Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
|Motto||We talk. We act. We get it done.|
|Headquarters||Des Moines, Iowa|
|Affiliations||National People's Action|
CCI's stated mission is to "empower and unite grassroots people of all ethnic backgrounds to take control of their communities; involve them in identifying problems and needs and in taking action to address them; and be a vehicle for social, economic, and environmental justice."
CCI was formed in 1975 by a group of ministers in Waterloo, Iowa who felt Iowa needed an organization to fight for social justice issues. CCI began by focusing mainly on neighborhood-level organizing, but soon grew into a state-wide organization. Early issues addressed by CCI members included misuse of public funds, slum landlords, and the practice of redlining. Notable victories from the 1970s included the establishment of the Peoples Community Health Clinic in Waterloo, passage of the state-wide Iowa Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, and the state Neighborhood Revitalization Law.
As Iowans faced the Midwest farm crisis of the 1980s, CCI members added rural issues to their urban organizing. CCI members stopped farm foreclosures, renegotiated mortgages, and helped family farmers gain access to much-needed credit. In the 1990s, as agriculture began to be ever more tightly controlled by corporate interests with the appearance of factory farms and the mandatory pork checkoff, CCI members led efforts to block these actions.
CCI made national news in August 2011 when members questioned Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a soapbox appearance at the Iowa State Fair, leading Romney to respond, "Corporations are people, my friend." Video footage of this remark was picked up by media outlets as an indication that Romney was out of touch with ordinary Americans.
CCI members continue to organize against factory farms today, but also work to regulate payday lending, institute public campaign financing in the form of Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections (VOICE), and defend the social safety net, among other campaigns to fight corporate power.
CCI was criticized by Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky for using behavior that is "unproductive, embarrassing, and has no place in a serious debate" including physical altercations with elected officials such as Senator Charles Grassley.
- Iowa Independent
- The Nation