Joshua Meribole—Staff Writer
In Sioux County, two political party advocate groups exist: the Sioux County Conservatives and the Sioux County Democrats. Both hold events on occasion to advocate their policies to community members and students.
This Thursday, Mar. 29, Republican Representative Steve King will be in Sioux Center to speak. Prior to the event, community members, with the help of some Sioux County Democrats, will be holding a “peaceful assembly” to discuss some of the things the senator has said.
During the event, people from the community will read and respond to his past statement.
“One big problem is the disrespectful nature of his discourse, the way his language demeans people, especially immigrants how he implies that western civilization is superior to other civilization,” Kim Van Es says on Steve’s Kings rhetoric. Van Es is the Chair for Sioux County Democrats.
“I don’t want somebody representing my district who doesn’t know how to be a stateman. A stateman is someone who can speak respectfully of others even though they disagree,” Van Es said.
People are encouraged to go to listen to Rep. King after the peaceful assembly. King is speaking during the Sioux County Conservative Monthly Pizza and Policy night.
The Sioux County Conservative organizes an event called “Pizza and Policy” in which they invite a speaker to talk about different issues. In the past, some of their events have been met with protest, especially during Islamic Scholar Dr. Steve Kirby’s speech. However, Jacob Hall, a leader of the Sioux County Conservatives says that they do not mind having protests on their event.
“(Protests) doubled the size of our attendance, of our previous record attendance. We have never made money at an event and we have never had that many people at an event more than we had that night,” he said.
The Sioux County Conservatives started in 2016 during the Republican primary for the Iowan house. A few community members got together to promote Senator-Candidate Skyler Wheeler.
This was their main goal when they started. However, after the elections, their priority changed. Now they advocate for their conservatives’ beliefs.
“The purpose of government is to reward good and punish evil,” Hall said.
A conservative advocates for a small government and promotes local government.
“The federal government is huge; it’s doing things that is was never meant to do,” Hall said.
The Sioux County Conservatives’ goal is to “educate, motivate and mobilize conservatives beyond Election Day,” Hall said.
When it started, they had eight board members and now they have six. The reason for this is because of the time and effort it takes.
The Sioux County Conservatives are also advocates for the right of guns, anti-abortion and less government involvement in education. They most recently spoke out against LGBTQ books being place in Orange City’s library.
“I have quite a few of them checked out right now and they would probably be re-checked out in a day or two,” Hall said.
Hall’s goal is to keep the books off the shelfs.
With issues currently facing Sioux County, such as the inclusion of LGBTQ book in Orange City, Van Es says that:
“One religion cannot impose their belief on how to live on a general population, unless a behavior is harmful to that population. Frankly, some of the concerns about how gay people have lived will be elevated, now that they are more out in the open, that they are able to marry, that they can fill comfortable getting the healthcare that they need, I know of no harm in letting gay people marry. And whether or not I agree with that religiously, that should not affect the law in a pluralistic country.”
On Mar. 24, the Sioux County Democrats met in the Sioux Center library for their county convention to review, discuss and approve a draft for the Democrat platform for their party. The draft has been sent to the district level then it will be sent to the state and then some part of it may become part of the National Democratic Party. The platform contains the position the party has on certain issues. In 2016, the platform included the party’s stance on immigration, trade and other political issues.
The Sioux County Democrats is a political organization in a strongly conservative Sioux County. Van Es became the Chair of the organization during the 2012 caucus because they were without a leader at that time.
“We were scheduled to have it and I was trying to figure out who was going to lead it, and nobody was going to lead the caucus,” Van Es said.
Van Es then spent two hours before the caucus preparing to lead the event. Since then, she has been chair for the organization which has 14 board members on the Sioux County Democratic Central Committee.
Although the number of registered Democrats in Sioux County is small, Van Es says the people who are interested in the Sioux County Democrats is growing.
“My email list is growing,” Van Es said. “We have a growing number of people who follow our Facebook page. We had a lot of people attend the caucus this year even though it was not a presidential year.”
Like the Sioux County Conservatives, the Sioux County Democrats hold speakers and events to discuss political topics and events. During an event called “Plain Conversation” that invites people from different background to discuss political issues, Planned Parenthood speakers spoke on funding for women’s healthcare and the different ways women got their healthcare.
Although the debate was intense, Van Es says that during the meeting people from opposite sides had to listen to each other’s disagreement.
“The primary purpose of the meeting was to educate and I think education happened that night,” Van Es said.
The event with Representative Steve King will start at 7:00pm on Thursday in Sioux Center Library and the peaceful assembly will be meeting at 6:00pm. For more information, visit Sioux County Conservative Facebook page or visit Sioux County Democrat Facebook page.