The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

December 19, 2011

Lawmaker: We want to hear what you have to say

CLINTON — On January 9 I head out to Des Moines for the first day of Iowa’s 2012 legislative session. As Clinton’s representative in the Iowa House, I would like the opportunity to discuss the upcoming session with my constituents — I want to know what you think about some of the likely issues that we will be voting on, and I’d also like to know what you think that I can/should do (or not do), legislationwise, to try and help make Clinton, and Iowa, a better place to live for all of us.  

So this Tuesday, December 20, from 5 p.m. until about 6:30 p.m., I would like every single Clinton resident to join me (and hopefully our State Senator Tod Bowman, who will do his best to be there on short notice) at Clinton’s beautiful public library in downtown Clinton for the first of what I hope will be several “legislative town hall meetings” — relatively informal conversations about what your elected officials are doing (and what you want us to do) in Des Moines, and about how specific legislation might impact Clinton County on a short and long term basis.    

One challenge I know the legislature will be dealing with this session is the mandated redesign of Iowa’s mental health system. Last session, we created an interim committee (of which I am a member) to try and put together a plan that will (1) simplify the current extremely confusing and sometimes counter-productive funding mechanisms by which counties pay for the mental health services provided to their citizens, and also (2) ensure that all Iowans have equal and ready access to high quality mental health care. So basically, we are supposed to create a mental health system that will do more, for more people, and do it better, and do it more cost effectively.  Which is asking a lot, but realistically, we don’t have much of a choice — the number of Iowans in need of and eligible for mental health services is constantly expanding, and the current system is simply not capable of meeting, or paying for, the demand.

Working groups made up of dedicated service providers, families, and consumers have met all summer long and have provided the interim committee with their detailed and well-thought-out proposals on many different aspects of the mental health system. Today in Des Moines, the interim committee will meet for our third (and supposedly last) all-day session — from which we will hopefully emerge with a draft bill that combines all of the work done by all of the working groups into one cohesive, understandable, agreed-upon package. At least that’s the plan. I’ll bring copies of whatever we come up with to Tuesday’s town meeting — and since I know there will be many revisions between now and whenever we vote on a final bill, I will be looking forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions at future town meetings.

The Governor’s education reform bill will also be on the agenda this session, as will property tax reform, the judicial appointment process, a possible gas tax increase, and many other issues. Obviously, we won’t have time to get into all of these topics this Tuesday — but I hope that this town meeting will be the start of an ongoing discussion that will take place throughout the 2012 session, and for many sessions to come.

And I’d like to specifically invite Clinton County’s teenagers and young adults to join us on Tuesday — it’s your life, and your future, that we vote on out in Des Moines, and you might be amazed at how much of an impact you can have on the process just by showing up and asking questions. And maybe your teachers will give you extra credit for attending the meeting — it can’t hurt to ask, right?

Plus, there will be cookies.

Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, represents District 26 in the Iowa House of Representatives.  

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Off and on the record Let us now praise anonymous sources.The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources.Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White Hous

    July 25, 2014

  • Be more informed

    Blame the city.That is a favorite pastime of many, including me at times. Driving over that pesky pothole or paying that annual property tax bill can lead to some choice words referencing the city. Nobody takes the brunt of being the scapegoat more t

    July 25, 2014

  • CCC thanks community, collaborators for successful movie night Clinton Community College would like to thank those who participated in the free outdoor movie showing of “Captain America – Winter Soldier” on the evening of Friday, July 18.We are grateful to have such wonderful community collaborators in the Erick

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook