Meet your local legislators

Addie Olson

Between moving in and finding your way around, coming into a new community can be overwhelming; but it’s important that incoming students take the time to learn about more than just the local hot spots.

Students account for approximately half of Ames’ population, and it’s vital that their voices are heard by local legislators.

“Since most students either are, or are becoming voters themselves they have the normal concerns of citizens,” said Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames.

Quirmbach is also a member of the ISU faculty, and a professor of economics during the fall semester. He encourages all students to learn about their local lawmakers, and emphasizes the importance of voicing any concerns they may have.

“When you’re attending a state university your state legislators are the ones who determine the state support,” Quirmbach said. “The more financial support we can generate, the lower tuition has to be, so that’s pretty important.”

He also recognizes that students have a range of concerns with regard to state and public policy. He is contacted regularly by a number of voters looking to garner his support or opposition of a bill.

“I have a constituency that is particularly active and well-informed, so I hear from people on a lot of different issues,” Quirmbach said.

In addition to Quirmbach, students should be familiar with Rep. Lisa Heddens, D-Ames, and Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames. Heddens and Wessel-Kroeschell serve in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Wessel-Kroeschell is a member of the environmental protection, human resources and judiciary standing committees. If constituents hold concern over any of these areas, they are encouraged to contact Wessel-Kroeschell with their input.

Likewise, students should contact Heddens about issues relevant to the appropriations, economic growth or veterans affairs committees.

Both representatives are members of the health and human services appropriations subcommittee.

Quirmbach is the chairman of the education committee and a member of the human resources, judiciary, local government, and ways and means committees. He is also the vice chairman of the education appropriations subcommittee.

Although legislators may have more influence on issues regarding the committees they are on, they all have a say in what bills make it to the governor’s desk, and it is essential to contact them with any concern.

Lawmakers, in turn, look back to their constituents when they need local input or help.

“It’s a two way street,” Quirmbach said. “When I have a question in some technical area or some area that needs advanced expertise, I have as rich a resource base in my constituents as any legislator in the state.”