Mika for State Central Committee

I am running for the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee (SCC).

I am running because I have seen that the party still has many areas where we can improve. For example, the party treats those with money differently than those without money. We have fundraisers and events that exclude people who don’t have $50 to $75 to give to the party to participate in these events. Additionally, we seem to favor our incumbents and claim that primaries and open discussion of the issues are somehow divisive. Frequently, I hear party officials discourage the discussion and challenge to status quo.

I firmly believe that if we want change to occur we must step up to the challenge and create the change.

I believe that we need to consider and include ideas from everyone, not just those who have been involved in the party for years. As we know we must make our party more open and inclusive and we must face the fact that a greater number of young people and the next generation of voters are independents. Therefore, we need to listen to those voters especially since we rely on them to win general elections.

I know we need to reach out and bring back the 4.4 million Obama voters who voted in 2012 but stayed home in 2016. Of these 4.4 million, 43 percent were not contacted by any candidate in 2016 because it was believed they would be reliable Democratic voters.

I understand that we must update and modernize the way we are campaigning. We must put more emphasis on digital advertising and social media. We must follow the example of those already using social media and live streaming technologies to reach people. As Senator Bernie Sanders has done with live broadcasting his town halls. We are able to reach millions more than conventional online videos. We could use this tool to live broadcast many of our events and especially our fundraisers which in turn would include more people.

I believe that I am uniquely qualified to be on the SCC because of my work on issue and advocacy organizations such as the Cystinosis Research Foundation and the Cystinosis Research Network. And because of living with cystinosis I learned at an early age to be organized, to advocate for myself, and to be responsible especially when it came to managing my health and navigating health care coverage.

I hope I can count on your support at the Iowa Congressional District 2 Democratic Party Convention.

If you have any questions or concerns contact me at mika.j.covington@gmail.com

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Join the Resistance!

The U.S., a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a ‘flawed democracy,’ as popular confidence in the functioning of public institutions has declined – Democracy Index.

If you ask me, I think that we are quickly falling into a fascist state run by an authoritarian President.

Week one of Trump’s rule is full of lies about the total number of attendees at his crowning, supposed “voter fraud” and attacking the media for calling him out. He also proceeded in deleting White House website pages on civil rights, the LGBTQIA+ community, climate change, and persons with disabilities. He even demanded a list of all who worked to combat climate change and recently told top State Department officials to leave.

Within the first week, he signed many harmful executive orders including authorization to build a U.S. – Mexico border wall; stripping federal money from sanctuary cities; reinstating local and state immigration enforcement; reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; one that would expedite environmental permitting processes for infrastructure projects; an order imposing a hiring freeze on the federal government; an order that directs federal agencies to ease “regulatory burdens” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Additionally, with the Republican-controlled Congress Trump’s cabinet appointees seem to be gliding through the Senate. Further, it appears that their major achievement, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at full speed ahead. Repeal efforts have already passed in the Congress, by a vote of 51-48 in the Senate and by 227-198 in the House.

Let me repeat what will happen if the ACA is repealed. It would mean that 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans with Medicare would see higher premiums and deductibles. Repeal would increase Medicare spending by $802 billion over the next ten years, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. Repeal would also take Medicaid away from nearly 17 million people.

Next up for the Republicans and Trump could be your civil rights. For example, rounding up an entire ethnic group and deporting them or reinstating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or passing a federal marriage ban.

If we look specifically at Iowa, LGBTQIA+ people have a lot to lose, for instance, the amended civil rights code that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, the Iowa Safe Schools law, and adoption rights.

So, what can we do about this!?

Join the resistance! Join local organizations that are fighting back. Join the Democratic Party in their fight against this fascist administration.

Hold campaigns are calling and writing your government representative be it local, state, or federal. Hold sit-ins at their offices. Demand answers for why they are supporting this administration and their actions. If your representative is fighting with you, thank them and encourage them to fight on.

Just do something!

Go here to join Our Revolution: https://ourrevolution.com/
Go here to join Organizing for Action: https://www.ofa.us/
Go here to join Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-involved
Go here to join the National Organization of Woman: http://now.org/
Go here to join the ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/
Call your Rep or Senator here: HouseSenate

Remember one of the best Presidents in U.S. history

and something to make us laugh

2016

 

This past year has been very exciting and challenging. Many events have taken place. Let’s begin with January.

In January, I started working for the Bernie Sanders campaign. On the campaign, I worked under a field organizer to help ensure they met all of their goals. I was working in Iowa on the caucuses where I was based in Council Bluffs and also did organizing in Harrison County.

On February 1st, Sen. Sanders won half the Iowa delegates. Iowa was a tie this was huge news for the Bernie Sanders campaign. The official results were 49.8% for Clinton and 49.6% for Sanders. Therefore, Sen. Sanders won 696.82 state delegates, and Hillary Clinton won 700.9.

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Locally, Pottawattamie County, which was supposed to be a stronghold for Hillary Clinton went to Bernie Sanders, 50.7% to 49%. Further, in my precinct, Council Bluffs 11, it went 62.5% for Sanders and 37.5% for Clinton.

Bernie Sanders had a great showing in Iowa for a long-shot candidate.

Following the Iowa caucuses, I began working in Nebraska on their caucuses as a Field Organizer. During this part of the campaign, I was based in Lincoln. Thus, on the weekends I would spend my time there and weekdays in Council Bluffs organizing in Omaha and Dodge County, NE because I was still a full-time student at Iowa Western Community College.

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After the Nebraska Caucuses, I went back to working in Iowa, but now I was organizing the Sanders campaign participation in the County and District Conventions. We worked to make sure that Sen. Sanders would get a fair representation of the delegation he won on the night of the caucuses.

I also worked in Kansas on their District Conventions doing the same job and in Colorado on their State Convention doing similar work, but I also had the opportunity to monitor the official counting of the ballots and helped with the certification of those ballots as the Sanders, campaign representative.

Moving forward, in June at the Iowa Democratic State Convention, I ran for Democratic National Committee (DNC) member. I did lose the election. Together we won. We won at the state conventions around the nation, in California, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, and Washington.

Even though I lost, we won, because we won enough votes to show a strong standing against the party establishment demonstrating that we want change.

Specifically, at the Iowa State Convention, we passed one of the most progressive Democratic State platforms.

  • Calling for single-payer healthcare
  • Supporting the death with dignity act
  • Protecting LGBTQIA elders against discrimination
  • Support of health insurance coverage for transgender individuals
  • Support of tuition-free state college and universities
  • Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Support of equal human rights for Palestinians and Israelis.
  • Calling for 100% renewable energy by the year 2025.
  • Opposition to fast-tracking trade agreements.

The convention even agreed to a plank calling for the abolishment of superdelegates.

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In July, I officially came out in support of Hillary Clinton. This was after 29 million people voted in the Democratic primary. Bernie Sanders won 1,831 national delegates, 13 million votes, and Hillary Clinton won 2,220 national delegates.

It was an honor to have volunteered and been a staffer for Senator Sanders. Together, we began a revolution to transform American politics and that revolution continues. We fought and are fighting for a government that works and represents us all, not just the one percent.

In August, I moved to the University of Iowa to get my Bachelor’s degree in psychology and perhaps sociology. At the University of Iowa, I have taken the following classes, Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, and Sociological Theory.

However, moving to Iowa City wasn’t all fun because a couple of things happened after I got here. I received terrible news of a friend passing away. Her name was Pauline Beck.

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Pauline was a great person who would do anything for the people she loved. She even had an impact on many lives by her generous heart. She was a friend to many and was like a mother to others.

I first met Pauline the first day she walked into the 2016 Bernie Sanders office in Council Bluffs, Iowa. From that day forward she was in the office nearly every day. She took care of many of the needs of the office, or she would find someone who could. She provided many home cooked meals, cleaned the office, and made many creative decorations.

She is greatly missed by many.

Then we have November where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the undemocratic Electoral College vote to Donald Trump. We lost the battle but not the war.

On November 10, the vote total was 59,695,628 popular votes and 279 electoral votes for Donald Trump to 59,920,291 popular votes and 228 electoral votes for Hillary Clinton which her lead would grow to nearly 3 million votes.

As a progressive Democrat, I was proud to have voted for Hillary Clinton, and I am deeply saddened by the results of this election.

Even though Democrats did not win back the Senate as expected or gain more seats in the House; Democrats did not lose everything. Just look at the states. In states like California, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, and others they all passed progressive ballot measures.

Arkansas

  • Legalized medical marijuana

California

  • New background checks for ammunition and prohibits possession of large capacity magazines
  • Legalized marijuana for use by adults 21 and over

Colorado

  • Raised the minimum wage
  • Allow terminally ill patients to end their life with assistance of a doctor

Maine

  • Legalized marijuana for use by adults 21 and over
  • Raised the minimum wage

Massachusetts

  • Legalized the possession of marijuana

Montana

  • Legalized medical marijuana

Nevada

  • Expanded gun background checks
  • Legalized marijuana

North Dakota

  • Legalized medical marijuana

Washington

  • Increased the minimum wage

14956434_1272438012819316_4901109538472250760_nAdditionally, in November Blair Lawton announced that he would run for Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and I threw my support behind him.

I support Blair for the position because of his experience working on campaigns and his ideas on how to rebuild our party. Blair believes in contesting every legislative race and spending less time courting big donors and more time building grassroots donations from activists.

20160412_114409On December 5, I announced my candidacy for Vice-Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. The election will be held on January 21.

I am running for Vice-chair because I want to give back to the party that has fought for my civil rights and fights for health care for all. I am running because I want to rebuild the party.

My passion stems from the fact that I know that if I want to have rights, I need to step up and fight for them.

Half of the year, I have been fighting for health insurance because the Social Security Administration decided that I am no longer medically disabled. However, the issue is that they not only want me to go to work which is fine but they terminated my health insurance, and I am left to my own devices to find health insurance. Meaning that I must find health insurance that will cover my medications including anti-rejection and cystinosis medications, which add up quickly, one of the drugs alone Procysbi cost over $63,000 for a 30-day supply.

This on-going battle with the Social Security Administration is quite stressful and demeaning. Especially because of the psychological evaluation, an enormous amount of paperwork, and calls I have endured during the last six months.

Participating in a psychological evaluation to determine if one need help through the Social Security Administration can be hurtful and demeaning especially when the psychologist has their biases against the client.

From the beginning, she was expecting a male and instead got me. On top of that, I was involved with the Democratic party.

Therefore, reading her evaluation makes one feel inferior and worthless. Specifically, in the evaluation notes, she states, “She appeared to be low average intellectual ability,” and she did this without doing any intelligence assessments. But we cannot forget how she calls me male several times.

How would I rate 2016?

The first part of the year was awesome I was full of hope and energy but as the year went on that energy and hope drained.

Currently, I have little hope for a better future, and my energy is draining fast. This is because of these recent events with Hillary Clinton losing, Democrats losing control of the Senate in Iowa, not gaining control of the U.S. Senate, and not to forget this on-going battle that I keep fighting with the Social Security Administration. I seem to be losing this fight, and I keep getting this feeling that hits me in the gut, it feels like I’ve already been defeated.

Nevertheless, with the hope I have, I will fight on!

Progressive Democrat

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Photo credit: PDA

I am a progressive Democrat. I am a progressive because I believe in social and economic equality. I see a future where the financial sector is more regulated, where corporations protect their workers and where we have fair trade.

373713_256875934351305_615712812_nI was an Occupy Wall Street protester during 2011, and I was there on the streets calling for the breaking up of the big banks and calling for the end of the massive college debt crisis.

I am a progressive that believes in expanding social security, expanding health care for all through either a public option or single-payer healthcare, free public college and university and a living wage.

I am a progressive who believes in paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave, paid parental leave, and paid vacation.

I am a progressive who believes in strengthening the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and additional funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the Department of Labor (DOL).

1508165_725682764139401_2067267913_nI am a progressive who believes teaching social studies including Native American, Black, Latino, women’s, and LGBTQIA+ history, and comprehensive, evidence-based health and sex education that include LGBTQIA+ education.

I am a progressive who believes in the full support and enforcement of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

I am a progressive who believes in full federal equality for LGBTQIA+ individuals and the passage of the Equality Act which will provide that equality.

I am a progressive who believes that government should be in the business of leveling the playing field so that everyone plays by the same rules and has an equal chance to get ahead in this world. I believe in a government that works for the protection of everyone and treats everyone equally.

This is what being progressive means to me.

Mika for Vice-Chair

Photo Credit: Linda Nelson

Today, I am announcing that I am running for one of the Vice-Chair positions of the Iowa Democratic Party. I am a former party official from Pottawattamie County and currently I serve on the Johnson County Central Committee. I am a former campaign staffer who has previously worked for President Obama’s and Senator Sanders’ campaigns.

My top goal is to work with the Chair whoever that is to rebuild our party but also to ensure we have a party that builds a 99 county strategy. We cannot leave House and Senate races uncontested.

I am excited to be running for Vice-Chair and give my fellow Democrats a choice. The next year must be about reorganization and rebuilding our party.

I grew up in Nebraska and transplanted to Iowa in 2012 because I believed in a better future and wanted to join the fight for it. In May 2012, I moved to Council Bluffs to work for President Obama as an organizing fellow. I have lived here ever since, volunteering on political campaigns and going to school at Iowa Western Community College and now at the University of Iowa.

photo (1)After the 2012 election, I worked with Nebraska State Senator Sara Howard to pass her bill LB380, a second-parent adoption bill. I ran a grassroots campaign for the bill which was sponsored by MoveOn.org.

In 2014, I was elected as the Pottawattamie County Democrats’ Affirmative Action Chair, and I served from February 2014 to October 2015.

In the Winter of 2015, I was hired by the Bernie Sanders campaign to be an organizing fellow which I was later promoted to field organizer and worked in several states including Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado.

After the primary, I moved to the University of Iowa where I am studying psychology and sociology.

I am running because I want to continue to fight for a better future and the only way to do that is through a strong Democratic Party.

Submit questions here: mika.j.covington@gmail.com or call me at 712.314.8258