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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

January 19, 2017 Opinion - 01-19-2017
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Revitalizing small towns and rural Iowa

The Kinney Report

By Sen. Kevin Kinney

I’m proud to represent small towns and rural Iowa. We’ve faced some big challenges in recent years though, with more than 70 counties losing population since 2010.

Rural Iowans need higher wages. Rural businesses need skilled workers and more customers. With bipartisan support, we can help create jobs and economic prosperity across our state. We need the kinds of investments that make people proud to call small-town Iowa home.

Here are a few ideas I’ll be working on this year to turn things around:

· Making sure small rural communities (under 30,000) get their share of state resources for education, job training and economic development efforts that help them capitalize on their strengths and invest in themselves.

· Guaranteeing rural Iowa has access to quality health care and mental health care, including quick response times in emergencies.

·Improving water quality. Iowa has more than 700 impaired waterways. Many communities struggle to provide safe drinking water to local residents. That’s why I’ve supported additional funding for water quality efforts in recent years. This year, we’re ready to bolster monitoring and bring together stakeholders—industry, cities, landowners, septic tank owners—so that we can make real progress toward our long-term clean water goals.

·Encouraging more production and use of renewable energy, like solar, wind and biofuels. Between 2012 and 2016, Iowa’s solar energy tax credit led to more than 2,500 solar energy projects that created more than 700 jobs and investment of more than $130 million.

Additional information

This is a legislative update from State Senator Kevin Kinney, representing Keokuk, Washington and Johnson counties. For bio, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/kinney.

To contact Senator Kinney when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise, he can be reached at 319-631-4667. E-mail him at kevin.kinney@legis.iowa.gov.

Rep. Nielson has first day as Iowa legislator

Rep. Amy Nielson House District 77

State Representative Amy Nielsen of North Liberty during the first day of the 2017 session of the Iowa Legislature which opened on Monday, January 9, 2017 at the State Capitol in Des Moines.

Even though this is my first official week as a legislator, I have already begun working on issues that will help improve the lives of people across Iowa. As of right now, work is being done on a bill to improve bicyclist safety around the state by expanding driver education. One in ten bicyclists report being hit by another vehicle; this bill will help ensure families never have to see their loved ones injured, or worse, while traveling to work or enjoying time with friends.

Throughout the week, I also attended my first Education, Local Government, and State Government committees during the 2017 session. During these meetings I had the opportunity to meet with all of my committee colleagues. In addition to these three standing committees, I am also on the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee.

On Wednesday, I had the honor to walk Governor Branstad onto the house floor for his FINAL viewing of the Condition of the Judiciary address. It was an honor and a privilege to escort the governor to his seat for the final time on the House floor. During Chief Justice Cady’s address, he spoke about improvements to the Juvenile Court System, and improving family law processes to help expedite difficult divorce and child custody proceedings. I was particularly happy to hear how much he credited his successes to the teachings from his mother.

Later on in the week, I was elected as co-chairperson of the Rural Caucus alongside Representative Wes Breckenridge. The Rural Caucus is made up of members across Iowa that represent mostly rural districts.

Many issues are likely to come up this year, but priorities outlined by lawmakers include making K-12 schools the top priority in Iowa again; revitalizing rural Iowa; expanding job training opportunities; raising the minimum wage; improving water quality; expanding early childhood education; and encouraging more production and use of renewable energy.

Many lawmakers said the key to growing Iowa’s economy is building a skilled workforce, which Iowa businesses say is the biggest hurdle they face. That starts with access to quality preschool and continues with a guarantee of affordable job training or college after high school.

2017 Legislative Survey

In an effort to connect with more Iowans, lawmakers are still requesting Iowans participate in a brief survey about the 2017 session. Please click interspire.iowahdc.info/surveys.php?id=35 to complete the survey and share your views.

Branstad to Cut

Millions from

Community Colleges, State Universities

In his annual Condition of the State Address, Governor Terry Branstad said he will cut $35 million this month from Iowa’s 15 community colleges and three state universities. The Governor was forced to take action this week after he previously approved bills and significant tax changes that led to a downturn in Iowa’s economy and declining state revenues.

The higher education cuts were included in his plans to trim $114 million from the state budget in the current fiscal year (FY 17). Other budget cuts identified by the Governor include: $20 million from the Department of Human Services, $15 million from the Department of Corrections, $14 million from Medicaid, and $7.7 million from the Judicial Branch.

In addition to the targeted cuts to state agencies, the Governor is recommending using a total of $33.2 million in ending balances from other funds such as the Taxpayers Trust Fund, to keep the state budget balanced.

Do expectations require ‘attention to’ responsibilities?

Hi Neighbor

By Lois Eckhardt

If you haven’t “picked up on it” sometime or the other, during the past few years reading my columns I’ve decided I should tell you I was an ‘only child’. Not just an only child, but the off-spring of a considerably ‘older’ man—45 years of age at the time of my birth, and his very-easily-considered ‘child’ bride, 20 years younger.

Also, that I was very much expected as I arrived that freezing cold Sunday morning, March 1931. In fact I was anticipated all night long as my mother sat up in a straight chair suffering through the long hours until dawn. It was only then the attending doctor, earlier summoned, could struggle through the huge drift of snow blocking the doorway. To clear the path, my father had crawled out a window in the back storage room of our home (a small, recently converted, barn) and shoveled out to the street.

We often ask ourselves, what is the reason certain things occur as they do: Is it simply fate, a planned event (perhaps gone wrong?), or an anomaly of life? I don’t presume to offer any accurate conclusions to such a multifaceted set of question; but am only willing to report what happened to us when it occurred.

Also being reach towards, here, is the accompanying point of: is there is any relationship between expectations and responsibilities and, if so, what are they?

Expectations may never be brought to light in any particular way other than through parents’ encouragement and support of their children to adapt to a certain generally approved writ of ‘rules and regulations’; a pretty obvious conclusion.

But, in addition, there will also be ‘hoped for’ expectations the child or children will follow in the ‘family footsteps’, adopt a same or similar interest, or chose a certain preferred field of interest. That is where expectation in relation to responsibility can rear its head, causing concern and a varying amount of disagreement.

While that scrawny piece of humanity (eventually known as ‘me’) was arriving that cold winter morning my dad went out and chopped more wood for the heating stove, likely thinking he’d have to warm it up pretty good to keep ‘me’ alive. That I was to survive, and continue to live, was met with concern at more than just that one time, during the ensuing years of my growing up.

If there were ever any additional or more specific expectation made by my parents they never became apparent to me, beyond the usual hoped-for and wished-for upholding of honesty, healthy measures of humility and devotion to duty, and an ability to learn all the many other things considered of propriety.

I doubt, very much either of my parents ever expected me to rise to any vaulted level beyond their realm of knowledge, but they strove to offer me the best support they could financially and materially.

It is my opinion that with such measures provided--every child can reach, by him or herself, a level they are capable of excelling in without requiring the expectations of a parent or guardian to press them for a measure of extraordinary responsibility.

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