Vote No on Nuclear Study Bill

Over the past few months we've asked for your help in achieving federal energy reform. Thank you so much! Unfortunately, powerful interests continue to block any progress in Congress. So, we need to shape our energy future right here in Iowa right now.

The Iowa Senate is considering SF 2314/HF 2399, legislation that would require MidAmerican Energy to conduct a feasibility study on nuclear power using ratepayer money. Though it also provides incentives for utilities to switch existing coal-fired power plants to other fuel sources, it does nothing to increase energy efficiency or renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

The Iowa Senate may debate the bill today.

We've done the research – nuclear is a wasteful, ineffective approach to our energy and climate crises. Iowa needs to prioritize clean, domestic energy sources that will help businesses, farmers, and homeowners now – wind energy, solar energy, energy efficiency. 

Contact your state senator today and tell him or her to vote no on SF 2314/HF 2399 unless it is balanced with policies to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

You can find your senator and contact info here. If you know your legislator, you can call the Senate switchboard: (515) 281-3371.

Eric Nost, Environment Iowa

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LIVE Iowa House Election Results - Tuesday

Folks, some of you may not know about the Iowa House Democratic Caucus blog at  If so, then you know about it now.

We're going to be trying something new on Tuesday night – liveblogging House results.  We don't have a “fancy” Chuck Todd or map, but we do have a nice chart and will be posting results as we get them called in from local auditor's offices by our staff on the ground.

It should be an exciting night and please head over to to see results on Tuesday.  The page won't be live until Tuesday, but you will be able to comment and discuss results right there on the page!

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Time to Get Serious about the Iowa House

I haven't posted on here in quite a long time, but some of you know me.  I work for Iowa House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  We wanted to let you all know that some of our candidates are getting up on network TV in the final two weeks of the campaign and wanted to let you know where you can see the ads. 

You can also learn about all of our great House candidates on the House Democratic Caucus blog.

There are two places you can view the TV spots:

Secondly, you can find us on Facebook

The Republican machine has gone “all in” on the Iowa House.  Senator Wieck (Senate Minority Leader) has all but given up on picking up seats in the Senate and with Harkin not having a credible opponent it's all about the house.

So, if you are interested in helping out a local House Democratic candidate – please contact your local Democratic central committee or the Iowa Democratic Party.  They can direct you to where you need to go.  Plus, you can contribute the House Truman Fund via ActBlue.

UPDATE from desmoinesdem, with a question: According to Marc Ambinder, the Democratic National Committee is considering spending money in some key state legislative races. Anyone know if the DNC is getting involved in any Iowa House races?

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Olson Announces Re-Election Bid in House 38

(All other Democratic candidates are welcome to post diaries announcing important campaign events or issues they plan to work on if elected. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Thursday I announced my re-election bid to represent Iowa House District 38.  You can see the full release here.  Here are some of the highlights:

Olson also cited raising the minimum wage, making health insurance available to 17,000 Iowans this year and all kids within three years, expanding voluntary preschool access, and keeping post-secondary education tuition increases the lowest in decades as legislative successes. Tyler was honored to receive the 2008 Lincoln Excellence in Governing Award from Bethel AME Church.

Olson will kickoff his re-election campaign with a reception at the Cherry Building (329 10th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids) on Wednesday, June 11. The event runs from 4:45PM to 6:30PM. All are welcome, and more information is available at

We had great success on issues important to us.  I need your help to return to Des Moines.  Please consider a contribution of $20 to the campaign.  Your contribution will help me print cowboy cards to take door-to-door with me this summer and fall.

Two other pieces of legislation I floor-managed were expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and creating the Energy Cities program.  The EITC is available to working families making less than $32,263.  Last year I led legislation that became law to increase the state EITC and make it refundable, helping working families across Iowa.

Your contribution of $20 or $10 helps me continue working to increase the EITC.

The Energy Cities legislation encourages communities to gather the stakeholders (city council, board of supervisor, school district, private business, nonprofits) to develop an energy efficiency plan.  Participating communities are then given priority for certain state programs.

If you are in the Cedar Rapids area, make sure to stop by my campaign kickoff on June 11.  I hope to see you there!

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Officials fret over cost of dealing with lead poisoning

Uh oh. The Des Moines Register is warning that “a new law that requires all Iowa youngsters to be tested for lead by the time they enter kindergarten could swamp state and local taxpayers in ways lawmakers did not foresee.”

House File 158 was passed last year as part of a campaign against lead poisoning, which health officials describe as one of the most preventable causes of learning disabilities and brain damage in young children. Statewide, more than 10,000 Iowans under age 6 had toxic levels of lead in their blood between 2002 and 2006. Thousands more likely went unnoticed, officials say, because they weren’t tested.

The new law is scheduled to take effect this fall.

“I like to describe these kids as canaries in the coal mine,” said Rick Kozin of the Polk County Health Department. “We let the kids get sick, and then we identify the problem homes.

“With this law, we’re going to find more canaries than we’ve ever found before.”

But health and housing experts say the ripple effect of the law could devastate public and private pocketbooks. Potential fallout includes:

A statewide shortage of inspectors qualified to check houses where lead-poisoned children live or play.

Huge bills, measured in tens of thousands of dollars, to clean or remove lead.

Unprecedented demand for temporary housing when lead-related work forces families from their homes.

“This could be overwhelming,” Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly said.

While spending tens of thousands of dollars to deal with lead in a building may seem like a lot of money, consider this: children affected by lead poisoning are more likely to need costly special-education programs in school. That’s not a one-time cost, that’s every year they are in school.

Also, lead exposure has been linked to criminal activity. Research suggests that removing lead from paint and gasoline in the 1970s is one reason that violent crime rates in the U.S. dropped dramatically in the 1990s.

Building more prisons to house more criminals is extremely costly in human terms as well as monetarily.

If we remove lead paint hazards from homes, we will reduce exposure for all future children living in those homes, which will save us money in our education budgets and will possibly reduce crime far into the future.

Let’s not be penny-wise and pound-foolish in dealing with this problem.

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House Votes To Expand Access To Quality Preschool

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

For More Information:

Dean Fiihr, 515-281-0817

In four years, nearly every Iowa four year old will have access to quality, affordable preschool thanks to a plan adopted by the Iowa House on Wednesday night.  Currently, 28,000 four year olds in Iowa do not have access to pre-school.

“We know brain development in the early years is the most critical time in a child’s life,” said State Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City, who managed the bill in the Iowa House.  “We know quality preschool is a good investment.  It improves the chances of success for our kids and reduces crime.  Every Iowa child should have the opportunity to participate in a preschool program with a qualified, capable, and competent teacher.”

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