Sunday, February 25, 2007

News and Thoughts from Jackson County

Last Saturday, I traveled to Davenport along with other Jackson County Republicans to see Sen. John McCain speak. While I do not always agree with Sen. McCain on the issues, I do think that he is a true American hero. At the event, McCain talked about something that I think should be heard by all anti-war protesters. While he was a P.O.W. during the Vietnam War, McCain's captors would play radio broadcasts featuring sound bites from anti-war protesters to try and break his and other American soldiers' spirits. While I think these protesters have every right to speak their mind, I think it is equally important that they be made aware of the possible consequences of their actions.

Coming soon to a medical facility near you....human cloning. While that may sound like a plot from a movie playing on the Sci-Fi channel, it appears that it is coming close to reality. The Iowa House of Representatives this week debated Senate File 162, which if passed will make it legal to clone human embryos for research purposes. This bill has passed thru the Iowa Senate already (by one vote), and if passed by the House Gov. Chet Culver has already made it clear that he will fully support this legislation. As a soon to be first time parent, this is very troubling to me. I cannot begin to fathom allowing someone to create clones of our child so that they can be used to conduct research, and subsequently discarded.

We had our Central Committee meeting this past Thursday at the City Hall in Preston. Among our guests we had representatives from John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo's campaigns. We thank them for taking the time out of their schedule to travel halfway across the state to attend our meeting. Also, we have firmed up plans to host a Soup and Sandwich Spring Fundraiser at the Pearson Hall at the Jackson County Fairgrounds on April 20th. Guest speakers will be announced at a later date. I will post more details on the website as they become available.

- Adam Reuter

Jean, the Political Junkie

Once again, Mary Lundby is the voice of reason in the Iowa Senate. Our Senate Republican Leader gives details in her latest newsletter about expensive teacher pay legislation that was passed quickly out of the Senate Education Committee with little discussion. We all need to take a closer look at this bill.

Does every Jackson County school have a nurse and a licensed guidance counselor? That's an unfunded mandate included in the bill. Ask County Supervisor Jack Willey--he can tell you how much damage unfunded mandates have done to the county budget. BUT WAIT! The legislators will take care of that problem because the bill will also allow additional levies and property taxes for us.

Republicans see the merits of additional money for teacher pay. In 2006 our GOP legislators worked with Democrats and former Gov. Tom Vilsack on a $200 million package to move Iowa teacher pay from 41st to 32nd in the country. This new bill represents a BIG policy shift from the 2006 education bill.

There are many concerns with this new education bill that deserve lengthy discussion from school board members and administrators, parents, teachers, and taxpayers. Ask your legislator for public input on this critical bill!

In her latest "Statehouse Straight Talk" newsletter Mary Lundby says, "There is no need to rush this teacher pay plan through the legislative process without careful consideration, thoughtful dialogue and compromise. We need to slow this train down; Iowans deserve to see what train they're riding." You can read Mary's latest edition of "Statehouse Straight Talk" by clicking here.

-Jean Davidsaver

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This week from the Plain Blunt Guy...

I looked into this Fair Share bill in the legislature and I can't buy into the theory the unions are using, in that it is not fair to allow non-union members to receive the same benefits that paying members get. There are many things people benefit from the activities of a group without contributing; one thing is church, you are just as much of a member of a church, whether you contribute or not. Another is political parties; thousands of people benefit from the political parties activities that never contribute one penny to the cause. Trade associations are another, AARP is another. Lets face it. if this passes it will amount to paying a fee for employment. Let's call this what it really is -- THE MANDATORY UNION MEMBERSHIP ACT.

Another embarrassment for local government : How did the company from Cedar Rapids end up with the contract they did in doing the reassessment of commercial property in the county? $180,000 for a job we already have an Assessors office to perform, and since it was Valentine's week it looks like their sweetheart showed up. An hourly wage to sit down and discuss how they came to these findings? They said they look at all property from a buyers standpoint, well $250,000 for the EU tech building? If they think it is worth that much, maybe they should buy it!!

I saw John McCain in Davenport last night, he had a large crowd there. I know some people don't trust him, but one thing is undeniable: he is a real American Hero. What he went through in the Hanoi Hilton, is inspirational, and a tribute to American resolve. One thing that touched me is he said they were allowed a radio, and when there wasn't any music on it there was antiwar statements that they had picked up from the American Media. He said it was hard being a prisoner there and listening to what the people back home were saying, it made us feel America had abandoned us, and that he still remembers all the names of the celebrities who spoke out. I believe that it is incumbent upon us to see that this does not happen to another generation of American servicemen and women. Let's support the war and bring them home victorious.

Timothy L. Grover, the plain blunt guy

Friday, February 16, 2007

Jean, the Political Junkie

This is a great weekend for all of us political junkies! First, there's the free chili dinner featuring Senator John McCain and special guest Senator Phil Gramm on Saturday night. Even if Senator McCain is not your top choice, it's still a good idea to take in all the top candidates for our highest office. Still looking for a candidate? Want to reinforce your opinions on your top choice? Go! There's no doubt McCain has the ability to cross party lines to attract voters, and it should be an interesting crowd.

Sunday morning, look for Governor Mitt Romney on This Week with George Stephanopoulos (8 a.m. on ABC). I usually pass up George to watch Tim Russert on Meet the Press, but Sunday's program will be on my "must watch" list.

- Jean Davidsaver

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I wish I could be in Des Moines tomorrow evening, where there will be a public forum on Iowa's Right to Work law. Legislative Democrats plan to pass a law that would force workers to pay fees or union dues if they work in a business represented by a union. Presently, Iowans have a choice whether to join a union or not.

Forcing non-union workers to pay fees or union dues takes away their choice to join or not join a union. Would they want to be paying dues that could be used to support strikes? Probably not.

Is this bill in the best interests of our state? We need to make changes that are more supportive of business, not less supportive. According to business relocation experts, at least half of businesses looking to relocate or expand will not consider non-Right to Work states.

Iowa is one of 22 Right to Work states. You can read all sorts of statistics that show workers are better off in those states. Those are good statistics to support the case to retain Iowa's Right to Work status. For me, the real issue is personal choice. Less and less choices are available to us, and the Democrats are trying to take away one more individual choice.

Jean, the Political Junkie

Saturday, February 10, 2007

This Week With The Plain Blunt Guy

Didn't have much to say last week so I took it off. This deal with the city budget gets more bizarre every week. First they spend all that money on the indoor cement pond, and now they are talking about laying off a police officer, and look at the problem with financing the Fire Station. Why didn't these things get paid for first instead of committing so much money to the arc? There was a letter to editor this week in the paper that says it best, if they had allowed a vote on it would the arc have passed? At least mayor Messerly is innocent on this, he warned them not to jump into the arc project to begin with, and its coming home to roost now. Last time I knew it was the job of the city to provide police, and fire protection. Failing to prioritize this is very irresponsible, and shows no understanding of government to begin with.

The right to work issue in the state legislature is an interesting issue. I understand where the people against repealing the right to work are law coming from, they bring up good reasons not to. You should not have to join a union to work somewhere , but the people who want to repeal it are right too; it is not fair to receive the benefits that the union gets for you, and not pay your fair share of the dues. I think I need to study this further.

One thing is sure -- the minimum wage law is going to be a disaster, most businesses in Iowa start people off around $8.00 hr, at least that seems to be the market wage give or take a dollar. Are you telling me that these people who pay bills are only worth 75 cents more than a high school kid who has no bills? One thing is for sure, the resulting increase in the cost of goods and services will make the ability for families to buy homes even more difficult, and without the resulting property taxes does that bode well for the city budget problems?

Finally this week, I am curious: does Ted Kennedy collect Social Security and Medicare benefits even though he receives salary and benefits for being a senator, does anybody know? My understanding of it would be yes, lets see $200, 000 plus a year for salary, and health insurance that most people only wish they had and retirement benefits to boot. Awesome nice system, and the minute we talk about cutting taxes, he yells tax cuts for the rich, lets talk about subsidizing the rich, Ted.

-Timothy L Grover, the plain blunt guy

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Jean, the Political Junkie

After the November election everyone anticipated that the minimum wage would increase. What we didn't anticipate is that the Iowa Legislature would create a more aggressive schedule of minimum wage increases than the Federal government is proposing.

Is the small businessman concerned? Two business people that I know have said they will no longer hire high school students--they want more mature workers if they have to pay $7.25 per hour in less than a year. Those same small businessmen are also concerned about their property taxes. How much relief will they really get from the blue-ribbon panel assembled by Governor Culver?

I was concerned that our Iowa Democratic legislators refused to consider any help for the small businesses that will bear the brunt of the minimum wage increase. We now have to rely on the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives to negotiate a reasonable compromise.

Looking for a good read? Mary Lundby's STATEHOUSE STRAIGHT TALK is a great way to keep up with issues at the Statehouse.

-Jean Davidsaver