Elizabeth Warren endorsed by prominent Iowa Democrat

John Norris worked for former Gov. Tom Vilsack and ran the campaign for 2004 caucus winner John Kerry

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a town hall rally Nov. 16 at Taft Middle School in Cedar Rapids. The Democratic presidenti
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a town hall rally Nov. 16 at Taft Middle School in Cedar Rapids. The Democratic presidential hopeful, who has been endorsed by former Iowa Democratic Party chairman John Norris, will return to Cedar Rapids on Saturday for a town hall as CSPS Hall. (David Harmantas/Freelance)

John Norris, a leading voice in Iowa progressive agriculture and politics, has endorsed Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Norris’ roots in Iowa Democratic politics stretch back to the early days of former Gov. Tom Harkin’s career through the Vilsack administration to his own run for governor and running John Kerry’s successful 2004 caucus campaign.

“I’m endorsing Elizabeth for president because she’s put the fight for economic and social justice at the core of her candidacy,” Norris said. “We must end the power the wealthy exert over our government and economy, and I have complete confidence that Elizabeth will fight for that every single day as our president.”

Warren’s plans for leveling the playing field for family farmers, investing in rural America and a new farm economy were developed in consultation with Norris.

When he ran for Iowa governor in 2018 on a platform of rural and agricultural regeneration, Norris was profiled in The Nation as the guy who “knows how Democrats can win back rural America.”

Warren’s tradition of prairie populism — “the bravery to call out the corruption that holds back hardworking people and the vision to offer an alternative” — convinced Norris to endorse her.

“She’s calling for the big, structural change we need to ensure opportunity for all — and she can get it done,” he said.


Norris, a Red Oak native, began his political career four decades ago as an aide to then-U.S. Rep. Tom Harkin, who went on to serve 30 years in the Senate. He is a past chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party and served as Iowa state director for Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, Tom Harkin’s 1992 campaign and Kerry’s 2004 campaign.

He also was chief of staff during Tom Vilsack’s tenure as Iowa governor for eight years and then as U.S. agriculture secretary during the Obama administration. He also served on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and as U.S. minister-counselor to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program.

Norris will join Warren on Saturday when she campaigns in Cedar Rapids at a town hall meeting at CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE. Doors open at 2 p.m. The event starts at 3:30 p.m.

Norris joins rural advocates Art Cullen of the Storm Lake Times, the late Iowa U.S. Rep. Berkley Bedell, former state Reps. Mark Kuhn and Kurt Swain, rural activist Denise O’Brien and community placemaker Zack Mannheimer in endorsing Warren.

For more about Warren, go here.

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