Robin Johnson

Host of Heartland Politics

Robin A. Johnson is a governmental relations, public policy and political consultant. He is an expert on government reform issues and has consulted with numerous local governments on consolidation/merger, public-private partnerships and full-cost accounting of public services. Robin has also helped candidates win elections for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, state legislature, judiciary and local government. Robin served as a consultant to the Office of Statewide Performance Review in the Illinois Governor’s Office and is former director of the Illinois Center for Competitive Government, a partnership between the Illinois Comptroller’s Office and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. Prior to that, he was Director of the Local Government Affairs Division of the Illinois Comptroller’s Office. Robin served on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) in 1999-2000.

  Governor Kim Reynolds talks about her Condition of the State speech delivered this week. She discusses her major initiatives on schools, health care, broadband, workforce training, licensing reform and criminal justice.

Jon Fasman, US Digital Editor and former Washington correspondent for The Economist magazine, talks about the Capitol riots, police response, the 25th Amendment, hateful slogans and flags used by rioters, the fallout among Republicans, and the global response. He also provides analysis on the Georgia Senate elections and the rising spread of misinformation and its impact on democracy.

Libby Meyer, Federal Reporter for Iowa Starting Line, talks about the contested Iowa 2nd congressional district race and the autopsy report on the 2020 Iowa caucuses, two major stories bookending a strange and unpredictable year in Iowa politics.


  Scott Eyman talks about his latest book, Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, and how the Hollywood star’s tragic upbringing shaped his career and life. The discussion includes Grant’s death in Davenport in 1986 as well as his rise to stardom, top performances and other topics.

John Barry, author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, discusses his landmark book and lessons for dealing with the current coronavirus pandemic. He also discusses the individuals involved during that time, from scientists to business leaders to elected officials, and how their efforts aided or held back addressing the pandemic.

Ross DeVol, President and CEO of Heartland Forward, a new ‘think and do’ think tank devoted to improving economic performance in the middle of the country, talks about how former factory towns and rural areas can revitalize their economies. He also discusses how to promote small business retention and growth, entrepreneurialism, globalization and tech.

Josh Kraushaar, political reporter for the National Journal and host of the Against the Grain podcast, talks about the 2020 election, Trump’s legacy, realignment, polling, white working class voters and the role of the news media.

Dante Chinni, a political writer for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News contributor, analyzes the 2020 election results including the differences among American suburbs and Latino voters as well as challenges facing both parties moving forward. Chinni also directs the American Communities Project at George Washington University.

Amanda Vinicky, WTTW Chicago Tonight correspondent and former political reporter for NPR Illinois and the Illinois public radio network, talks about the 2020 election results in Illinois and the impact on state government in 2021. She provides analysis on the Fair Tax Amendment, Justice Kilbride retention, the role of Speaker Madigan and much more.

Erin Murphy, Des Moines Bureau Chief for Lee Enterprises, talks about the election results in Iowa from the presidential race down to the state legislature. He His analysis includes a discussion of polls, strategy, demographic trends and whether Iowa remains a battleground state or is more firmly red (Republican).