Sierra Club expresses concern about Dandekar appointment

The Sierra Club Iowa chapter warned today that Swati Dandekar, Governor Terry Branstad’s choice to fill an Iowa Utilities Board vacancy, “will favor the utilities at the expense of the public interest.” In a statement I’ve posted after the jump, leaders in the Sierra Club chapter cited proposed legislation to promote building new nuclear reactors in Iowa. As chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Dandekar strongly supported that bill during the 2011 legislative session.

Along with the American Association of Retired Persons and the Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club Iowa members were among the most vocal opponents of the nuclear energy bill. It never came to a vote on the Senate floor after clearing the Iowa House comfortably.

UPDATE: paraphrased AARP Iowa State Director Kent Sovern as saying Dandekar “served her constituents well,” and that the AARP “looks forward to working with the Iowa Utilities Board.”

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More than 300,000 Iowans live in poverty

No wonder the economy remains weak: a new U.S. Census Bureau report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage indicates that median wages in 2010 were about 7 percent below the peak level in 1999, and more Americans lived in poverty last year than ever before recorded. Iowa’s poverty rate rose over the last decade, hitting 10.2 percent in 2010. That figure translates to about 310,000 of the state’s 3,046,355 residents living in poverty.

The report’s findings bolster the case for spending more on social programs and undercut the argument for business tax credits as a job creation strategy. In addition, the new census figures show how badly the 1996 federal welfare reform failed to address poverty in this country.

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