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I’m sure you’ve heard the news.  The Iowa legislature has passed their 100 days, unable to adjourn.  Allowances have ended, and at least on the House side, members have returned home awaiting notification when business will resume for a final day or two.  The reason? Disagreements on School Choice.  How long will it be delayed? Nobody really knows.

Certainly, such a blockage in the party controlling the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s Office could be portrayed as political dysfunction.  But is it?  Or could it be a wonderful display of our political process and its inherit checks and balances.  Some takeaways to ponder.

Take Away #1: School Choice is an extremely important issue with significant implications.  Both sides are passionately strong in their belief about the next steps for enhancing Iowa’s educational opportunity.  Tremendous debate continues between members, greatly limiting rash or reactive decisions.

Take Away #2: A healthy diversity exists in the House. The current impasse characterizes our decision making as democratic and not tyrannical.  Though we share a common political perspective, the imposition of a single “political will” does not exist.  And whatever end may be reached, will certainly be refined by the broader perspective.

Take Away #3: Local community perspectives remain powerful.  No doubt, interest groups at the Capitol exert influence over legislation, but nothing exceeds the influence of home communities. The correspondence, phone calls, and personal engagement by constituents has been impressive. Though I may not see “eye-to-eye” with everyone, the different perspectives have been impactful.  You certainly don’t make it easy, as you shouldn’t, on such important issues.


As I often remind others, legislation that becomes law only does so with the majority support of 100 House members, 50 Senators, and the signing of the Governor.  It’s a long and torturous process, touched by many hands, from differing perspectives.  Proposed legislation WILL and SHOULD change along the way. Afterall, we live in a representative democracy and not a totalitarian rule. It may be messier at times.  But it certainly takes into consideration more perspectives and inherently comes with checks and balances for the unhealthy extremes.

Bottomline, though I may be frustrated at times with the perspectives of my fellow legislators, I appreciate and respect our process.  Let’s keep the conversation going.  I love having you “at my table of decision-making.”

Author: Jon Dunwell

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  1. I don’t understand why our Reps in Des Moines are having such a problem following Our State Platform – Liberty – Plank #3…

    3. We believe money should follow the child in education – whether that child attends public, private, parochial or home school- to assist parents financially in educating their children using the option best suited to their family’s educational needs. We call on the General Assembly to provide for tuition vouchers, tax deductions, or tax credits to permit parents’ choice in educating their children- without government intervention in the school curriculum.


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