# Zach Whiting

Dave Rowley to represent Iowa Senate district 1

Republican Dave Rowley will represent Iowa Senate district 1 through the end of next year. He won a special election on December 14 by 2,690 votes to 864 for Democrat Mark Allen Lemke (75.6 percent to 24.3 percent), according to unofficial results. That’s in line with the 3:1 GOP voter registration advantage in this district, covering five northwest Iowa counties.

The candidate’s wife Kris Rowley posted on Facebook early this month that Dave Rowley “was asked to run on the Republican ticket” after former State Senator Zach Whiting resigned from the legislature in order to take a new job in Texas.

Continue Reading...

Special election coming in Iowa Senate district 1

UPDATE: Governor Kim Reynolds set the special election for Tuesday, December 14. Original post follows.

Republican State Senator Zach Whiting has resigned from the Iowa Senate to take a job in Texas, nwestiowa.com reported on October 29. In a statement, Whiting said he was proud of his service in the legislature and grateful to constituents, but could not pass up the opportunity to work for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative advocacy group.

Whiting was a staffer for U.S. Representative Steve King before winning a three-way GOP primary and the 2018 general election in Iowa Senate district 1. The previous incumbent, David Johnson, did not seek re-election that year. He had left the Republican Party to become an independent in the summer of 2016, in protest of the GOP nominating Donald Trump for president.

Governor Kim Reynolds will soon schedule a special election in November or December to fill the remainder of Whiting’s term, which runs through 2022. Senate district 1 includes all of Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, and Palo Alto counties. Whoever wins the GOP nominating convention will almost certainly become the next senator. The district is among the reddest in Iowa, with nearly three times as many registered Republicans as Democrats.

Continue Reading...

Late budget amendment sought funds for no-bid Homeland Security contract

One day before Iowa lawmakers adjourned for the year, the Iowa Senate amended a spending bill to allocate $4.5 million over two years to the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for a sole source contract.

The funding to install a mobile panic button system in Iowa’s K-12 schools could only have been used by Rave Mobile Safety, which recently signed a contract with the Homeland Security department to replace Iowa’s emergency mass notification system.

The Iowa House altered the bill to leave the funding in place without an earmark for a specific product. But the last-minute effort raises questions about whether outgoing Homeland Security Director Paul Trombino III sought the funding to benefit a company represented by one of Iowa’s most influential lobbyists.

Continue Reading...

Governor endorses plan targeting Iowans on public assistance

A longstanding effort by Iowa Senate Republicans to reduce the number of Iowans receiving various forms of public assistance got a quiet boost last week from Governor Kim Reynolds.

For the first time, the governor’s draft human services budget included provisions that would create asset tests for federal food assistance and require the Iowa Department of Human Services to establish a new “eligibility verification system” for Medicaid and several other public assistance programs.

State Senator Jason Schultz has pushed similar legislation for several years running. Each session, Senate Republicans have approved the bills, which died in the House Human Resources Committee (see here and here).

Continue Reading...

Randy Feenstra's selective concern for farmers

Andy Kopsa: Iowa’s new member of Congress from the fourth district brags that he “delivers for farmers.” Unless you are a Black farmer, that is. -promoted by Laura Belin

Politicians love farmers. Every caucus season they prove it: they throw a foot up on a hay bale and stump to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, shove a pork chop into their mouth, use the term “heartland” and “kitchen table” a minimum of 400 times.

Vice President Mike Pence and the Iowa GOP love farmers so much that he came to town just after the August 2020 derecho to launch the Farmers and Ranchers for Trump Coalition. Senator Joni Ernst and Governor Kim Reynolds took time out of their disaster recovery schedule to accompany Pence to Living History [not a real] Farms. Pence didn’t visit a single farm, but he found time to host an exclusive fundraiser in Urbandale before flying away home.

U.S. Representative Randy Feenstra (IA-04) also loves farmers a lot. He introduced an amendment to allocate more aid to Iowans impacted by the derecho last year during a House Agriculture Committee markup of the proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. Feenstra’s amendment passed by a single vote.

That vote came from Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03), the lone Democrat to cross the aisle.

Continue Reading...

Cutting unemployment during pandemic is immoral, wrong

Charlie Wishman is president of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO. -promoted by Laura Belin

The COVID-19 pandemic has been not only a public health disaster, but also an economic disaster. Many Iowans have experienced filing for unemployment for the first time this past year. As a result, many now realize just how important this lifeline can be for working people and their families. 

You can tell a lot about what kind of legislature we collectively elected by looking at how lawmakers respond to the economic disaster that is COVID-19. Right now, the Republican-controlled Iowa House and Senate are moving a bill forward that would reduce unemployment benefits, inexplicably, during a global pandemic. 

Are we as a state going to continue to allow the rich to stuff their pockets during this pandemic while families suffer? Or worse, will we actively encourage it? Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening now.

Continue Reading...
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3