I'm Kimberly Graham.   I never thought in a million years I'd run for office.  But it's time for a government "by the people, for the people."

Senator Joni Ernst campaigned on a promise to "make 'em squeal" in Washington D.C. and get rid of corruption, but the only people squealing are Iowans harmed by her votes.  

Because our "By The People, For The People" campaign will be funded only by donors like you, and *never* by corporate PACS, the NRA or the Koch Brothers, I won't be influenced by lobbyists and companies whose only interest is increasing their wealth.  Instead, I'll be representing the majority:  you and Iowans who deserve better representation than you've been receiving.

What I've seen from Washington D.C. the last couple of years is the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and the middle class shrinking. We need more people from working class backgrounds serving in government, representing the majority of us and not mega-corporations.  So I've decided to explore running for U.S. Senate.  

I've lived in rural Iowa for 23 years.  My maternal great-great-grandfather had a farm in Xearing and my paternal grandmother was born in Mt. Ayr.  My dad was one of 11 siblings born in Des Moines.  He was a Marine, later a bridge-builder, and mom was a clerk at the phone company.  Neither of them went to college but had good union jobs and worked hard to give my brother and me a solid working class upbringing. 

I've been working since I was 14: in a dry cleaners, as a waitress, store clerk and housecleaner.  I worked my way through college.  I wanted to help people for a living so I went to law school, paying my own way and taking out student loans.   I still have student loan debt.  Now I work as an advocate for abused or neglected kids in court.  

Living in rural Iowa and raising my son, I watched as the furniture, clothing, shoe stores, and other businesses on the square closed after fast-food chains and mega-stores moved in. 

I've watched farmers struggle with increasing costs while being paid less for crops, with fewer companies from which to purchase seed and being treated unfairly as our current president enacts tariff after tariff, harming family farms.  Iowans want and deserve a level playing field and a real chance at thriving small towns and thriving cities.  

I've watched medical insurance premiums, mine included, rise to the point that families are paying more for medical insurance than for housing.   Many simply can't afford insurance anymore. Medical care costs of a serious illness are bankrupting families and forcing them to spend their life savings.  It's not right, that in the wealthiest nation on earth, this is happening. 

In my work as the guardian ad litem and attorney for kids of participants in Family Treatment Court, I've watched the opioid and meth epidemics rip families apart and damage our communities.  I've seen veterans return from service, experiencing trauma, and not receive services quickly or locally enough.  

Iowans deserves better.  As I mentioned above, Senator Ernst campaigned on a promise to "make 'em squeal" in Washington D.C. and get rid of corruption, but the only people squealing are Iowans harmed by her votes.  I support major campaign finance reform and sweeping anti-corruption legislation to return our government to The People.  We must get Big Money OUT of politics.  No more politics as usual.  

I'm exploring a run for U.S. Senate because government should truly be "by the people, for the people."  It should work for the benefit of majority, not the small number of wealthy.  I'm not worried about them. They'll be fine whether they have 50 million dollars a year income or 40 million.  But I am worried about the rest of us. 

We need affordable universal health care, farmers to be treated fairly, good jobs all over the state and a level playing field so monopolies can't destroy our small towns.   Iowans need clean air and water, a justice system that treats everyone fairly and equally, and good public schools that provide the same high-quality education to all children, regardless of whether they live in Clive or Creston.  We need representation in the U.S Senate that isn't bought by corporations, drug companies or any special interests.

My goal is to be the best senator money *can't* buy.  Please join me in a movement For the People, By the People of Iowa.  

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “Oh maga, you are so misinformed. But people who call others names most certainly are. You should endorse someone you really want to endorse and spare the rest of us non-victims, thank you, your pea-sized-brain diatribe.”

  • endorsed

    “Yes, by all means, vote for this bone-brain who panders to all the "victims" out there who only victims of their own lack of control, motivation, and work ethic. If you want to get ahead in life, simply learn a skill, stay out of trouble, and stop buying sh*t you don't need.”

  • endorsed

    “I think I endorse her. I like what she says and it makes sense. I am not able to donate at this time as I support many different causes.”

  • endorsed

    “Iowa, deserves a senator that does what she says and stays independent of corporate influncers. Kimberly Graham is the woman for this job.”

May 13, 2019

We're in!

I officially launched the campaign and announced my candidacy a few days ago on the Bleeding Heartland blog.  

Here's what I wrote:

Our current junior senator ran on a promise to get rid of corruption in Washington and “make ‘em squeal,” but the only people squealing are Iowans harmed by her votes.

My name is Kimberly Graham. I’m running for the United States Senate. Here’s who I am, who I’m running for, and why:

I’m the daughter of a Marine and union worker. I’m the daughter of a teen mom who was a clerk typist at the phone company. I was born at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base. I’m the granddaughter of a WWII vet who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. My paternal grandmother was from Mt. Ayr. My maternal grandmother grew up in Winnebago, Minnesota. My maternal great-great grandparents owned a farm in Zearing, east of Ames.

Like former governor and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, I wasn’t born here, but I got here as soon as I could. I chose to live in Indianola for 24 years and chose to raise our son there. Our son is a smart and kind young man and an Eagle Scout. His father and I divorced amicably when he was 7 and along with our son’s paternal grandparents, the best people I’ve ever met, we worked together to raise him.

I’ve been working since I was 14. I worked in a dry cleaners, cleaned houses, waitressed, worked in retail stores and was a flight attendant and active union member and organizer with the the APFA. I’m a first generation college student and had to take out student loans to afford tuition. I’ve spent my career advocating for kids and parents and as a mediator. I currently represent abused or neglected kids as their attorney and guardian ad litem in the Recovery Court program.

Here’s why I’m running and who I’m running for:

I’m running for every couple and every single mom and dad who can’t afford medical insurance. Who earn too much to get Medicaid, but not enough to pay insurance premiums, high cost deductibles, co-pays and prescriptions.

I’m running for every middle income family effectively impoverished by the costs of medical insurance and care. As a single mom, I remember getting the slim envelope every April from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the one I’d open with dread because it was the annual premium increase letter. 

My brother had appendicitis years ago and was refused medical care because he had no insurance. Thank goodness a friend drove him to a county hospital, where he had emergency surgery that saved his life. He could have been another casualty of lack of insurance.

We need a senator who doesn’t vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having a solid plan in place that is better and more affordable.

We need Medicare for All. Now. 

I’m running for those who can’t afford the absurd cost of insulin and for those who have died from rationing it to make it stretch. In this, the wealthiest nation on earth, shame on our representatives who have the power to fix this and and won’t. We need a senator who will take on drug companies and drug prices.

We need lower prescription drug prices. Now. 

I’m running for people in rural communities and for family farmers, who are watching neighbor after neighbor fall on harder and harder times, schools consolidating, hospitals in financial trouble, local businesses closing, and their kids and grandkids packing up and moving to the city or to another state.

We need a senator who will stand up for rural communities and small businesses, and who won’t support trade wars and mega-mergers that harm them. We need a senator who has a vision of a revitalized and vibrant rural Iowa, a vision where small towns have excellent local schools, local hospitals, abundant housing, affordable day care, and a lot of good paying jobs. 

We need a senator who works to see that vision through. Now.

I’m running for every Iowan who is tired of name-calling, incivility and disrespect. We are all Iowans and all Americans. We won’t always agree but we can disagree respectfully. 

My grandmother was a lifelong Republican who said the only Democrat she’d ever vote for would be me. My grandma meant everything to me. Growing up, she spent summers at her grandparents’ farm in Zearing. She told me so many great stories – including the one about her grandma letting her roller skate back and forth in the farmhouse kitchen. I’ve digressed, but my point is, as I heard a friend say recently “it’s hard to hate someone up close.”

Iowans get to know each other “up close” at our kids’ baseball games, places of worship, chatting in the aisle at Fareway or Hy-Vee and at work or in school. We have a lot in common, no matter who we’ve voted for. And …make no mistake. We can model civility for our kids and stand up for social and racial justice. We don’t have to agree with, empathize with, or condone someone’s opinions or votes to be civil and respectful. Never mistake my kindness for a lack of backbone. It’s possible to be respectful and stand up for what’s right at the same time.

We’ve got to work together and stand together for what’s right.

 We need a senator who stands up for civility and respect, who refuses to support anyone who name-calls and insults others and we need a senator who will unite us. Now.

There’s a proverb* which says: “If you need to go fast, go alone, but if you need to go far, go together.”

We have a very long way to go, so let’s go together. Together we can reclaim our democracy, restore and preserve voting rights, get big money out of politics, make progress on civil, human, LGTBQ+ and disability rights and forward social justice.

Together we can make progress on criminal justice reform, take better care of our military service members and veterans, pass common sense gun laws the majority of Iowans want, work for clean air and water, and take massive action on climate change for a sustainable future and more jobs.

Together we can create a healthier and more democratic economy, a thriving middle class, make Medicare for all a reality and so much more. 

We have a long way to go and a lot to do! Imagine grabbing your backpack and putting on your walking shoes. If you’re from Iowa, maybe you’ve seen a gravel road or two. Imagine that road in front of us. See it? It’s a long one with a lot of hills and not much shade.

It won’t be fast. 

It won’t be easy. 

But we can make it, together. 

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