suffering from mental illness must be a top priority and we must end the privatization of Medicaid.

Half our babies are born into poverty and we must break the cycle of poverty.  We must fund our schools to meet today’s challenges with early life skills and resiliency education on the front end and then job skills for a better future.  We must raise wages, protect worker’s rights, expand quality day care, make pay equity for women a reality and see providing opportunity to our new immigrants as all our opportunity.

Debt is crushing our college graduates. Instead of tax cuts for wealthy corporations let’s provide tax credits for student loans and encourage them to stay and work in Iowa.

Let’s unleash creativity in rural counties by empowering them to utilize the 100s of millions of dollars in wind farm tax revenues to rebuild their future.  

We will deliver high speed internet across all of Iowa to help small businesses, continue the growth of renewable energy and take action to help our farms be profitable without the degradation of our environment.

We must expand opportunities for all Iowans. It’s not about a rural/urban divide.  It’s about a have and have not divide. But, I do have a passion for rural Iowa.  We will not win as Democrats but more importantly we will not thrive as a state if we leave rural Iowa behind.

As your Chair I led our Party to victory after 32 years of Republican control.  I was honored to serve as Governor Vilsack’s chief of staff where I helped clean up the first Branstad mess and I am ready to clean up the next.

I have never done politics for profit but I can spot those who seek to control our government for profit and greed, as your governor – their days will be over.

Through all of my life experiences I have remained committed to economic and social justice.  I will fight for every Iowan in every community and I will end everyday as your governor asking, have we done all we can for those who depend upon us, as Democrats, to fight for them.  I ask you to join our fight.

Our campaign is not about purchasing you high priced table seats at the Gala.  It’s is about providing a seat at the table of our government for everyone, especially those who have been shut out.  Join us, sign up at and let’s get to work.