Which Iowa do our representatives want?

One public worker’s response to the Republican assault on collective bargaining rights. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I’m a state employee and an AFSCME member. My husband and I moved here four years ago from another state. He worked for a not for profit organization and was the mayor of the town where we lived. I was the executive director of a statewide organization. We both have master’s degrees and have good reputations nationally in our prospective fields.

We moved to Iowa because we saw the state as a place where our education, experience and commitment to quality work would be valued and rewarded.

I now work for the state in a department that serves an extremely vulnerable population. I’ve managed multiple programs and large project and do research. My husband teaches and is a doctoral candidate at Iowa State. It was his goal to teach in Iowa’s university system because of the excellent reputation that they have on a national level.

The people that I work with are some of the most talented and committed people I’ve ever met. They’re among some of the best in their respective fields. My department is highly respected among its peers across the country and other states look to us as an example of innovation and quality in our programming. I’ve been offered opportunities in other, much bigger states, but I’m extremely proud to be part of that department and intended to stay where I am.

With House File 291 on collective bargaining and the corresponding Senate bill, along with attacks on higher education funding and tenure, Iowa stands to lose its ability to attract and retain the best workforce in the country and will, therefore lose its stature as a model to emulate across the nation. This is not just true of our white collar workers, but all the workers I’ve met since coming to work for the state. The commitment to serve and to do work we can be proud of is impressive from department heads to receptionists to groundskeepers.

My husband and I see the opportunity that we moved here for disappearing right before our eyes in just a matter of weeks. So I guess what I need to ask the Iowa House, as they seek to strip away my collective bargaining rights, is what they want their legacy for Iowa to be?

Do they want Iowa to be the state that sets the standard for other states to strive for or the a state that people make joke about like some of our neighboring states?

The state that talented people move to because of the opportunity found here, or the state that people (including their children and grandchildren) leave because there’s no longer opportunity for them?

I hope they have the courage to break with their colleagues, who, by the way, have a four-year election cycle as opposed to a two year cycle, stand with Iowa workers and vote no on House File 291.

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  • Exactly right

    Thanks for sharing this. This is a cruel and senseless attack on what has made Iowa a great place to live.

  • Does ISU deserve its good national reputation?

    I moved to Story County from another state four decades ago. Since then I have watched Iowa State University become increasingly affected by the massive political clout of industrial agriculture. These days, ISU seems thoroughly enmeshed in water politics and Iowa’s farm-pollution policy debacle. I’m told that researchers need to be very careful or risk their careers. Maybe the situation is even worse in other states. But one way or another, ISU is not the institution I used to think it was.