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Iowa Voices: During inauguration, Iowans celebrate and protest in the streets of D.C.


Iowans from both ends of the political spectrum were among the hundreds of thousands that attended the inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20. Some were Iowa natives and some were transplants, some celebrating and some protesting. Little Village sought them out and asked them three questions. These were their answers.

(Responses have been edited for clarity and length.)

Jeffrey Nachazel -- photo by Eleanore Taft
Jeffrey Nachazel — photo by Eleanore Taft
Jeffrey Nachazel, Alden

Why are you here today?

I’ve never been to an inauguration before. This is the first one I felt compelled to actually go to.

Do you plan to do anything after today to work toward the ideals that brought you here

I’m old enough to remember Reagan, and I know what I felt back than. I have kids that are 21, 15 and 12, and I want that future for them that I had growing up. And I didn’t like what I saw in the last eight years, so that’s what kind of compelled me to come down here, just to kind of feel the vibe of everyone else across the country, see if they felt the same thing I did.

What does America need most right now?

That’s kind of one of the things I liked about Donald Trump. Because he talked about, you know, Middle America, jobs leaving, going overseas, the money going overseas. I see that every day from where I’m from. I’m from a small midwestern town, and I see those jobs leaving. I see those people unemployed. I see the people struggling. I’m one of them. I struggle every day. So this was just, I finally felt we had someone that — I know he’s not refined, he says some things that are kind of iffy, that I don’t always agree with — but he spoke to the average American, which is what I see myself as.


David Bartelt, from Cedar Rapids

Why are you here today?

To see what the vibe is, you know, see how people are taking the new presidency.

Do you plan to do anything after today to work toward the ideals that brought you here?

Not really. I’m not going to protest or riot or anything like that. I’m not gonna burn anything down. I’m pretty happy with things.

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What does America need most right now?

I think we need to get back to some good common values.


Chris Taylor, from New Hartford, now living in Washington, D.C.

Why are you here today? 

I’m really concerned about the direction of this administration and who Trump is putting in positions of power. That’s why I wanted to come down and join some protests, but also talk to people in line from the other side, and see what their thoughts are. I think there’s not a lot of understanding about other people’s perspectives.

Do you plan to do anything after today to work toward the ideals that brought you here? 

I am a graduate of Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids, and the sisters taught us that our mission and the mission of the school was to provide service wherever human need exists. I’ve really taken that to heart in the 20-some years since I graduated from college. So that’s what I do every day at my work, really looking at things from a health equity and a social justice standpoint. I think it’s going to be important for all of us to continue to monitor the policies of this administration and this Congress. And to make sure that the vulnerable and people who don’t have a voice have people like me who are looking out for their best interest.

What does America need most right now? 

I’ve met many people from the other side of the political spectrum, and for the most part we’ve been able to have very respectful conversations about our philosophical differences. And we’ve figured out a way, in most circumstances, to live and work next to each other. What has been really challenging is that the people who have been elected to represent us haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. I think that our representatives should learn from their constituents. We have to figure out how to live and work together, why can’t they?


Lisa Desai -- photo by Eleanore Taft
Lisa Desai — photo by Eleanore Taft
Lisa Desai, from Cedar Rapids, now living in Los Angeles

Why are you here today?

I am here because I have daughters, and I am just devastated that Trump is such a bad role model. I’m embarrassed. I called every single elector in Iowa, and spoke to two of them on the phone, and they’re not worried about the environment, about needing crop insurance, about the potential damage to the environment. I just have a really hard time with that. I think that everyone in Iowa understands that our farm is like our livelihood and our environment is very important. I’m here because I want to change things for my daughters.

Do you plan to do anything after today to work toward the ideals that brought you here?

I’m part of a group called Together We Will — there’s the national organization and then there’s several organizations in different places. I’m part of the leadership of Together We Will, Los Angeles. And yesterday we were the group who planned the Rally to Save Roe. We have an events committee and we’re just trying to work for LGBTQ rights, trying to work for women, for equality, for equal pay, for minorities, stand up for immigrants, stand up for any minority that’s oppressed and that’s in danger under this administration.

What does America need most right now?

I think what would make the biggest difference is health insurance for everyone. I think that single-payer health insurance would really change our country and I think that it’s really important. I kind of wonder with all the farmers, they’re self employed, where do they get their insurance from? Between insurance and the environment, I just don’t understand how Iowans can be for Trump. I don’t understand.


Susan McConaughy, Muscatine

Why are you here today?

Well, I support America. I think America’s going down the tubes, and I want to find someone who can change that. And I think Donald Trump can change that.

Do you plan to do anything after today to work toward the ideals that brought you here?

Well, anything I can do to help the Trump campaign. Anything that the new government would like for me to do. I’m a big Ben Carson fan; I was a Marco Rubio fan; I would have voted for any of them. But whatever it is that I can do for them — I’m a nurse midwife — so if I can do anything to help with the new healthcare, because I know Obamacare isn’t working.

What does America need most right now?

We do need direction. We need direction to help with the economy, certainly healthcare, everybody needs healthcare. Absolutely everybody. But there’s gotta be a way we can do it that is fair and supports all families, all workers. And everybody needs a job. And if Donald Trump can do that, God bless him.


Jacob McKinney -- photo by Eleanore Taft
Jacob McKinney — photo by Eleanore Taft
Jacob McKinney, Des Moines

Why are you here today?

The inauguration! I just came out to see what all the fuss was about.

Do you plan to do anything after today to work toward the ideals that brought you here?

I’m just gonna keep working. It’s probably not gonna change my day-to-day too much.

What does America need most right now?

Unity. Like, badly. A lot of people keep fighting, and it’s just not helpful. It just pushes us apart.


Terry Jarman, Ottumwa

Why are you here today?

I’m here for the Women’s March on Washington.

Do you plan to do anything after today to work toward the ideals that brought you here?

I’ve been more involved with calling my congressman and letting him know how I feel about the issues the Republican Congress and Trump’s administration are putting forward. I plan to get more involved in politics because this is affecting everybody. And what I’m seeing right now, what Congress is trying to enact is not something I want to see go forward.

What does America need most right now?

I don’t think that America was ever not great. Certainly there’s things that could be changed. I’d like to see the upper one percent pay more taxes, so that the people like me and average people are not trying to run this country on the taxes we pay. I think everybody should pay according to what they make. That’s my big issue is the taxes. People should pay what they should pay.


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