Kamala Harris to host training sessions on Iowa college campuses

The campaign of Sen. Kamala Harris will host a training program April 16-18 for students at the University of Iowa and other college campuses across Iowa.


Nick Rohlman

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during a during a recording of the Political Party Live podcast at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids on Sunday Feb. 24, 2019.

Julia DiGiacomo, Politics Reporter

Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential-nomination campaign will host training sessions on college campuses in Iowa to inform students about the Iowa political processes and the California senator’s run for president, the campaign announced March 28.

The program, called Camp Kamala, will accept applications from students and young adults until April 13; the sessions will take place April 16-18 at the University of Iowa, Iowa State, University of Northern Iowa, Drake, and Des Moines Area Community College.

“Students and young people in Iowa are going to play a critical organizing role in the caucuses,” Harris said in a March 27 press release.

The Harris campaign is reaching out to young Iowans because of their high stake in political change for the future, Kamala Harris Iowa communications director Miryam Lipper said. She said young people in Iowa are especially politically engaged because they understand that they will eventually deal with ramification of decisions made today.

“The campaign here in Iowa knows that students are going to play a critical role organizing ahead of the caucuses next year,” she said.“We hope that by organizing early, the campaign not only shows how much we value student’s and young adult’s contributions to the campaign and the electoral process, it also gives students and young Iowans the opportunity to have their voices heard earlier in the election than normal.”

In the 2018 midterm elections, Iowa had a decade-high turnout rate for Iowa’s largest voting bloc — voters between the ages of 18 and 35. Efforts to attract young voters flooded college campuses in 2018, with groups such as Democratic-leaning NextGen manning tables across the University of Iowa to register passersby to vote. Harris will court Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa ahead of the caucuses Feb. 3, 2020, not all voters.

During the training sessions, Lipper said, students and young adults will learn how to organize in their networks ahead of the caucuses. Camp Kamala will also be an opportunity for students to get to know more about Harris and her presidential campaign, she said.

“It’s a very specific skill set to be able to tell your personal story about why you’re supporting a particular candidate and organizing your community members, whether that be on campus during the summer or back in your hometown,” Lipper said.

She said the Harris campaign is the first campaign to host a youth community-organizing training program in Iowa.

Harris announced her candidacy on Jan. 21, and she has made two campaign tours of Iowa since. She stopped at the UI before the midterms to campaign for then-secretary of state candidate Deidre DeJear. Other candidates have visited campus as well. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both hosted rallies at the IMU.

Lipper said applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as they come in, depending on how people many eventually apply.

“Our campaign is working to organize young Iowans who are the future of the country,” Will Dubbs, the Kamala Harris Iowa state director, said in a March 27 press release. “I am proud that we will be able to utilize the excitement around Kamala’s campaign heading into the critical summer months.”