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Drawn Out: How Iowa Got Redistricting Right, hosted by The Harkin Institute...

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First Amendment Lounge, National Press Club

529 14th Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20045

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In 1971, Jean Lloyd-Jones and the Iowa League of Women Voters joined other organizations in challenging Iowa’s redistricting plan, arguing it placed too much emphasis on protecting incumbents.

The Iowa Supreme Court ordered the state legislature to develop with a new plan, and in 1980, state lawmakers implemented what is now one of the most respected methods of redistricting today. At a time when policymakers across the country are struggling with how to draw representative boundaries, Iowa’s nonpartisan process for drawing Congressional and legislative districts has repeatedly been looked at as a model.

Learn more about Iowa’s redistricting process, its history and how it has risen to prominence during Drawn Out: How Iowa Got Redistricting Right, an event hosted by The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement and the Cook Political Report, at 2:30 p.m. on September 18, 2018, at the National Press Club.

Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report, will provide an update on the current state of redistricting across the country. Also on the panel are individuals who have played integral roles in drawing the state's district lines and establishing the Iowa model 38 years ago including Jean Lloyd-Jones, a named plaintiff in the legal challenge and then-president of the Iowa League of Women Voters.

Participants include:

  • Amy Walter, National Editor of the Cook Political Report

  • Jean Lloyd-Jones, President of the Iowa League of Women Voters when the organization challenged the state's redistricting plan

  • Ed Cook, attorney with the Iowa Legislative Services Agency who oversees the state’s redistricting process

  • Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa and longtime reporter covering the Iowa Statehouse

  • Joe O’Hern, former chief clerk of the Iowa House was responsible for research support for the initial legislation and involved in three of four redistricting plans done under the Iowa model.

  • David Yepsen, host of Iowa Press on IPTV and former political reporter for The Des Moines Register, where he covered government and politics for 34 years.

This panel discussion will take place from 2:30-4 p.m. in the First Amendment Lounge at the National Press Club. The event is open to the media and members of the public, and registration is required. Space is limited. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions.


Meet The Participants:

Amy Walter is the national editor of the Cook Political Report where she provides analysis of the issues, trends and events that shape the political environment. Her weekly column appears at cookpolitical.com. Over the past 19 years, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the former political director of ABC News. She is also a regular panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier and CBS' Face the Nation. She provides political analysis every Monday evening for the PBS NewsHour.

Jean Hall Lloyd-Jones, of Iowa City, began her career as a volunteer in local peace and civic activities, including Another Mother for Peace, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, vigils and teach-ins to protest the Vietnam war. A member of the League of Women Voters since 1955, she served as local and state president. In 1971 she led the League to join the ACLU, AFL-CIO, and the Democratic Party to petition the Supreme Court in the successful effort to overturn the reapportionment plan adopted by the state Legislature. In 1977, she chaired the Iowa Coordinating Committee for International Women's Year. She was elected to the Iowa General Assembly in 1978, serving four terms in the House and two terms in the Senate. As a state legislator, she and others formed a support group for women pages, which later became the Legislative Women's Caucus. She managed the "Buckle up Baby" bill, steered the government reorganization bill through the House, and led the effort to revitalize rail service through central Iowa. She conceived the idea for the Iowa Peace Institute, worked to build and fund that organization, and served as its chair for the first eight years. She is the only woman in Iowa to have been nominated by a major party for the US Senate. After retiring from the Legislature, she received an MA in Conflict Resolution from Antioch University. She has been a member of the Iowa Sister States Program for many years, traveling to China, Russia and Japan as a citizen ambassador.

Ed Cook is a Senior Legal Counsel with the Legal Services Division of the Legislative Services Agency and has been employed with the agency since 1992. Cook graduated from the University of Iowa law school in 1982, and served as an attorney in the U.S. Army and as a staff attorney with the Iowa Supreme Court prior to joining the Legislative Services Agency. He currently staffs the State Government and Veterans Affairs Committees and drafts legislation in the areas of public retirement, state government, gambling and alcohol regulation, veterans affairs, and redistricting. Cook was the lead attorney for the redistricting efforts of the Legislative Services Agency in 2001 and 2011.

Kay Henderson is the news director for Radio Iowa, a news network she helped tto found in 1987. Henderson grew up on the family farm near Lenox, Iowa, and paraded cattle in the show ring during her teenage years. (She still has the belt buckle and the 4-H badge to prove it.) During her years at Iowa State University, Henderson served as a statehouse correspondent for WOI-AM, the NPR affiliate in Ames. Between her freshman and sophomore years, she did a three-month, summertime “tour of duty” as the managing editor of the weekly newspaper in her hometown. You may recognize Henderson's mug from her Sunday television appearances. She’s a featured reporter and commentator on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press.” Henderson was the 2002 recipient of the Shelley Award.

Joe O’Hern has over 40 years of diverse experience working on local, state and federal issues. Joe worked within the Iowa Legislature for 20 of those years. He was the Democratic Caucus Research Staff Director when Iowa’s redistricting statute was enacted in 1980 and the first set of districts drawn under that statute were passed in 1981. O'Hern was also Chief Clerk for the Iowa House of Representatives in 1991 when the next redistricting process took place. In 2001 he was a member of the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission. In 1992, President Bill Clinton nominated O'Hern to serve as the Secretary’s Regional Representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Kansas City, Kansas. Following his work with HUD, O'Hern served as Director of the Iowa Fannie Mae Partnership Office, Executive Director of the Iowa Finance Authority, Flood Recovery and Reinvestment Director for the City of Cedar Rapids and most recently as a consultant to Cedar Rapids on housing issues. Throughout his career he has experienced the impact redistricting can have on implementing critical programs at the community level. Joe is a graduate of Princeton University and a recipient of the Kay Anderson Friend of Iowa Award. He currently lives in Johnston, Iowa, with his wife Lynn.

David Yepsen is the host of Iowa Public Television’s weekly “Iowa Press” public affairs program. Prior to that, he served as director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale from 2009 to 2016. He also had a 34 year career with the Des Moines Register, serving as the paper’s chief political writer, political editor and political columnist, covering Iowa and presidential campaigns from 1976-2009. In 1989 he was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2008, he was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard where he led a study group on the nation’s presidential selection processes. He is a native of Jefferson, Iowa and is a 1972 graduate of the University of Iowa. He has also done graduate work in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University and in 1985 earned a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) degree from Drake University.

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First Amendment Lounge, National Press Club

529 14th Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20045

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