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The 2021 session has started: On Monday, 1.11.2021, I took the oath of office for my 5th two-year term in the Iowa House of Representatives, The oath I took says, “I do solemnly swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of Representative according to the best of my ability.” I am honored to have been chosen by the people to represent Northwest Des Moines in House District 36 in the Iowa House of Representatives.

COVID-19: In a briefing with DHS and DPH Director Kelly Garcia, I learned the vaccination of health care workers and long-term facility residents in Phase 1(a) will be completed by February 1. Vaccination of Phase 1(b) will then begin for the following groups:

  • People aged 75 years and older.
  • People with disabilities living in home settings whom are dependent on attendant care staff, and their attendant care staff, if not already vaccinated under Phase 1a
  • Correctional facility staff and people incarcerated in state, city, or county facilities.
  • Other staff of and people living in congregate settings including shelters, sober living homes, behavioral health treatment centers, and detention centers. (doesn’t include college dormitories.
  • Food and agriculture distribution and manufacturing workers who work in or live in congregate settings that do not allow for social distancing or with outbreaks of disease.
  • PK-12 school staff, early childhood education, and childcare workers.
  • First responders (e.g., firefighters, police officers, and dependent adult abuse and child welfare social workers).
  • Inspectors responsible for health, life, and safety, including those in hospital and long-term care settings, child, and food production safety.
  • Government officials, including staff, to ensure continuity of government, engaged in state business at the Iowa Capitol during the legislative session.

Watch for which groups are eligible for vaccination on the Pok County Health Department website. When your group is qualified for vaccination, register for an appointment through a pharmacy partnering with Polk County Health Department such as Hy-Vee or Medicap. The registration process will lay out your next steps, including documentation you should bring, for the vaccination.

Washington, D.C.: Last week, a group of thousands broke into the U.S. Capitol by smashing windows, ramming through doors, rampaged and stole property and official papers in the chambers and congressional offices, and fought physically using flag poles and fire-extinguishers against Capitol Police. Nancy Pelosi’s computer was stolen. The rioters threatened Speaker Pelosi, Vice President Pence, and others in Congress, erected a hanging gallows complete with a noose right outside the Capitol building, and chanted ”hang Mike Pence.” Their intent was to stop the Constitutional and official count in Congress of the Electoral College votes thinking that would retain Donald Trump in the Presidency. They did stop that process of democracy, but our Senators and Representatives returned to the chambers later that night to complete their work on the presidential election.

U.S. Capitol Police did not anticipate “criminal riotous behavior” last week though white supremacists had been signaling violent plans for weeks online. One law enforcement officer was murdered, another committed suicide, more than 50 officers sustained serious injuries, and several officers were hospitalized. D.C. police made 61 “unrest-related” arrests that day and have made many more in the last week as people recognize the rioters and turn them in. Three men from Des Moines. And, six people died in the wake of the attack.

President Trump has been impeached again by the U.S. House of Representatives, this time for “incitement of insurrection” by urging an angry and unruly crowd of his supporters to march on the Capitol building.

New Presidency: By the time you read this newsletter, Donald Trump has left the White House and we have a new President Joe Biden. I am excited for the election of President Biden who has served this country for 44 years, 36 as a Senator from Delaware, and 8 as Vice President with President Barack Obama.

I had the privilege of working with Joe Biden when he was developing the Violence against Women Act by setting up roundtables for domestic and sexual abuse victims and their advocates. I also had the thrill of introducing him at the State Fairgrounds the first time he came back to Iowa after being added to President Barack Obama’s ticket in 2008.

I am over the moon about our new Vice President Kamala Harris! She is the first African American and first Asian American elected to the Vice Presidency. She is the first woman elected Vice President which makes the highest-ranking woman elected official, ever. And, Kamala is a second-generation immigrant. Her Mom came to America from India and her Dad came here from Jamaica.

Kamala served two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco and was elected the first African-American and the first woman elected California’s Attorney General. In that role, she worked relentlessly to hold corporations accountable and protect the state’s most vulnerable people. In the 2016, Kamala became the second African American woman and first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have the experience, wisdom, know-how, and energy to be the Presidential team the United States needs right now.

Author: Marti Anderson