Keep the Iowa Standard Going!
With most of the summer’s parades cancelled and many fewer gatherings for legislators in which to express their views, you may wonder what a senator can do this particular summer. This past week, for example, found me busy interacting with constituents and supporting them during bill signings in Des Moines.
Last week, I wrote a bit about the licensing reform bill, HF 2627. Mathieu Lemay of Kanawha was invited to the bill signing held in Des Moines at the Associated Building Contractors (ABC) headquarters. Mathieu moved to Iowa three years ago from Texas to be near his married daughter. He and his wife liked what they saw in rural Iowa on a visit and later decided to re-locate their family. Mathieu is a master electrician licensed in 27 states. When he applied for licensing in Iowa, he was put off for two years. Finally, he contacted me and was allowed to take the exam, which he easily passed. Mathieu now operates Priority Electric and employs two young Iowans. Ben (Garner) is a recent graduate from a community college electrician training program and Noah (Clarion) will be entering a similar program this fall. Mathieu, who is presently building his business on his acreage, is just the type of guy we want in Iowa.
In the presentation Mathieu made at the signing, he said, “The encouraging things I’ve seen in this bill are going to do a tremendous amount for trade people throughout the state in inviting credentialed professionals from other states to help meet the demand that is growing here in the state of Iowa.” The new law waives licensing fees for certain low-income applicants and it includes some criminal justice reform, denying a license only if the crime committed is related to the license they are seeking. Perhaps the biggest change is in recognizing similar licenses from other states and giving credit for experience in the field in which the license is issued. I am glad to welcome Mathieu and his family to Iowa!
Another thing I have been concerned about is how we can show support for our law enforcement personnel during these challenging times. I reached out to local pastors and on Tuesday, June 30, we will meet at the Britt Police Station to show our support by praying for law enforcement and giving them gift certificates. If you have ideas on how we can support local enforcement, or would like to organize a similar event for your town or county, please contact me.
Recently I did some door knocking to ask citizens what issues they would like to see Iowa work on. Covid-19 and encouraging our struggling business community were top on the list. Most people are pleased that Iowa provided a good balance between promoting safety and not going too far in shutting down business. The mental health issues and the increase in domestic and child abuse show us that we are a social people and there is a price to pay when we limit the freedoms of our people. I look forward to seeing us get back to more normal interaction.
As I consider the great conflicts tearing at our society today, I am reminded of the Beatitudes and “blessed is the peacemaker.” In referring to our representative republic, President Ronald Reagan referred to a speech of Puritan John Winthrop. In 1630 he said, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”
We are not great because we have no conflict or struggle. We are great when we look to God for the solutions. The Creator of men knows man’s heart and only He can reconcile the forces that pull us apart. It’s a privilege to serve you