Supervisor Brent Oleson

County Leaders Against Partisan Attack On Collective Bargaining

Linn County Board of Supervisors Chair Brent Oleson submitted this written statement in lieu of a speaking slot at this evening’s Iowa Legislature Public Hearing on Collective Bargaining Changes. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I graduated Burlington High School in 1989. I said then and I say now, that Mr. David Wendt was the best teacher I ever had. He had a huge impact on my life. He just retired last year from Keokuk High School with more than 35 years of service, with a pension he earned and the satisfaction of having educated and positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands young Iowans. The most important concept he taught me was to truly critically think….to critically think, an invaluable skill.

Mr. Wendt was my speech and debate coach. I blame him for driving the two hours here to speak for 3 minutes. Mr. Wendt always said, if you don’t stand up and say something well-informed, intelligent and persuasive, then the status quo, good or bad…or very bad, will win the day.

I’m not here as some political stooge for the unions and I’m not here as some stooge for the now in-vogue anti-union groups. As an elected official in Iowa’s second largest county and city, I have been on the management side of negotiating contracts for the taxpayers. I wasn’t able to secure an endorsement from AFSCME this last election, presumably because I took my high school teacher seriously when he encouraged us to truly develop our abilities to critically think. As a negotiator for management of Linn County, I operate in the realm of negotiating in good faith for a win-win outcome for the taxpayers and those providing the services that the taxpayers demand and prioritize. In my 8 years we have never once went to arbitration. Not once. We have never once given away the store either. Quite the contrary.

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(The author has been a Linn County Supervisor since 2009 and previously worked with the Iowa Senate Minority leader. Bleeding Heartland discussed the bipartisan effort to increase REAP funding to $25 million here. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I'm gonna go on a rant...about an attempted RAPE.

Yes, I mean every word and hyperbole I'm uttering on this post. REAP (Resource Enhancement & Protection) is being RAPED! For correct it's mistakes in a supposedly free and private market of farming. How is this rape of taxpayer funds and DNR license plate fees occurring and for what specifically? Read on My friends. 

The Iowa House of Representatives wants to put REAP dollars toward... agri-terrace projects, forestry management (subject to logging), and water nutrient pollution clean-up programs because farmland soil is laden with fertilizer chemicals. These are all worthy issues to be addressed on their own I say, and should indeed be addressed and monies put toward mitigation efforts. The Iowa Dept. Of Ag has jurisdiction on all these problems, and they should since their policies and practices created them in the first place.

This isn't an indictment of farmers, because most are great conservationists of their own free will as it's good business and good citizenship. I commend those Iowa farmers, especially my Linn County ones, who work hard to be responsible neighbors, citizens and conservationists...voluntarily I might add! But I don't give a pass to bad apples, policy-makers, or special interest Ag industry lobbyists.

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