Culver appoints Elderkin to Power Fund, La Seur to Environmental Protection Commission

I love it! Governor Chet Culver announced four appointments today: Shearon Elderkin for the Iowa Power Fund board; Carrie La Seur for the Environmental Protection Commission; John Mathes as the Interim Commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home; and Tomas Rodriguez as Iowa’s State Public Defender. A press release containing some biographical information about the nominees is after the jump.

Earlier this month Iowa Senate Republicans blocked Elderkin’s appointment to the EPC and La Seur’s appointment to the Power Fund board, despite both women’s strong qualifications. I appreciate the governor’s commitment to giving these women the chance to continue their volunteer public service.

Republicans also rejected Gene Gessow, Culver’s nominee to head the state Department of Health and Human Services. It will be interesting to see where Gessow lands.

UPDATE: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement issued a press release on April 30 welcoming the appointments of Elderkin and La Seur. Excerpt:

“We are pleased Gov. Culver is appointing these two individuals who are dedicated to working towards a cleaner environment in Iowa,” said CCI board president Barb Kalbach, “We have full confidence that they have the capacity and leadership to stand up for policies that protect our air and water and serve the common good.”

Press release from Governor Chet Culver’s office:

April 29, 2009

DES MOINES – Today, Governor Chet Culver named four individuals to serve in key positions throughout state government.  The Governor appointed Shearon Elderkin to the Iowa Power Fund Board, Carrie La Seur to the Environmental Protection Commission, John Mathes as the Interim Commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home, and Tomas Rodriguez as Iowa’s State Public Defender.

    “As Governor, I am committed to appointing qualified, dedicated individuals to positions throughout state government,” said Governor Culver. “These four individuals have shown throughout their careers their commitment to Iowans and moving this state forward. I look forward to working with Shearon, Carrie, John and Tomas as together we build a stronger, safer Iowa.”

    Shearon Elderkin, of Cedar Rapids , is a former elementary school teacher and graduate of the University of Iowa who serves on the Friends of the Linn County Conservation Board and served on the Environmental Protection Commission. As one of the 18-members of the Iowa Power Fund Board, she will consider and approve incentives from the state’s fund to help grow and support Iowa ‘s energy independence and alternative energy efforts. Her term begins on May 1st, and she will stand for confirmation before the Iowa Senate next year.

   Carrie La Seur, of Mt. Vernon , is president and founder of Plains Justice, a public interest environmental law center. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. She also served on the Iowa Power Fund Board. As a member of the 9-person Environmental Protection Commission, she will provide policy oversight over the state’s environmental protection efforts. Her term begins on May 1st, and she will stand for confirmation before the Iowa Senate next year.

    John Mathes will serve for a second time as the Interim Commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown .  Mathes is stepping down as Superintendent of the Mt. Pleasant Treatment Facility, where he has served since 2007.  He previously served as Interim Commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home in 2004.  Mathes will serve for one year, in which time Governor Culver will conduct a search and name a permanent Commandant.

    Tomas Rodriguez, as the State Public Defender, will be responsible for coordinating the provision of legal representation to indigent persons under arrest or charged with a crime, in juvenile cases, and on appeal in criminal and post-conviction relief cases.  Rodriguez is the current Chief Public Defender in Marshalltow, where he has served since 2006.  Rodriguez received his bachelor’s degree from St. Ambrose College in Davenport before earning his Juris Doctorate in 1981 from the University of Iowa’s College of Law.  Rodriguez taught for 14 years in the Department of Management at the University of Northern Iowa and has over 24 years of experience of general law practice.  Rodriguez begins his new position on May 15, and will stand for confirmation before the Iowa Senate next year.

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