Archive for September, 2008

We conducted this interview so you could learn a little more about me, where I stand on the issues, and what challenges I believe the State of Iowa faces moving forward. We’ve posted it to YouTube, so please feel free to share it.


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I am sure the people of Iowa welcomed Speaker Pelosi and are grateful for her first hand accounting, in September, of the damage incurred by our state as a result of the flooding in early June of this year. It was good to see her putting in some quality time with us.

Congressional leadership, personified by Speaker Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid, has responded to the flooding and the personal anguish of Iowa families and businesses in a curious way. Their most notable achievement, to date, has been to go on vacation and attend cocktail parties rather than discuss help for Iowans stricken by the floods of 2008.  

Our congressional delegation, in a bipartisan way, has objected to this “approach” to relief; but leadership insisted on some time off for the “hard working” members of Congress. So, a vacation is what has occurred, thus far. I am in hopes that they will work diligently to make up for lost time and help our fellow citizens. But, the saga continues…we’ll see, I guess.

The sad fact is, the only relief our fellow citizens have seen, to date, is help from their neighbors, through the local governments of Polk County and the City of Des Moines and associated non-profits like the Neighborhood Finance Corporation and the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.  So far, REO Speedwagon and a local casino have proven to be a more effective agency for flood relief than the U.S. Congress or the Iowa Legislature combined. That’s the good news, I suppose.

The bad news is that the entities with the resources to help our stricken brothers and sisters across Iowa are the Federal government and the State of Iowa. Both have exhibited, so far, a spectacular level of incompetence and indifference. Their bureaucracies are too ponderous and too thick to have done anyone any good, at least up to this point. It’s breathtaking, really.

The responsibility lies at the doorstep of the Governor’s office, the legislative leadership and Congressional leadership.  In their zeal to blame all things evil on various Republicans, they’ve taken their eye off the ball and let our fellow Iowans “twist in the wind.” There are literally families still living in campers outside their homes…three months after the natural disaster. There are still block upon block of abandoned homes and businesses in Cedar Rapids three months later…and the only work that’s apparent are the grey shirted volunteers moving from place to place. Three months! Maybe it’s just me, but this seems a little outrageous.

This isn’t the fault of the local governments or the people here in Iowa. It’s simply the nature of huge bureaucracies. They are too big, too unresponsive and too dedicated to empire building and CYA. The result is the tortoise-like pace with which our flood victims are subjected. In 2006 we heard all about the “change” in Washington. We’re hearing it again this year.

This is the “change” we’ve been waiting for?

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