We get it. The news can be a bit much these days. Thankfully, Matt and Ivy from Progress Iowa break down the big headlines of the week so you don't have to.


What a Week – Meet the Team Edition

To our regular listeners, this podcast will probably sound pretty different. Before, What a Week was hosted by Progress Iowa's dynamic duo, the executive director Matt Sinovic, and our digital director Ivy Beckenholdt. The organization has gone through some really cool changes over the last couple of weeks, and that's why I'm here now. My name is James Simmons and I'm the new Deputy Press Secretary of progress Iowa, and on this episode, you're going to get to meet all of my amazing team members. I got the chance to sit down with everyone individually and learn a little bit more about them and I'm excited to introduce them all to you!

Build it Back!

Kim Reynolds is taking credit for popular bills she opposed, the John Deere strike goes on after a second attempt on a contract is rejected by workers, COVID vaccines are coming for kids as young as 5, municipal and school board elections were a mixed bag here in Iowa, Chuck Grassley votes against expanding voting […]

Oh Deere.

Workers at 14 John Deere plants across the country walked out after their union, the United Auto Workers, rejected an unacceptable contract offer from management. Also, Governor Reynolds’s boasting may have sunk her mask mandate ban lawsuit, early voting has begun in local elections across the state, Donald Trump’s… interesting… strategy for winning the midterms […]

Give it up, Chuck!

Matt and Ivy discuss the news that Iowa’s own Chuck Grassley wants an 8th term in the US Senate. Gross. They also discuss the wailing and thrashing of the right at school board meetings around keeping kids as safe as possible during COVID, Governor Reynolds wants her mask mandate ban back as COVID cases reach […]

Everyone Needs a Labor Union

Matt spent the week at the yearly Iowa Federation of Labor conference and got to speak with elected officials and Iowans who fight for the rights of all workers, unionized and not, every day. We hear from Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, RuralVote.org Executive Director JD Scholten, IFL AFL-CIO Political Director Al Womble, and […]

Back to School

Kim Reynolds’ sides with COVID against common sense in order to score political points. She digs in her heels on her ridiculous school mask mandate ban. Also, her administration is being sued for not following open records laws. Also, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz came to the state fair (Insert cow pie throwing joke […]

Deep Fried COVID

The 2021 Iowa State Fair kicks off and it’s not just the deep fried butter that could be hazardous to your health. Spoiler: It’s COVID. There’s COVID at the Fair. Matt and Ivy also talk about the census data that shows most of Iowa’s counties are shrinking in both population and diversity, the second child […]

Delta, Delta, Delta.

The “Delta variant” of COVID-19 runs rampant across Iowa and Kim Reynolds’ blames immigrants and tries to restrict abortion rights, the most on-brand thing for her we can think of. Matt and Ivy also discuss the latest Olympic wins, President Biden’s nudge to governors who won’t do their jobs, the 56th anniversary of the Voting […]

The Supreme Stakes

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa Public Affairs Director Jaime Burch Elliot joins Matt and Ivy to talk about the Supreme Stakes, a series of events hosted by Progress Iowa, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa, and the Iowa Interfaith Alliance to educate Iowans about the attacks on our reproductive rights. We also talk about the Olympics […]

Please, Think of the Children!

Matt and Ivy (and Greg) are back in the Progress Iowa studio after 15 months of social distancing and boy, does it feel good. Almost as good as hundreds of thousands of Iowa families receiving $300 in tax relief every month in an historic initiative to cut childhood poverty. Thank you to Cindy Axne and […]

Time’s Up for Chuck

Matt and Ivy discuss the Des Moines Register poll that said over 60% of Iowans want someone other than Chuck Grassley in the Senate, the new anti-protest bill that would have made they themselves criminals, the tragic fire that destroyed a memorial to Black youth and investigation around that fire, and our Senators’ votes and […]

Petty Unemployment Politics

Matt and Ivy deep dive on Governor Reynolds’s decision to make Iowa one of just four states to cut its citizens off from extended unemployment benefits. Colin Gordon, a senior research consultant with Common Good Iowa, joins later to explain just why this was a bad move.

Happy Pride Month!

Matt and Ivy talk Pride Month and Progress Iowa’s LGBTQ+ Media Guide, Kim Reynolds unwillingness to do any more than the bare minimum when it comes to promoting vaccinations, the wide ranging effects COVID relief had on Americans, the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, and more.

No One Likes A Bragger + Edward-Isaac Dovere

Governor Reynolds goes back on Fox to brag/lie about Iowa’s COVID recovery, the post legislative session landscape, and Matt is joined by staff writer for The Atlantic Edward-Isaac Dovere to talk about his new book “Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Trump.”

This Is The End

The 2021 legislative session is finally over and Matt and Ivy (and special guest little Joey Sinovic) have thoughts on that, Iowa’s sputtering economy, and the 20th Shrekiversary.

The Bully in Chief ft. Sen. Zach Wahls

Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls (D-Coralville) to discuss the bombshell leaked audio of a right-wing think tank admitting to writing the voter suppression law that Iowa Republicans rammed through the legislator, possibly in violation of Iowa law, as well as Governor Reynolds putting the bully in bully pulpit and more.

Get Vaccinated, Iowa!

Matt and Ivy discuss President Biden’s address to Congress, Iowa’s supply/demand issue with COVID vaccines, Governor Reynolds’s bizarre admission that she sent $93 million back to the federal government instead of using it for contact tracing, Rudy Giuliani’s early morning visit from the FBI, and more!

13 Years Old.

It’s been a rough week for anyone who cares about justice and equality and our hearts go out to the families of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and the eight victims of the mass shooting in Indianapolis: Matthew Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Amarjeet Johal, Jaswinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Sekhon, Karli Smith, and John Weisert.

Kim Reynolds is Our Problem

Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds’s “not my problem” moment when discussing immigrants, the press conference from AFSCME around workplace safety and the murders of corrections workers at the Anamosa State Penitentiary, the anti-abortion amendment that passed the legislature and more.

Flush it down the funnel

Kim Reynolds caves to the NRA and signs the bill to allow concealed guns to be carried without a permit or mandatory background check. That, plus the bills that made it through the second funnel and now that Trump’s out of town Matt Gaetz is Washington’s newest Sleazeball Supreme. Joining us for our interview this […]

The Extreme 16

State Rep. and Assistant Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst join Ivy and Matt to bust this year’s Extreme 16 Bracket: Bad Bill Edition. Links: Follow Rep. Konfrst on Twitter Learn more about the Extreme 16

Stop the Madness!

On March 24, 2020 the first of more than 5,600 Iowans passed away due to COVID-19. Progress Iowa honors those who we’ve lost with the Iowa COVID Memorial website. Matt and Ivy also discuss this year’s “Extreme 16” bracket where you can vote on the worst of the worst bills introduced in this year’s legislative session, the polls […]

Help is on the way!

Matt and Ivy talk about the American Rescue Plan, Ashley Hinson’s trolling messages via mask, the latest goings on in the Iowa Legislature, and give a shout out to @IAVaccineAlerts who has helped people across the state find open vaccine appointments in their areas.

Down the Funnel We Go!

It’s Funnel Week! Bills that have not passed a subcommittee in the Iowa legislature are almost surely dead. Unless they’re not. Matt and Ivy discuss the big bills that made it through, the COVID relief package coming out of Washington and the political theater that Republicans are engaging in, and Chuck Grassley “both sides-ing” the […]

Slash and Burn

Kim Reynolds learns how to use GoDaddy six months too late, Sen. Schultz says we’re “out of the pandemic,” (we’re not) and wants to cut food assistance, the Equality Act finally passed in the US House, and State Representative Christina Bohannan joins to discuss the voter suppression bill that was fast-tracked through the legislature this […]

Republicans Don’t Want You To Vote

Matt and Ivy talk about Kim Reynolds’s latest retreat in the fight against COVID, the voter suppression bill that election attorney Mark Elias calls “the worst anti-voting bill” in the country and other disasters coming out of the state house. IT’S NOT GREAT, PEOPLE. WE DON’T WANT TO BE THIS MAD.

Race to the Bottom

Ivy and Matt talk about Governor Reynolds’s bizarre fundraising pitches around her COVID response and literally auctioning her time off to the highest bidder, the once again inadequate school funding bill, the legislature’s race to the bottom on transgender rights, and give their hot take on the impeachment trial in Washington. Text JOIN to 515-417-3320 […]

Don’t Tread on My Jeans

Ivy and Matt discuss Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell’s “Denim Demonstration“, the racial profiling bill that isn’t, (finally) some COVID relief from Washington, favorite Super Bowl foods, and more! Text JOIN to 515-417-3320 for text message updates from Progress Iowa.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Matt and Ivy react to the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President, the historic inauguration of Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President, and the progressive agenda that will begin restoring our nation. They also discuss the “disappointing but not surprising” agenda coming out of the Iowa legislature. And of course, the Bernie […]

How Low Can We Go?

Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds’s Condition of the State address and agenda, the death penalty bill that passed a subcommittee vote despite almost unanimous public comment opposing it, the second impeachment of Donald Trump, and State Senator Zach Whiting’s gross comparison of the attack on the capitol with civil rights marches. Then Matt speaks […]

The 8th Annual Progress Iowa Holiday Party!

Every year Progress Iowa holds a holiday party to relax, reflect on the hard work we’ve done over the past year, and gather with friends and allies. Obviously due to COVID-19 that couldn’t happen in person this year so we asked our friends to record videos and we streamed the event on Facebook. Enjoy holiday […]

Kim Reynolds’s White Flag of Surrender

Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds latest COVID press conference, the apparent end of the Hart/Miller-Meeks race in #IA02 (every vote counts, y’all!), the disturbing developments out of the Glenwood Resource Center lawsuit, and again advocate for Dolly Parton’s receiving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Or sainthood. Whatever’s easier. Links: Lawsuit claims Reynolds’ staff, […]

Secretary Dolly Parton?

Matt and Ivy talk about the half-a-loaf non-mandate mask mandates from Kim Reynolds, Joe Biden’s picks for his national security team, the historically close margin in Iowa’s 2nd congressional district race, and of course their Thanksgiving Day recipes. Be thankful. Stay safe. Links: COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool Follow Ryan Foley on Twitter

Iowa needs a mask mandate

Matt and Ivy talk about the ups and downs of last week’s election, the COVID crisis that just keeps getting worse, and the complete lack of leadership from the Governor’s office. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay apart.

Close the Boyfriend Loophole!

Matt and Ivy discuss the final presidential debate, the Senate Judicial Committee’s vote on Amy Coney Barrett, the 545 migrant children still separated from their parents, and Kim Reynolds’s CARES Act spending spree. We also hear a message to Sen. Joni Ernst from Lilly Steil, a young woman who became an activist against domestic violence […]

Donald and Kim. Two Beans in a Pod.

Kim Reynolds opens for Donald Trump at a rally in Des Moines that spits in the face of her own COVID guidelines, Joni Ernst implodes in her final debate with Theresa Greenfield, David Young tells more lies about his record, and Ivy talks to Murphy Burke of Next Gen Iowa about their efforts to get […]

A hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck

Matt and Ivy discuss the Ernst-Greenfield debate on Iowa Press, the Trump-Biden debate/”hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck,” and Friday morning’s breaking news that Donald Trump and others in his circle have COVID-19. Links Watch the Ernst-Greenfield debate (Iowa PBS on YouTube) Watch the Trump-Biden debate (C-SPAN on YouTube) Watch a […]

Losing a Legend

Matt and Ivy talk about the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsber and our US Senator’s baldfaced lies to the people they serve. They also share several hot takes on birds… Yes, birds. Links: Rob Sand’s tweet about RBG and the Des Moines Symphony

Yes, Iowans DO Want Healthcare!

Editors note: This episode was recorded on Friday, September 18th, before the death of Justice Ginsburg. This week Matt and Ivy talk to Ben Jealous with People for the American Way about Iowa’s Senate race and the importance of our nation’s courts in that race.

We agree, Mr. President. This is deadly stuff.

Trump spilled the beans to Bob Woodward (and who knows who else!) while keeping the public in the dark about the deadliest crisis in modern history, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer squared off against State Rep Ashley Hinson and put her on the defensive on her terrible labor record, and Senator Joni Ernst peddles conspiracy theories about […]

Back to school whether we like it or not.

Correction: The amount of funding passed by the U.S. House for USPS that is currently being held up by the Senate is $25 billion, not $65 billion. Matt and Ivy are joined this week by Danielle Root from the Center for American Progress to talk about the Trump administration’s attacks on the post office juuuuuuust […]

Stacey Walker on Conditions in Cedar Rapids

Welcome to new cohost Ivy Beckenholdt! Matt and Ivy break down the week’s headlines, give their hot takes on a couple stories and give shoutouts to the Iowans who deserve them. Then, they speak with Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker about conditions on the ground in Cedar Rapids 10 days after the historic derecho storm. […]

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Lyz Lenz is back! Ashley Hinson endorses Abby Finkenauer’s positions but forgets to tell everyone, and Governor Reynolds straight up lies about the number of sick people in our state on behalf of big business. Cool. Links: Follow Lyz on Twitter you cowards! Des Moines Register – GOP congressional candidate Ashley Hinson apologizes for plagiarism, […]

Live from the Red Zone

A new report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force puts 18 states, including Iowa, in the "red zone" for the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

Hear No Outbreak, See No Outbreak

We’re joined this week by Bleeding Heartland’s Laura Belin to talk about the breaking story that the director of Iowa’s Department of Public Health “rebuffed an offer of federal assistance to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants” and the coming fight between Iowa’s Secretary of State and county auditors over the new vote by […]

Go Home, Mike Pence

Iowa has surpassed entire countries’ coronavirus case counts but that doesn’t stop the pom-pom squad of Vice President Pence, Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, David Young, and more from flying in, modeling all sorts of bad behavior, and declaring mission accomplished. Links: Sign up for Progress Iowa’s Coronavirus Daily newsletter

We’re the “Bad Neighbor” Now

Matt and Lauren talk about another week of no shelter-in-place order for Iowa despite increased cases of COVID-19 and Governor Reynolds’s refusal to join a group of neighboring states to plan a return to normal life. But we got a PSA from Ashton Kutcher, so we got that going for us. Subscribe to Progress Iowa’s […]

Sorry Grandma, Goldman Needs a Good Q2

We didn’t think we’d have to say this but here we are: people are worth saving. Yes, all of them. Every time we argued that a program would "grow the economy," we helped the opposition cement the view that this is the singular objective of policymaking. — Anat Shenker-Osorio (@anatosaurus) March 26, 2020 Links: Vox: […]

Be Brave, Stay Home

That escalated quickly. Matt and Lauren discuss our Senator’s “no” votes on paid sick leave, one Senator’s need for a history lesson, compare Iowa’s response to the coronavirus to that of other states’, and talk about Progress Iowa’s #BeBraveStayHome campaign. Links: Sen. Ron Johnson’s amendment to remove paid sick leave from the Families First Coronavirus […]

Wash Your Hands 2: Antiseptic Boogaloo

Lauren and Greg discuss our government’s (lack of) response to the coronavirus outbreak and the civil rights violations carried out by state police against LGBTQ+ students at the Capitol. Links: WashYourLyrics.com The Advocate: LGBTQ Students Kicked Out of Iowa Capitol Over Restroom Use

Talk Judicial To Me

The legislature gets flushed down the funnel, Joni Ernst sells us out for the NRA (again), and we're joined by Jamie Burch Elliot who gets judicial with us.

Many Unsatisfying Ends

An acquittal by jurors who know he's guilty, a speech full of lies, a primary narrative that shattered like a wine bottle on a high school gym floor and an actual bottle of wine shattering on a high school gym floor. What a week.

The Joke’s On Us, I Guess

75% of voters want to hear new witnesses and John Bolton's out there doing his best Lloyd Dobler impression outside the capitol building but Senators Ernst and Grassley couldn't care less.

And Our Rights We Might Maintain

The anti-choice amendment advanced to the full State Government Committee and passed on a 10-5 party line vote. We talk about that, our press conference on a new bill protecting Iowans with pre-existing conditions and play clips from the 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on Democracy held here in Des Moines this past weekend. Links: Hear […]

The Condition of Our State Is…Meh

Matt and Lauren dive into Governor Reynolds’s Condition of the State address and on Thursday, Lauren attended a hastily called subcommittee meeting at the Iowa legislature trying to slip an amendment to Iowa’s constitution under the public’s nose.

Thank a Union

If you're looking forward to the three day weekend and you appreciate paid sick leave, vacation days, minimum wage, overtime pay or simple things like child labor laws... thank a union!

A conversation with Ed Espinoza

Matt and Lauren discuss State Rep. Steve Holt’s gun range fundraiser held just days after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, and talk with Progress Texas’s Executive Director Ed Espinoza on what life has been like over the past week in Texas.