BWK Statehouse News 2019 #1

The Iowa House of Representatives is back in session, and I am so proud to be serving District 45 again for another term. This term I am also proud to be a part of a historic legislature. For the first time in 40 years, we will have majority women in one of the four caucuses: the Iowa House Democratic Caucus. New and old members were sworn in, committee assignments distributed, and Governor Kim Reynolds proposed her budget recommendations at the Condition of the State. While the Governor presented her priorities, and the most pressing issues facing the state of Iowa, there were encouraging aspects of her address, like a proposal to reinstate voting rights for felons. However, a glaring issue was not included: combating climate change.

In a state where agriculture is the backbone of the economy, the extreme change in climate – from intense droughts to record flooding – should matter very much to our Governor and this legislature.  The Environmental Protection Agency, even under President Donald Trump, had this to say about the impacts of climate change for agriculture in Iowa: “But increasingly hot summers are likely to reduce yields of corn and possibly soybeans. Higher temperatures are also likely to reduce livestock productivity, because heat stress disrupts the animals’ metabolism. Seventy years from now, Iowa is likely to have 10 to 20 more days per year with temperatures above 95°F than it has today. More severe droughts or floods would also hurt crop yields.”

Failing to act on climate change is failing our farmers and our entire state. We should be proposing bold solutions to protect our famers and our way of life, not ignoring this issue.

In addition to an address from Governor Reynolds, we heard from the General of the Iowa National Guard and the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. While Chief Justice Cady presented common sense proposals for a more efficient justice system, Republicans have been working to inject partisan politics into our nonpartisan judicial system. Just this week the Iowa House opened hearings on an election that could ultimately determine who represents a Northeast Iowa district. Under a Republican majority in the Iowa House, 29 validly cast votes still have not been counted.

I emphatically urge my Republican colleagues: count the 29 votes!

My Democratic colleagues and I will be working day and night to ensure every ballot is counted.  We will continue to listen to the people of Iowa and fight for what is right. I look forward to hearing from all of my constituents about any issues that concern them. Please email my office at Beth.Wessel-kroeschell@legis.iowa.gov if you would like to get in touch about upcoming legislation in the Iowa House. I look forward to a productive year as your representative in the Iowa House.

QUOTE OF WEEK: “There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate.” – Barack Obama