Advocacy Groups (and Their Shirts) Speak Up Ahead of Iowa Caucuses

Groups from around the advocacy space—including associations—have been working the grassroots to draw attention to their issues ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Here are some of the groups that stayed busy during the primary season.

In the run-up to the Iowa presidential caucus, which takes place February 1, it’s been hard to miss the single-issue advocacy groups showing up at the many presidential campaign events in the state.

For one thing, the shirts worn by supporters have often been very colorful—and have highlighted messages as diverse as encouraging equal pay, fighting Super PACs, supporting clean and renewable energy, and giving a voice to minority groups.

The groups may focus on differing messages, but the goal has been the same: to stand out both to those voting on Monday and to the presidential candidates, in hopes that those candidates take a stance supportive of the groups’ specific causes.

Iowa Starting Line has a good roundup of many of these groups, if you’re looking to get an idea of some of the on-the-ground tactics. A few others affiliated with the world of associations:

Keeping corn in the conversation: The Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board are each drawing attention to a key issue for both groups: the Renewable Fuel Standard. The groups’ joint website includes information on who supports and opposes the standard. (Most candidates favor keeping the fuel standard in place, but Republicans Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have voiced opposition.)

Speaking of energy … Rural Power, the awareness arm of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, has been working heavily on the campaign trail to keep the issue of environmentally friendly electricity at the front of the conversation for GOP candidates. The website offers a voter guide [PDF] as well as information on the energy issue.

Social Security keeps AARP busy: Do you know whether your candidate has a plan to protect Social Security? In case you don’t, you may want to keep an eye on AARP’s “Take a Stand” website, which highlights the various candidates and their takes on Social Security. (Notable candidates who haven’t produced a plan on the issue include Republicans Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina.)

Keeping Alzheimer’s out front: The Alzheimer’s Association isn’t letting discussion of the disease fall by the wayside during the 2016 election. The group’s volunteers in Iowa spent much of the summer and fall gathering signatures for a petition campaign focused on getting the candidates’ attention and have talked to each of the presidential candidates. “Our goal was 10,000 petition signatures by November 1 to show presidential campaigns that Iowans want to hear their plans for tackling Alzheimer’s,” the association stated. “We exceeded our goal with 11,844 signatures!”

Did your association do any advocacy work in Iowa ahead of this year’s caucuses? Share your efforts in the comments below.

Supporters of Rural Power, a renewable energy group, meet with Donald Trump at an event in Spencer, Iowa. (Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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