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Big Win for Iowa Students Foreshadows Rising Political Influence of Students Nationally

GRINNELL, Iowa – Iowa’s caucus night was an early indicator of the important role students will play in democratic primaries in 2018 and 2020, Iowa Student Action turned out 104 supporters for governor candidate Cathy Glasson, democrat, in eight student-heavy precincts across Iowa.

The Iowa Student Action, an affiliate of Student Action, is made up of students organizing at Grinnell College, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa for Free College For All.

This big win for Glasson in Iowa last week, signals an emerging national student movement for college for all. In multiple precincts where Iowa Student Action organized, students reported that impromptu resolutions were passed on caucus night in support of fully funded college for all.

The Iowa student turnout mirrored similar turnouts in Illinois where Student Action is mobilizing students across the state for progressive gubernatorial candidate, State Sen. Daniel Biss, who is surging in the polls and is in a statistical tie with billionaire frontrunner J.B. Pritzker. Biss recently toured the state to visit college campuses and present his plan for college for all.

In California, Student Action members have begun collecting signatures to get College for All onto the November ballot.

“What we are seeing is the power of organized students who view elections as a platform to advance their values,” said Brooke Adams, Student Action national lead organizer. “These early results are telling of what is to come in the 2018 and 2020 elections. If democratic candidates want students to not only vote for them, but also organize in large numbers, they must get behind a progressive platform that includes free college for all.”

In the lead up to the caucuses, Iowa Student Action leaders organized students in eight precincts, seven in neighborhoods surrounding Iowa State and one in Grinnell. In these eight precincts, Iowa Student Action won 35 of the 66 available delegates for Glasson (53.85 percent).

None of the other five candidates running for the democratic nomination won more than 10 percent of the available delegates in these precincts. Iowa Student Action joined forces with their sister organization, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action, and together organized 30 precincts in seven counties across the state of Iowa to win 45 percent of the available delegates in those precincts.

“Many of our members caucused for the first time because we are clear that electing Glasson is our best shot at winning college for all. The caucus night was not the beginning or the end of our organizing, but rather a strategic moment for us to move our campaign forward by supporting a candidate who shares our vision for the state of Iowa,” said Sayles Kasten, Grinnell precinct captain and Iowa Student Action leader.

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Student Action, a project of People’s Action, is a national organization of college student power organizations fighting for economic, racial, and gender justice. Made up of current students, graduates, and non-student millennials, we are building a national organization of young people for mass structural change. Student Action has affiliate student organizations on 36 campuses in 10 states, with 350 core leaders and 1,900 active members.

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About People’s Action Institute

Over five decades, People’s Action Institute and our affiliates have fought for reforms that recognize poor and working people’s dignity and make material and political improvements to millions of lives. Our victories include the Community Reinvestment Act, Superfund, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and the MAT Act.

We engage in issue campaigns, public education and training to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice. Our focus now is on deepening community organizing so we can build lasting power across the country. 

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