Monday marked the beginning of the 2021 Session of the 89th General Assembly. I am honored that you sent me back to Des Moines to represent House District 9!
With COVID still in our state, the Capitol is not operating “business as usual”. We are taking precautions to promote social distancing, and there are certainly not as many people in the halls and House Chamber as in previous years. I continue to mask in public areas where social distancing is not possible. Many of our clerks are working from home. While some of my colleagues are choosing not to return to the Capitol and participate in person, I feel it’s necessary to show up (if you are not ill), and practice the safety precautions we have all been hearing about for 10 months – frequent hand-washing / sanitizing, social distance, and wearing a mask if you cannot distance. We are asking our health care workers, teachers, and really most of our workforce to do their jobs – we should be doing ours to make sure the State continues to operate to serve the people of Iowa!
This year, I am chairing the Human Resources (HR) committee, which manages health policy in Iowa. I am honored Speaker Grassley chose me for this position. Two of my priorities for the committee will be :
1. Increasing access to physical and behavioral health services throughout the state
2. Addressing Iowa’s childcare crisis.
We will approach these challenges from several different angles, and I will keep you updated throughout this legislative session with our progress!
In HR this week, interim IDPH Director Kelly Garcia and Acute Disease Prevention and Emergency Response and Environmental Health Division Director Ken Sharp gave an update on the state’s COVID vaccination efforts. Iowa is still in Phase 1A, which includes health care workers and long term care residents and employees. As we know, residents of long-term care have been hit hardest by this virus and health care workers are essential to maintaining access to health care throughout this public health emergency. As of Monday, January 11, there have been 96,686 doses administered in Iowa. It is a long process, but we can finally see a light at the end of this nasty COVID tunnel!
This Tuesday, Governor Reynolds gave the State of the State update. If you missed it, here is a link to her address: https://kwwl.com/2021/01/12/watch-here-gov-reynolds-delivers-condition-of-the-state-address/
She gave a positive message of Iowans working together, and I’m constantly impressed by the selfless, helpful, strong character of Iowans. Iowa is strong because our citizens are strong!
Wednesday, Chief Justice Christensen delivered the State of the Judiciary address, and if you have a chance, I would recommend you watch. The courts have adapted amazingly well during the pandemic, and she also delivered a great message of hope. Here is a link: https://youtu.be/UN5ps2IKyds
Thursday, Major General Ben Corell gave a Condition of the Guard Address. The Iowa National Guard has done a phenomenal job addressing needs related to the pandemic and the derecho!
Here is a link to the address: http:// https://www.pbs.org/video/condition-of-the-guard-2021-coxf8u/
This has been a crazy-busy first week, and the pace looks to continue like this for a while. If you are visiting the Capitol, please let me know! I would love to see you, show you around, and listen to any concerns you may have.
It is my honor to represent you in Des Moines!