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What A Week

103 EpisodesProduced by Progress IowaWebsite

James Simmons from Progress Iowa break down the big headlines of the week in Iowa and national politics and talks with leaders from around the state about issues Iowans care about.Text JOIN to 515-417-3320 for text message updates from Progress Iowa.Have a question or want to hear a certain issue ad… read more

103 Episodes | 2019 - 2022

The Significance of Black Lives Matter Pt. 2 - Discussion

February 28th, 2022


Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, on this special, two-part edition to discuss "The Significance of Black Lives Matter" Forum hosted by the University of Northern Iowa's …

The Significance of Black Lives Matter Pt. 1 - Forum

February 27th, 2022


Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, on this special, two-part edition to discuss "The Significance of Black Lives Matter" Forum hosted by the University of Northern Iowa's …

Tax Plans Explained with Senator Pam Jochum

February 6th, 2022


Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, to break down this week's news and hear from a tax expert to help us make sense of all the tax plans coming from the Iowa Capital. Later in …

Democratic Leader, Senator Zach Wahls

January 30th, 2022


Join "What a Week" host James Simmons, Progress Iowa's Deputy Press Secretary, to break down this week's news and to hear from Iowa Senator and Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, who joins us to discuss workers' …

Roe v Wade 49th Anniversary

January 23rd, 2022


January 22nd, 2022 is the 49th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion access nationally. Host James Simmons speaks with Iowa House Ranking Member on the Human …

House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst

January 16th, 2022


Join James Simmons, Progress Iowa's new Deputy Press Secretary, and Iowa House Representative and Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst in discussing …

Meet the Team Edition

January 9th, 2022


Join James Simmons, Progress Iowa's new Deputy Press Secretary, and meet the new Progress Iowa team! 


Theme Song: "What a Week" Lyrics and music by Lily Noel and James Simmons Produced by Lily Noel

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Roe on the Ropes

December 4th, 2021


Matt and Ivy discuss the Supreme Court challenge to Roe v Wade, Iowa's increasing COVID numbers, the latest school shooting that our leaders refuse …

Building it Back Again

November 22nd, 2021


Matt and Ivy discuss the rollercoaster of a week with the highs of the Build Back Better Act passing the House and the John Deere UAW strike ending …

Build it Back!

November 6th, 2021


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 …

Oh Deere.

October 16th, 2021


Workers at 14 John Deere plants across the country walked out after their union, the United Auto Workers, rejected an unacceptable contract offer …

Give it up, Chuck!

September 25th, 2021


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 …

Everyone Needs a Labor Union

August 30th, 2021


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 …

Back to School

August 21st, 2021


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 …

Deep Fried COVID

August 14th, 2021


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 …

Delta, Delta, Delta.

August 7th, 2021


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 …

The Supreme Stakes

July 24th, 2021


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 …

Please, Think of the Children!

July 17th, 2021


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 …

Time's Up for Chuck

June 26th, 2021


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 …

Petty Unemployment Politics

June 12th, 2021


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 …

Happy Pride Month!

June 5th, 2021


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 …

No One Likes A Bragger + Edward-Isaac Dovere

May 29th, 2021


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 …

This is the End

May 22nd, 2021


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.

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The Bully in Chief ft. Sen. Zach Wahls

May 15th, 2021


Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls (D-Coralville) joins Matt 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 …

Get Vaccinated, Iowa!

May 1st, 2021


Matt and Ivy discuss President Biden's address to Congress, Iowa's supply/demand issue with COVID vaccines, Governor Reynolds's bizarre admission …

13 Years Old.

April 17th, 2021


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 …

Kim Reynolds is Our Problem

April 11th, 2021


Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds's "not my problem" moment when discussing immigrants, the press conference from AFSCME around workplace safety …

Flush it down the funnel

April 3rd, 2021


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 …

The Extreme 16

March 27th, 2021


State Rep. and Assistant Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst join Ivy and Matt to bust this year's Extreme 16 Bracket: Bad Bill Edition.


Stop the Madness!

March 21st, 2021


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" …

Help is on the way!

March 13th, 2021


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 …

Down the Funnel We Go!

March 6th, 2021


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 …

Slash and Burn

February 27th, 2021


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 …

Republicans Don't Want You To Vote

February 20th, 2021


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 …

Race to the Bottom

February 13th, 2021


Ivy and Matt talk about Governor Reynolds's bizarre fundraising pitches around her COVID response and literally auctioning her time off to the …

Don't Tread on My Jeans

February 6th, 2021


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!

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It's Burn It All Down Week

January 30th, 2021


Matt and Ivy discuss the horrible bills moving through the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds's refusal to take responsibility for our state's …

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

January 23rd, 2021


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 …

How Low Can We Go?

January 16th, 2021


Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds's Condition of the State address and agenda, the death penalty bill that passed a subcommittee vote despite …

Treason, Terror, and a Silver Lining

January 9th, 2021


We're back for the first episode of 2021. It feels so good to leave such a toxic and tumultuous year behind for... oh...

Matt and Ivy discuss the …

The 8th Annual Progress Iowa Holiday Party!

December 22nd, 2020


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. …

Kim Reynolds's White Flag of Surrender

December 5th, 2020


Matt and Ivy discuss Governor Reynolds latest COVID press conference, the apparent end of the Hart/Miller-Meeks race in #IA02 (every vote counts, …

Secretary Dolly Parton?

November 27th, 2020


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 …

Iowa needs a mask mandate

November 14th, 2020


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.

Health care is on the ballot. VOTE.

November 2nd, 2020


Matt and Ivy discuss the news of the most recent week to feel like 50 years and share stories of Iowans with pre-existing conditions to remind you …

Close the Boyfriend Loophole!

October 24th, 2020


Matt and Ivy discuss the final presidential debate, the Senate Judicial Committee's vote on Amy Coney Barrett, the 545 migrant children still …

Donald and Kim. Two Beans in a Pod.

October 17th, 2020


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 …

Talking About Talkers Talking

October 10th, 2020


The buzz (get it?) is over the one and only Vice Presidential debate, as well as a debate between Congresswoman Cindy Axne and her challenger David …

A hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck

October 3rd, 2020


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 …

Losing a Legend

September 26th, 2020


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 …

Yes, Iowans DO Want Healthcare!

September 20th, 2020


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 …

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

September 13th, 2020


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 …

The Corn Feed Goes Virtual

September 4th, 2020


Insert kernel jokes here. On Tuesday, Progress Iowa held it's sixth annual Corn Feed. For obvious reasons, this year's event was held online. We were joined by special guests such as: Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Katie Porter …

Back to school whether we like it or not

August 28th, 2020


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 …

Stacey Walker on Conditions in Cedar Rapids

August 21st, 2020


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 …

A Hurricane in Iowa

August 15th, 2020


Just when you thought the news couldn't get any bigger, hurricane force winds devastated parts of the midwest. A rare derecho storm ripped up trees, …

No, President Trump can’t delay the election

July 31st, 2020


Matt's back! Our fearless leader took a break from the sleepless nights of early fatherhood to talk about Kim Reynolds' latest approval ratings on …

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

July 24th, 2020


Lyz Lenz is back!

Ashley Hinson endorses Abby Finkenauer's positions but forgets to tell everyone, and Governor Reynolds straight up lies about the …

Live from the Red Zone

July 17th, 2020


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. This after the Vice President called Iowa's response a …

Hear No Outbreak, See No Outbreak

July 10th, 2020


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 …

Healthcare Roundtable with Sen. Claire Celsi

June 27th, 2020


On Thursday, Progress Iowa partnered with Iowa Voices to hold a roundtable discussion on the future of the Affordable Care Act with Iowa State …

The pandemic isn’t over just because you’re tired of it

May 29th, 2020


On Lauren's last show 😭 she and Matt discuss the latest moves by Governor Reynolds to open the state and hide the number of new COVID-19 cases at …

Parades and Pandemics with Lyz Lenz

May 22nd, 2020


Matt and Lauren are joined by Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist and author Lyz Lenz to discuss the news of the week and the state of our fine state.

Kim’s COVID Casino

May 15th, 2020


Mike Pence just wouldn't stay away and now our Governor is in "modified quarantine." That's not stopping her from forcing Iowa to re-open during one …

Go Home, Mike Pence

May 9th, 2020


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 …

Every Week Feels Like a Year

May 1st, 2020


Our peak is 2-3 weeks away (after being 2 weeks away 4 weeks ago) but time is meaningless and viruses apparently respect county borders so IT'S ALL …

Rural Iowa Braces for Impact

April 24th, 2020


Progress Iowa held a virtual town hall to discuss the impact of COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on rural Iowa. The town hall was broadcast on Facebook Live and featured former Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge, …

We're the "Bad Neighbor" Now

April 17th, 2020


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 …

Kim Reynolds is NOT a Faith Leader

April 10th, 2020


Still no shelter-in-place order as of Governor Reynolds' press conference Thursday, but at least the bowling alleys are closed now.

Our friend …

Kim Reynolds is NOT a Doctor

April 4th, 2020


Iowa is one of the last states in the nation not to have a shelter-in-place order to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Reynolds' …

Sorry Grandma, Goldman Needs a Good Q2

March 27th, 2020


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 …

Be Brave, Stay Home

March 20th, 2020


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 …

Wash Your Hands 2: Antiseptic Boogaloo

March 14th, 2020


Lauren and Greg discuss our government's (lack of) response to the coronavirus outbreak and the civil rights violations carried out by state police …

🎵 It's Ladies Week and the Feeling's Bleek 🎵

March 6th, 2020


Wash your hands, fund our schools, get some big progressive energy, and according to Merriam-Webster, searches for ‘misogyny’ are up 2400%.


Talk Judicial To Me

February 28th, 2020


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 …

I, Gladys Kravitz, do solemnly swear...

February 14th, 2020


Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are doing thier best Gladys Kravitz impressions through some pretty terrible bills that range from stupid to cruel.

Then Lauren updates us where the anti-abortion rights amendment is …

Many Unsatisfying Ends

February 7th, 2020


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 …

The Joke's On Us, I Guess

February 1st, 2020


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 …

And Our Rights We Might Maintain

January 24th, 2020


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 …

The Condition of Our State is...Meh.

January 17th, 2020


Matt and Lauren dive into Governor Reynolds's Condition of the State address and on Thursday, Lauren attended a hastily called subcommittee meeting …

A Tall Glass of Haterade

January 10th, 2020


We have a big e-mail list. Not everyone who's on it is friendly. 
For the first episode of 2020 we take you through the greatest (worst?) hits of our inbox so far. We've bleeped the worst of the swears but this episode …

What a Holiday Party!

December 20th, 2019


Thursday night was Progress Iowa's annual Holiday Party. This year we posthumously honored Robin Stone for her work on behalf of Iowans with …

Joni Ernst, Call Your Office!

December 6th, 2019


Joni Ernst backs an unqualified judicial nominee, abandons domestic violence survivors, and might have (probably) broken the law. What a week.

Matt …

WTF Jeff Kaufmann

November 22nd, 2019


Trump holds court, forgetting to remember, Iowa loses a hero, and WTF Jeff Kaufmann. – what a week.

Here's a fact check for Chairman Kaufmann. The

The Boyfriend Loophole is Heteronormative

November 15th, 2019


Joni Ernst refuses to reauthorize VAWA, DREAMers get their day in court, and Trump is in big trouble – what a week.

Matt's in DC so WAW producer Greg Hauenstein trades the mixing board for microphone to talk with Lauren …

Rockin' the Suburbs

November 8th, 2019


Matt and Lauren discuss the election results from Virginia, Kentucky, and right here in Polk County, Iowa.

They are then joined by two of the …

Labor Strikes Back

November 1st, 2019


Matt and Lauren discuss the results of Iowa's public employee union recertification elections, Senators Ernst and Grassley's votes against outlawing …

Quid Pro QuOMG

October 25th, 2019


An earlier version of this podcast had an editing error. All good now. What a week, indeed.
Matt and Lauren talk about the upcoming recertification elections for Iowa's public employee unions and why they're even a …

They Just Do Crimes on TV Now, We Guess

October 18th, 2019


Joni Ernst takes a dive, Zuckerberg thinks he’s MLK, a record-setting debate, and the White House admitted to everything so can this please just be over now? What a week.

Rest in Power, Congressman Elijah Cummings.

You Blew It, Joni!

October 11th, 2019


Fat Bear Week isn't the only hairy situation Matt and Lauren talk about this week. We meet the new boss in the Iowa State House, Joni Ernst had one …

What Happened to Voting Rights This Week?

October 4th, 2019


Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald explains the good and bad of this week's big court ruling on voting rights in our state.

Matt and Lauren also …

The Power of Your Story

September 27th, 2019


Iowa Voices Executive Director Emily Holley joins Lauren to talk about some other headlines of the week and heap praise on their two favorite women …

Strikes, Drugs, and Taxes

September 23rd, 2019


Progress Iowa had a table at a local meeting of the Alliance for Retired Americans. While there they sat down with retired UAW retiree Wayne …

ABC... Are You Ok?

September 13th, 2019


Matt and Lauren talk about the Democratic debate in Houston which was heavy on people but light on some big issues, a new study shows the contributions DACA recipients make to our economy, and we reconvene the Lyz Lenz …

Joni Ernst Grabs the Third Rail

September 6th, 2019


"Congressman says he enjoyed drinking toilet water" isn't a sentence you thought you'd ever read... but here we are. What a week.


Thank a Union

August 30th, 2019


This week Matt and Lauren talk about the struggles workers have had to face from their own government here in Iowa. It's been a rough couple years since Republicans in the legislature teamed up with corporate lobbyists …

Swiss Cheese Gun Laws

August 23rd, 2019


Matt and Lauren talk about Sen. Joni Ernst's town hall and State Fair visit over the weekend with Iowa Voices Executive Director Emily Holley and …

Dear America, Sorry About Steve King

August 16th, 2019


Iowa's 4th District Congressman shot his mouth off again and the national press took notice. 

Matt and Lauren talk about the reaction to Steve King's latest offensive comments, Presidential candidates at the Iowa State …

A conversation with Ed Espinoza

August 12th, 2019


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 …

Sounds of Progress

August 2nd, 2019


The Sound of Progress is the follow up to last year's Reynolds Pamphlet and is playing at the Des Moines Performing Arts Center on Thursday, August …


July 26th, 2019


Lauren and Matt break down the big headlines of the week. Governor Reynolds stonewalls the public on why she fired DHS Director Foxhoven, Robert …

What a Corn Feed

July 19th, 2019


Matt and Lauren discuss the headlines of the week, recap the Progress Iowa Corn Feed and share clips from their exclusive interviews with 10 of the 11 presidential candidates that attended the event.

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