*The Rev. Al Sharpton has been in Iowa this week launching two new chapters of his civil rights organization National Action Network in advance of the 2012 political season.

“We are opening offices in Waterloo and in Des Moines,” said Rachel Noerdlinger, a spokeswoman for Sharpton, “but we also look forward to having a political presence with the primaries approaching.”

Sharpton’s National Action Network focuses on education and social justice in race-related matters.

Noerdlinger said Sharpton would visit with Iowa pastors this week to build a network as he unveils some of his public policy goals for the next round of elections. The Waterloo and Des Moines offices of NAN will be the first chapters in Iowa.

Sharpton last visited Iowa in October 2004 to encourage black voters in Waterloo to support Democratic candidates, according to the Des Moines Register.