Karen Kubby

From KeyWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Karen Kubby

Karen Kubby has been a councilperson on the Iowa City Council. She was also the Executive Director of the Emma Goldman Clinic for Women. She has been a community activist since 1979.

She served 11 years (1989-00) as Iowa City council member, and directed Emma Goldman Clinic (1999-08). Co-owner with her sister, Laurel, of Dawn’s Hide & Bead Away across from Englert Theatre, she teaches, creates, and sells pottery, craftwork and jewelry. She first lived in Iowa City during 1970-72 while her father taught ROTC. Since returning in 1978, her impact on local political life has mushroomed, especially “green” and “progressive” causes. After two unsuccessful candidacies, her election to city council brought ascendancy of her voice for socialism and liberalism locally and beyond.[1]


Kubby has been heavily involved in activism in Iowa since 1979 including standing on picket lines with local labor unions and advocating for environmental protection, affordable housing, supporting the public library, and a variety of other human rights issues.[2]

Fair Rent Coalition

In 1983 Karen Kubby was a spokesman for the Fair Rent Coalition. Don Doumakes was Chairman.[3]

Iowa City Committee on Community Needs

In 1985 Dave Leshtz, Reginald Williams, and Karen Kubby were all members of the Iowa City Committee on Community Needs.[4]

Greetings to Prairie Progressive


Those who sent 1986 Labor Day greetings to Iowa City Democratic Socialists of America's Prairie Progressive included Jan Corderman, Dave Leshtz, Karen Kubby, John Schacht, David Tucker, Tom Jacobs, Sheldon Pollock, Ross Atkinson, Karen Massetti-Miller, Dennis Harbaugh, Rick Taylor, Larry Ross, Tom Matthews, Diane Decker, Dennis Ryan, Jesse Singerman, Kathy Mitchell, Steve Marsden, Janet Lyness, Peter Fisher, Jean White, Mary Wyckoff, Dow Voss, Jeff Cox.

Kubby for Council

The Daily Iowan, December 9, 1988

In 1988 Jeff Cox was Treasurer for Karen Kubby's Kubby for Council.[5]

DSA contribution

In 1990, Iowa City Councilor, Karen Kubby, contributed an article to the Iowa Democratic Socialists of America journal, The Prairie Progressive on "Time to Re-Cycle Council Thinking?[6]

"Fair share housing"

In 1997, Jim Throgmorton and Karen Kubby went to various local groups to promote the concept of "fair share housing."

It was a form of mandatory inclusionary zoning that would require any new development to incorporate housing for people living at a lower income. This would create equity by spreading out affordable housing throughout the community. Kubby first started working and commenting on affordable housing as an organizer for the Fair Rent Coalition.[7]

Socialist Party USA Involvement

Kubby has served on the SP-USA National Committee since 1980.[8] In 2001, David McReynolds' 2000 campaign team organized a "Draft Kubby" effort for the 2004 campaign for presidency of the Socialist Party USA. However Kubby indicated that she is more inclined to run in 2008 or 2012.[9]

Socialist Party 100 years old

The Socialist Party USA celebrated its 100th Anniversary on Saturday July 28 2001, with a conference in Milwaukee, WI. One of the main speakers was Frank Zeidler, the party's Chairman Emeritus who served three terms as Milwaukee's openly Socialist mayor during the Cold War years of 1948 through 1960.

The other speakers at the conference were SP-USA Co-Chair Susan Dorazio, a child care activist from Massachusetts; former National Director of Democratic Socialists of America and organizer for the April 2000 anti-IMF rally in Washington D.C., Horace Small; and three-term Iowa City Councilwoman, Karen Kubby. The forum will be moderated by Erin Lares,18, Vice Chair of the Young People's Socialist League.[10]

Socialist Scholars Conference

David McReynolds, Co-Chair, Socialist Party USA, Sara Bowling, Labor Organizer, Socialist Party USA, Karen Kubby, Councilperson, Iowa City and John Martin Winter, Socialist Party USA were speakers on the Socialism in Our Time: Where is the Socialist Party Now? panel sponsored by the Socialist Party USA at the Tenth Annual Socialist Scholars Conference. The conference was held April 24-26, 1992 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York City[11]

Bernie Sanders fundraiser

During the summer and fall of 2006 Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee helped DSA activists around the country, “from San Diego up to Maine” to host house parties to raise funds that helped Bernie Sanders become the sole Socialist in the U.S. Senate.

On October 8, Jeff Cox of DSA and Karen Kubby of the Socialist Party USA teamed up to hold a house party in Iowa City. Cox reported, “We had about 20, including a number of old DSA ex-members and labor activists that I hadn’t seen for a long time.....[12]

Emma Goldman Clinic for Women

Karen Kubby serves as the Executive Director of the Iowa City Emma Goldman Clinic for Women, an abortion clinic providing abortions up to 20 weeks among other services. The clinic offers the following services to ensure easy access to abortion and other services for young people or low-income women:

  • Half price gynecology services for teens
  • Discounted services for students
  • Free pregnancy testing and options counseling
  • Reduced fee abortion services for women living on lower incomes
  • Additionally reduced fee abortion services for women on Title XIX[13]

In Jan. 2006 Kubby reported, according to the DailyIowan.com that her clinic had "raised enough money last year... to subsidize 1,143 abortions"[14]

Independent Progressive Politics Network

In 2009 Karen Kubby served on the National Steering Committee of the Independent Progressive Politics Network[15].

Water Activism

Kubby stated in an October 2006 interview, "Water is [the] next big issue. It’s the next oil. It already is but I don’t think people recognize it. It will be much more overt.”[16]

Karen Kubby and husband Joe Bolkcom

Draft Sanders

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont politician who is a self-described democratic socialist, is the focus of a draft for president committee in Johnson County. A press release from the group says it wants him to run for president as a Democrat in the 2016 Iowa caucuses.

The steering committee members include Karen Kubby, Jeff Cox, Wally Plahutnik, Doug Baynton, Caroline Dieterle, Paul Street, and Duncan Stewart. The group plans an organizing meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Iowa City Public Library.

Conor Boylan and Steve Cobble of the Progressive Democrats of America are scheduled to speak at the meeting to discuss efforts to build a national campaign to persuade Sanders to run.[17]


Karen Kubby was married until 2011, to Iowan State Senator Joe Bolkcom. In 2002 Kubby declined to run for the presidency of the Socialist Party USA stating that she did not want to do anything that would interfere with the plans of her husband to possibly run for Congress in 2004.[18]