CLINTON — Ahead of the 2019 Iowa Legislative Session, Clinton County lawmakers spoke Wednesday morning to some of their constituents about their legislative priorities.
Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt; Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton; and Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire, convened at Mercy Medical Center in Clinton for breakfast and a question-and-answer session before they head to the Statehouse in Des Moines on Monday.
Issues such as education funding, water quality, mental health initiatives, and others were discussed among the legislators. Mommsen, a member of the Iowa House Committees for both Agriculture and Natural Resources, said improved water quality is one of his top priorities.
"I've been working on the water quality issue since Day 1 when I got out there," Mommsen told a crowded Mercy conference room Wednesday. "My goal is to continue that... at the end of the day, I hope we can sit here and tell you what we accomplished, and not that we just spent the money. My goal is to be able to say how we've moved the ball forward."
The party-divided group, with two Republicans and one Democrat, was able to agree on various issues at the breakfast, like the importance of continuing the fight to four-lane U.S. 30, as well as the initiative to expand the city's hotel and motel tax capabilities.
Cournoyer, the rookie senator set to replace former Iowa Sen. Rita Hart of Wheatland, is looking forward to making her presence felt in Des Moines – and by making her voice heard, she believes the voice of eastern Iowa is heard.
"We need to be a strong voice for eastern Iowa," Cournoyer said of the three legislators. "We need to make sure we're represented in the Legislature. I intend to be a part of that coalition. We need to really focus on economic development, workforce issues, quality of life, and (helping residents) get a good, family-supporting job and settle in this area."
Wolfe, who is part of the House's minority party, said Wednesday that one of her goals is to hold the current governor's administration accountable for its actions, because its actions are affecting the entire state.
Along with that goal, the representative aims to make some noise and expose shortfalls.
"I see part of my job for the people back home as pushing back at the current administration, and trying to point out that, while things are great, and 'Iowa is number one,' and 'Polk County is booming,' that's not necessarily translating for those of us in Clinton County and many of our other counties," Wolfe said. "My priorities is to spread transparency, and to try and shine some light on the fact that there are needs that aren't currently being met by our current policies."