Editorial: Speak out during 2018 Iowa Legislative sessions


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa 2018 legislative session begins Monday, Jan. 8. A main focus for Ames legislators will be funding for state universities as well as K-12 schools.

Editorial Board

Talk about it.

Proposed tuition increases of 7 percent annually, minimum wage rates, reproductive rights, voting rights, medical marijuana and financial aid.  Do you have opinions about how these and other issues should be addressed by politicians this year?  If so, you can and, we believe, should be involved. Raise your voice in many ways and in many venues. 

In Iowa, the legislature meets from January through April, so this semester is the most effective time to make contact with state-level politicians.  You can google “find my legislator Iowa” or go to https://www.legis.iowagov/legislators/find and enter your address to get links that identify your house representative and senator. There you will find information on how to contact them as well as which committees they serve on.

If you are a student who lives part of the year near campus and part of the year elsewhere, you can decide which location you choose to vote at.  If you vote in Ames, your representatives are Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (46th District) or Lisa Heddens (45th District) and your state senator is Herman Quirmbach.  Even if you vote elsewhere, you can contact these three with your concerns and questions. Iowa State family members constitute a high percentage of the constituents for all three.

In addition to her legislative e-mail address, Wessel-Kroeschell says you can call her at home (515-451-4307). Heddens says her legislative e-mail address is the most effective way to contact her. She is committed to responding to all messages, asking that you tell her you are a student and explaining the issue. Quirmbach lists his personal phone on the website above and says personal stories of how current and proposed legislation affect you or your family can be powerful material for politicians to use as they debate bills. As a ranking member of the Education Committee, he is particularly concerned about tuition rates.

If your schedule allows, you can do more than phone, e-mail or write. You can visit the Capitol and meet with politicians.  You can attend and speak at sub-committee meetings. Speak up with your friends as well. You can write letters to the editor to this and other papers. By the way, sending the same letter to multiple newspapers is allowed.

Democracy is a privilege that is imperiled if we do not exercise it. Let’s keep it strong by speaking out.