Kelly@the Capital

April 15, 2016. House Republicans' Historic Education Funding Failure. I was proud to stand with teachers, kids, and parents this week by opposing a deal reached by House Republican leaders that will shortchange public schools next year. I believe it’s time for our public schools to be the top priority of the Iowa Legislature again.

I’ve talked with many teachers and administrators throughout Jasper County about the Republican proposal. There is serious concern from educators and parents in each of the school districts I represent. I share their concern and vote accordingly.

Years of stagnant state investment in our public schools by House Republicans have real consequences for our schools, including teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, outdated technology, and old textbooks for kids. For the last six years, Republicans have broken state law and put Iowa schools on the back burner. As a result, our public schools have received the lowest funding levels in Iowa history and, unfortunately, the deal approved by House Republicans this week is no different.

We’ve already heard from school leaders across the state about the impact of the Republican deal. In Davenport, they have to cut $5.5 million, which means closing a school and reducing at least 24 teachers and staff. In Cedar Rapids, they will eliminate 12 high school teachers, and Des Moines has already eliminated 70 positions due to budget uncertainty. Under the Republican deal, at least one in three Iowa school districts will be forced to raise property taxes to make up for inadequate state funding.

House Republicans were two years behind in setting basic funding for public schools, often called “State Supplemental Aid” or “Allowable Growth.” Democrats had approved 4% earlier in the session, and the House passed 2%, creating a conference committee formed to reach a resolution. While over 400 days late, the deal reached this week means schools will get just a 2.25% increase next year.

Many school leaders have already said the deal does not provide enough to keep up with rising costs. 
According to Iowa law, public school funding was to be set by lawmakers last session. The law requires public school funding be set first, 18 months in advance, so schools can plan and prepare children for today’s competitive workforce. This year marks the sixth year in a row that House Republicans have refused to follow the law.

While the issue is resolved for the upcoming school year, the school funding deadline has already passed for the 2017-2018 school year, and Republican leaders say they are unlikely to bring the bill up before adjourning for the year.

Republicans are quick to claim the state doesn’t have enough money to adequately invest in public schools this year, but the reality is the Republicans have ignored public schools to make room for over $750 million in corporate tax cuts the last several years. The bottom line is the Republican school-funding deal will reduce opportunities for 560,000 kids in Iowa public schools who don’t get a second chance at school.


Kelley@ the Capitol, March 4, 2016. Iowa reaches another renewable energy milestone. Iowa has long been a world leader in renewable energy, but we’ve just hit another major milestone – 31% of the electricity generated in Iowa comes from the wind.  That’s the best in the nation and the first time any state has broken the 30% threshold.

This great news means our investment and focus on renewable energy over the last decade is paying off.  Over $11 billion has been invested in wind farms and it supports 6,000 jobs here in Iowa, many of them in Jasper County, that can’t be shipped overseas.  Landowners also benefit from millions of dollars in lease payments every year.

But it isn’t just wind. Iowa also is a world leader in production of both biodiesel and ethanol.  A record 242 million gallons of biodiesel were produced last year at 12 facilities and the state produced 4 billion gallons of ethanol. According to a report issued last year, more than 22,000 jobs in Iowa were related to wind, solar, or biofuels. 

I strongly support extending biofuel incentives which would provide certainty and stability for Iowa biofuel producers to continue to operate during this economically difficult time.   While Iowa is the leading biodiesel-producing state in the nation, we must continue to see growth in the biofuel industries.  Jobs, right here in Jasper County, depend on it. REG Newton is among Iowa’s 12 biodiesel plants.  Iowa’s 12 Biodiesel plants have produced 242 million gallons of biodiesel.

The annual economic Impact is tremendous. These local biofuel producers spent $750 million on raw materials such as soybeans, animal fat, and other bio products suitable for production of fuel.  This adds value to the crops and livestock produced by local, family farmers.  This results in $471 million in GDP, 4,376 full-time jobs, and $286 million of household income.

Policies to support the biodiesel industry work for Jasper County.  REG Newton supports;
Economic development: In 2014, REG invested $15.8 million into production process upgrades, expansion of storage capacity and enhanced logistics.

Jobs:  The 30 million gallon per year bio-refinery supports 28 full time jobs.  The plant indirectly supports other jobs including: feedstock producers, transportation, equipment installers, and maintenance workers

On a national scale, biofuel provides energy security: Biodiesel is America’s advanced biofuel and supports fuel made at home, and promotes environmental stewardship by providing cleaner air and lower carbon products support the country’s environmental goals.

It’s an honor to serve as your State Representative.  If you have questions or comments, or are in need of assistance with state agencies, call me at home, 641-521-9260 or dan.kelley@legis.iowa.gov.  Let’s keep working together to make Jasper County a great place to live, work, and raise a family.  Our comeback belongs to all of us.


Kelly@the Capital. February 26, 2016. Mid-Session Update. We’ve officially reached the mid-point of the 2016 legislative session. After last week’s heavy committee work to keep bills eligible for the year, our work has shifted to floor debate so bills can get sent over to the Senate for consideration. 

Most of the bills approved this week were non-controversial and dealt with a host of technical issues related to local governments, agriculture and small businesses or LLC’s. I worked hard to pass a bill to modernize agricultural land-lease agreements. This bill and most passed this week with near unanimous bi-partisan support. However, I’m disappointed we didn’t take any action this week on the two key issues we face this year related to public school funding and Medicaid privatization.
In addition, I’m working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation this year to ensure the safety of drug endangered children.  I am strongly in favor of legislation to protect these vulnerable kids.

The link between parental substance abuse and child maltreatment is well-documented and undeniable. Children whose parents abuse drugs are three times more likely to be abused and four times more likely to be neglected than children from a home without drug addiction. There are decades of research that suggest children who grow up in homes with drug addiction are more likely to experience issues concerning safety, health, development, and future success. We also know that often addiction clouds the decisions a parent makes concerning the well-being of their child. That is why it is important to have a safety net in place to ensure the needs of Drug Endangered Children are being met.

Under current Iowa law, if a concerned citizen called Iowa's Child Abuse Hotline regarding a child living in a home with a single parent whom they suspected was using heroin, Department of Human Services (DHS) is unable to fully investigate the allegation. DHS cannot contact law enforcement to see if the parent or the home is being investigated for illegal drug activity, DHS cannot require the parent or the child be tested for illegal drugs, and DHS cannot require the child be seen by a health care provider. This type of case coordination is only allowed when the allegation involves parental methamphetamine use and the child under six years old, or if there is an allegation that illegal drugs are being sold from the home. Because children who are exposed to a parent's heroin or cocaine abuse are in just as much danger as those exposed to meth, we must change the law in order to have necessary information to make a determination of the child's safety.

This is why I support the current efforts in the Iowa Legislature to provide the tools necessary to accurately assess the safety of Drug Endangered Children. House File 2206, would allow for a child abuse assessment on all cases involving Drug Endangered Children. Unfortunately, the bill did not survive the funnel process because the majority parties, Republicans in the House, and Democrats in the Senate, didn’t approve it.  However, I’ll continue to advocate for protection of Drug Endangered Children. I am working to find solutions. There are simply too many Iowa children at risk to allow this issue to remain unaddressed for another year.

The Jasper County Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Team, comprised of professionals from various disciplines who are involved in the protection of children, brought this issue to my attention. I share their concern about the current state of the law and the barriers in protecting Drug Endangered Children. We all have a role in protecting Iowa's most vulnerable citizens, and as a State Representative I do all I can to make a difference in the lives of drug endangered, and all kids, in Jasper County and throughout Iowa.


Kelly@the Capital. February 19, 2016. The Governor’s plans to privatize Medicaid and divert funds from public schools. This week, the Legislature hit the first self-imposed deadline we use to narrow the number of bills still eligible for debate, called the funnel. While there are a few exceptions for tax and budget bills as well as official resolutions, any bill that has not cleared a House or Senate Committee this week is dead for the year.

“Funnel week” is one of the busiest of legislative session. I was designated as ‘ranking member’ on 10 different subcommittees concerning a wide-range of bill topics such as; expanding use of carbon-monoxide detectors, agricultural land-lease agreements, improvements to laws requiring public meeting notices, and water-quality enhancement efforts among others. In addition, nearly 30 bills were up for consideration in the seven committees I serve on. Needless to say, the Capitol was a great place to be this week. It’s great to see good ideas move forward while bad ones get left behind. 

Some of the bills that are still alive this session include increasing penalties for identity theft, making it easier for Iowans serving in the military to vote, and giving kids additional protection from sexual predators.

While there was some progress this week, I’m deeply concerned that there was no action this week on the two biggest issues facing us this year – stopping the Governor’s plan to privatize Medicaid and setting basic funding for public schools. With the privatization deadline just two weeks away and school funding already two years behind, there’s no time to waste.

Last month, Governor Branstad outlined a plan to divert $4.7 billion from public schools to water quality. Since that time, the plan has been met with skepticism from school leaders, environmental groups, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. While we all agree action must be taken to improve water quality, Iowa would not be in this position if the mechanisms in place to address water quality issues had been funded properly in the first place. That includes $16.2 million vetoed by the Governor for water quality just two years ago and repeated attempts by House Democrats over the last five years to make additional investments in water quality that were turned back by Republicans.
The Republican plan to address water quality by scooping funds that were already promised to other school projects is a violation of voter trust. That’s because Iowa voters originally approved this sales tax fund at the local level for school infrastructure purposes. It was later enacted statewide by lawmakers with the same intent.

The Republican plan does not provide any significant monies to water quality improvement for at least seven years and it’s likely this plan will need to be put back to the people in 2049 in order to continue.  Republicans are presenting Iowans with a false choice by saying water quality has to come at the expense of our public schools. After years of stagnant state funding and constant delays, this is just the latest attempt to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools to other programs.

As the session progresses, as always, if you have ideas on how we can make Jasper County a great place to live, work, and raise a family, or if you need assistance with state agencies, call me at home 641-521-9260 or email dan.kelley@legis.iowa.gov. Jasper County’s comeback belongs to all of us.


Kelly@the Capital. February 12, 2016. It’s a busy time at the State Capitol as we are close to ‘funnel week.’ In order to survive, all bills must pass through a committee by the end of next week in order to stay eligible for floor debate. 

The urgency of funnel week, unfortunately, hasn’t motivated Iowa House Republicans to put kids first and act on school funding. Our school funding law says we set K-12 school funding two years in advance so schools have time to plan and to guarantee it’s the top budget priority. It forces the Legislature to consider education funding first and then fill in the rest of the state budget later.
After Democrats in the Senate took action earlier this week, Republicans are ignoring our school funding law again and refusing to take action.  They are now two years behind, because they did the same thing last year and still haven’t even set school funding for the school year that starts in August.
The yearly delays and anemic state investment in schools means higher class sizes, outdated technology, and old textbooks for kids in public schools. House Republicans have failed to follow state law and set basic funding for public schools for six years in a row.  Every year they have a different excuse why it can’t be done, but six years of constant delays really means public schools are NOT a priority for House Republicans.

Successful public schools are critical, and I’m staying in touch with teachers, administrators, parents, and, most importantly, students during this school funding crisis.  I want to hear your thoughts and concerns so feel free to call me anytime at 641-521-9260 or email to dan.kelley@legis.iowa.gov.

On Wednesday of this week, I was visited at the Capitol by a dedicated, sincere, and committed group of Jasper County voters working hard to protect nearly 15,000 adult dogs in more than 200 commercial breeding facilities throughout the state, three of which are in Jasper County. I’m proud of the work these local men and women are doing and stand firmly in their corner by supporting the Puppy Mill Bill.  Iowa is the 2nd largest offender for puppy mills in the country.
What is a “puppy mill?”

Most puppies sold commercially, direct to the public or through pet stores, are born in breeding kennels with cramped, crude, filthy conditions referred to as puppy mills.  With little regard for their basic health needs, adult dogs, used for breeding, spend their lives in these conditions resulting in serious physical and psychological disorders that affect both the adult dogs and their pups.

While reviewing inspection documents, I’ve seen horrible images of adult dogs in tiny, rusted-wire cages leaving little room to move.  The filthy pets sleep on weeks’ worth of excrement that is matted into their hair.  The dogs are clearly diseased, malnourished, abused, and neglected.  Often, these dogs are exposed to extreme temperatures but never exposed to light, natural or artificial, living their entire lives in darkness.  I’ve heard stories about dogs too old to breed, taken out of their rusted-wire cage and shot.  Can you imagine?

What does the Puppy Mill Bill do? Iowa’s puppy mills typically keep between 50 and 250 adult dogs. The state’s largest puppy mill has more than 1,500 dogs on site!

If a puppy mill has to be closed, the county is responsible for boarding, treating and/or euthanizing the rescued animals.  This is a serious financial burden and euthanizing is an unacceptable option.
The Puppy Mill Bill accomplishes four main objectives.  First, if it becomes law, counties will be reimbursed when drastic actions must be taken.  Second, the state government will have oversight, removing burdens from counties.  Third, more humane conditions, with access to fresh air and sunlight will become mandatory.  Most importantly, annual veterinary examinations for every dog will be required by law.

What can you do to help? Don’t unknowingly become part of the problem.  Buy smart.  If you purchase a puppy, insist on meeting the puppy’s parents and seeing their living conditions.  Or, better yet, adopt.  Visit your local animal rescue shelter and adopt an animal instead of buying.

If you’d be interested in joining a great group of local, Jasper County men and women working to protect pets from inhumane conditions, contact me and I will connect you to them.  Or visit www.iafriends.org.


Kelly@the Capital. February 5, 2016. After Governor Branstad’s plan to privatize Medicaid for 560,000 Iowans was delayed until March, I’ve joined my colleagues in requesting federal officials either delay the plan again or reject it all together. That’s because the governor still isn’t ready for the transition. 

I’m hearing from Iowans and health care providers from Jasper County and across the state about problems with implementation and transitioning to private care. I’m particularly disappointed in state officials who sent critical information about the transition that was not accessible to individuals with hearing and speech impairments. 

After a series of delays, too many local providers (doctors, clinics, and hospitals) still haven’t signed up with the managed care organizations (MCO). That means Iowans don’t know which MCO can provide the best possible health care they need.  Thousands of Iowans assigned to the WellCare MCO late last year are also facing uncertainty. While the state threw out the WellCare contract nearly two months ago, Branstad and state officials are just now assigning one of the other private companies to manage their care. 

With more lawsuits and more confusion since the last delay, it is clear Branstad’s privatization plan still isn’t ready. Health care for seniors in nursing homes, children, and those with disabilities are on the line. We can’t afford to let vulnerable Iowans fall through the cracks. It’s time to stop the governor’s rush to privatize Medicaid.

While the eyes of the nation have been focused on Iowa’s Presidential Caucuses, another significant event took place as the first foreign consulate office in Iowa history opened in downtown Des Moines on January 29.

I was honored to join dignitaries including; the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi, Governor Branstad, US Senator Ernst, and representatives of Congressman Loebsack, at this historic event in downtown Des Moines.

A “Consulate Office” is similar to a foreign embassy, and deals primarily with international trade.  The consulate office will be located on Court Avenue, and will be designated with the Kosovar flag.
With the presence of a Kosovar Consulate in Iowa we can pave the way for new business opportunities between Iowa and Kosovo and may encourage other countries to open a Midwest consulate in Iowa.  I am pleased they chose central Iowa over other larger cities in the Midwest.

Several hundred Iowan service men and women have been stationed in Kosovo over the last decade forming the first ties between the two regions. Kosovo has become one of Iowa’s most active international relationships with over 70 programs that link them with Iowa.  

As a member of the Iowa House International Relations Committee, I recognize Kosovo’s strategic regional importance, as well as the benefits of cultural and economic exchange between Iowa and Kosovo.  It was an honor to be a part of this historic consulate opening.  Clearly, international trade is beneficial to the mid-west, and a good provider of jobs.

As an example, our committee was recently visited by the Consulate General of Canada Jamshed Merchant. Merchant oversees the Canadian Consulate Office in Minneapolis assisting in Midwest-Canadian trade. He delivered some impressive statistics:
Canada is the largest export customer for Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and the Dakotas while Two-way trade between Canada and Iowa is $7.5 billion per year.  An average 105,000 jobs are supported each year by Canada-Iowa trade and investment links.  Canadians make a total of 476,000 trips to Iowa, spending $78 million in tourism dollars.

From 2011-2013, annual two-way goods trade between this region and Canada averaged $36 billion, supporting an average of 376,000 jobs per year. Over the same period, Canadians made 7.5 million trips to these states and spent 1.9 billion dollars in the region. 

Of particular note, Canada and Iowa are both leaders in responsible and sustainable North American energy production.  Just as Iowa is well-known for successful efforts in wind-energy, the Canadian province directly to our North, Manitoba, is a leading generator and exporter of hydro-electric power.  Much of Minnesota benefits from the clean, renewable energy generated by hydro-electric plants in Manitoba.  While Canada is known for production of oil, it is also important to recognizing their efforts in hydro-electric and other renewable forms of energy.

Feel free to call me at home anytime at 641-521-9260 or dan.kelley@legis.iowa.gov


I'm Running for Office to be Your Voice in the Iowa Statehouse

I believe we've made good progress in Iowa. But I believe there’s more we can do to help working families. I am committed to raising the minimum wage, helping families with the high cost of child care, and making public schools our top priority again.


Select News: 2014–2015

 

 

Kelley attends Clean Water Interstate Conference

From the Newton Daily News. Rep. Dan Kelley joined fellow Iowa and Minnesota legislators Sept. 21-23 to seek clean water solutions at a “Clean Water/Soil Health Tour,” hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Water Resource Center.

“Finding solutions to our ever growing need for clean water is not a unique problem to Iowa,” said Kelley, a member of the Iowa House Agriculture committee and Environmental Protection committee. “Through this interstate meeting we have made connections with Minnesota that might lead to further collaboration between our states and others in the future.” (More.)


Kelley appointed to third term on Innovative Swine Industry Enhancement Grant Board

From the Newton Daily News. Rep. Dan Kelley (D-Newton) was appointed to serve his third term on the Innovation Swine Industry Enhancement Grant Board to help spur and grow Iowa’s swine industry.

“Over the last decade, Smithfield grants have kept Iowa a world leader in agriculture,” Kelley said. “I look forward to the work on this committee for the final year of grants. We must do all we can to help those who want to further their operations in Iowa agriculture, while protecting the environment and improving Iowa’s water quality.”


Iowa State Representative Dan Kelley signs education petition 2015-07-10Petition calling for a Special Legislative Session to over-ride Governor Branstad's line-item veto of the education funding agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans

On July 2, Governor Branstad vetoed $56 million in urgently needed school funding. The money was approved by lawmakers in a compromise during the 2015 legislative session.

In an effort to restore school funding, some lawmakers are calling for a special session of the Iowa Legislature to overturn the veto. For a special session to occur, two-thirds of Iowa lawmakers (67 in the House/34 in the Senate) must formally request one.

Iowa school leaders say the result of the $56 million veto will be larger class sizes, fewer teachers, and higher property taxes.

A petition from Iowans to lawmakers calling for a special session was also launched and has already gathered over 6,640 signatures. Anyone interested in signing the petition can go here: https://www.change.org/p/members-of-the-iowa-legislature-call-for-a-special-session-to-restore-school-funding.

We must make kids our top-priority and stand-up for our educators. Education is an investment in the future. The Senate approved the measure by a 28-21 vote and the House by a 53-46 vote.


Rep. Dan Kelley urges review of Bakken pipeline plansEnvironmental review of Bakken pipeline plans and eminent domain reforms are needed

From the Des Moines Register State Representative Dan Kelley joined 14 fellow Iowa House members—three Republicans and 11 Democrats—to urge

the Iowa Utilities Board to commission an independent environmental assessment before making a decision whether to approve the proposed Bakken crude oil pipeline through Iowa.

The pipeline, which would transport up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota's oil production region to Illinois, would slice diagonally through 18 Iowa counties. Dakota Access LLC, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, is proposing the project.

Opposition has grown in Jasper County following recently proposed legislation as well as the shipping of 30-inch pipe material to Jasper County for this project that isn’t even approved.

Organizations opposing the pipeline include the Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Audubon Society.

More of the pipeline's 343 stretch cutting acorss Iowa would be in Jasper County than any other county in Iowa.

At a meeting at Uncle Nancy's in Newton, Rep. Kelley pointed out that there is already a pipeline in Iowa. Built in the 1950s, it was mothballed in 2013.

"I don't want an oil pipeline running through Iowa," Kelley said. "But if Dakota Access wants to build one, why tear-up farmland diagonally across Iowa when there's already an established right of way?"

Among those applauding Rep. Kelley's protective stance regarding Jasper County and the pipeline are Kathy Holdefer of Mingo, who wrote in a Letter to the Editor in the Newtown Daily News:

As a landowner and resident in House District 29, I have seen nothing but passionate, proactive dedication from Representative Kelley. When I arranged a meeting for Mingo area residents to discuss the Bakken issue in March, Dan came to listen and to share what he knew. He is never more than an email or a phone call away when I have a question or concern. I’m always impressed by the amount of research Dan does on every issue so he can cast his votes based on the best information possible.

Visit the website of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition to stay informed about efforts to oppose this proposed pipeline across Iowa. Online, you can use the hashtag #NoBakken.


Rep. Dan Kelley opposes tax increaseOpposing the Gas Tax Increase and Monitoring the Funds' uses

From the Newton Daily News State Representative Dan Kelley of Newton voted against the proposed gasoline tax increase.

“This bill will create an unnecessary, dramatic burden on families struggling to make ends meet,” Kelley said. “I’m particularly worried about seniors on a fixed income.

"In Jasper County, we will pay an additional $3.7 million at the pump under the bill, but just $1.4 million would come back to our county to fix up our roads,” Kelley said. “We need a better solution to our infrastructure needs, that will help our farmers get their crops to market and ensure local manufacturers can get their products delivered.”

The gasoline tax took effect on March 1, 2015. The vote in each house of the Iowa legislature was relatively close: The Iowa Senate approved the measure by a 28-21 vote and the House by a 53-46 vote.

Kelley said he has a responsibility to watch how the funds coming in from Iowa taxpayers at the gas pump are spent through the entire state. He also said he has the responsibility of monitoring how those funds are spent in Jasper County, Newton and the communities he represents.

“I encourage constituents to contact me with their thoughts on how the gas tax funds can be best spend and most effectively used,” Kelley said. “Jasper County will pay $3.6 million out of our own pockets towards the gas tax and we only get about 30 percent of that back for Jasper County. It is important that I, as a legislator, monitor this closely.”


Hillary Clinton and Dan Kelley in IowaInviting Hillary to Newton

Hillary Clinton met Democratic Representatives and Senators on April 15, 2015, at the Capitol.

I invited her to visit Newton, tour our wind manufacturing facilities and take a lap or two around the Iowa Speedway 7/8ths mile track.

 

 

 

 


Rep. Dan Kelley joins Iowa House Rural Caucus for 2015Iowa House Rural Caucus 2015

From the Newton Daily News State Representative Dan Kelley of Newton will serve on the House Rural Caucus for the 2015 legislative session.

“A vibrant ag economy is critical to a strong economy and creating jobs in communities across Iowa. Adding value to the crops for farmers through industries like renewable energy will give our local economy a boost and protect our natural resources,” Kelley said. (Continue....)


Iowa’s kids and economic future were shortchanged this week

From the Newton Daily News, January 30, 2015:

UPDATE, February. 10: Please sign this petition: "Provide adequate funding for Iowa's public schools"

The first bill up for debate this year provided local schools inadequate support. Throughout the week, I was visited at the Capitol by Jasper County’s school superintendents, school board members, teachers, parents, administrators, and, most importantly, students. Their voices all echoed the same sentiment, “Shortchanging our children will shortchange Iowa’s future.” They spoke loudly and clearly, the governor’s inadequate proposal would have adverse effects on Jasper County’s students. It would lead to higher class sizes, an increase in property taxes, and fewer opportunities for Iowa students.

I listened and introduced a common-sense plan to consider inflationary increases in day-to-day expenses of education. Everyone knows you can’t purchase a gallon of milk with the same dollar you used to purchase it with last year, so why would our governor and house majority legislators expect schools to meet their rising fuel, utility, textbook, computer and other costs with non-inflationary adjusted budgets? It makes no sense.

Unfortunately, despite the strong opposition, the house majority party approved the governor’s proposal of 1.25 percent “allowable growth,” and sent it across the rotunda to the Senate. It’s clear the majority party either wasn’t listening to the Iowans who came to the State Capitol to give testimony, or, worse yet, simply ignored them. Either way, Iowa’s kids and our future were shortchanged.Hopefully, my colleagues in the Senate will support 6 percent allowable growth, as I proposed, and finally put kids first.

I want to make certain everyone understands the school budgeting process. The allowable growth formula sets the amount of state and property tax dollars that fund school districts. The Legislature is required by law to set the rate 30 days after the Governor releases his budget proposal. This gives schools about 18 months advance notice concerning what state funds they will receive. Then local school boards are able to set their budgets. At least, that’s the way it would work if more of my colleagues valued kids over political games.


Iowa State Representative Dan Kelley signs in at the January 2015 opening session of the Iowa Legislature (House of Representatives)WORK TOGETHER TO BUILD A STRONG MIDDLE CLASS

From the Newton Daily News (Des Moines, Iowa) – The 2015 Iowa Legislature opened today and State Representative Dan Kelley of Newton was officially sworn in to office to the Iowa House of Representatives.

“The people of Jasper County gave me a tremendous honor by re-electing me as their State Representative in November. Today, I took the Oath of Office for the third time, and I am eager to listen, work hard, and serve our communities and Iowa during the new legislative session, both in Des Moines and at home,” said Kelley.

Some of the priorities outlined by Kelley this year include: expanding job training opportunities; raising the minimum wage; expanding early childhood education; improving access to broadband; and encouraging more production and use of renewable energy.

Iowa State Representative Dan Kelley and familiy members at the January 2015 opening session of the Iowa Legislature (House of Representatives)“We can begin the new year and new session with the principle we know well: that our challenges have solutions when people work together and trust each other. If we do that, then the challenges really do become opportunities for our citizens,” added Kelley.

The 2015 Legislature runs 110 days and is scheduled to adjourn on May 1st.

“The people of Jasper County are strong, optimistic, and ready for the future. These are the values that make us who we are. I am grateful to the citizens for giving me the chance to serve in the Iowa House of Representatives, and I am ready to get back to the Capitol on behalf of Jasper County and Iowa,” said Kelley.

“I encourage anyone with questions or suggestions to contact me at the Statehouse. While I will be attending a host of public events at home on weekends, I can be reached anytime by email at Dan.Kelley@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at 641-521-9260,” concluded Kelley.

Photos: Representative Dan Kelley was sworn into office during the first day of the 86th General Assembly of the Iowa House of Representatives on Monday, January 12, 2015. He was joined by his family in the House Chambers.


Kelley promotes Newton Renewable Energy jobs in DC

From in the Newton Daily News. State Representative Dan Kelley, of Newton, spent time promoting the Renewable Fuels Standard and the Wind Production Tax Credits to the White House and the United States Congress last week. He was also in attendance at a national conference dedicated to exploring policy solutions to climate change and clean energy solutions in Chicago.

Kelley along with fellow legislators from around the country spoke to a number of officials at the White House including Dan Utech, Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. Kelley also thanked Congressman Dave Loebsack for his support of the continuation of the Renewable Fuels Standard, and encouraged the rest of Iowa’s congressional delegation to support it as well. Continue reading....


Red Rock DamTaking the lead on hydropower

In the state that ranks third nationwide in terms of installed wind-energy capacity – about 27 percent of Iowa’s power comes from wind – state Rep. Dan Kelley believes that hydropower ultimately could produce as much power as Iowa’s wind turbines.

“The state of Iowa has become a national leader in wind energy, and that shows we have the wherewithal and the interest to pursue renewables to a great extent,” Kelley said. “There’s no reason we can’t do the same with hydropower. That’s why I’m trying to take the lead in these efforts.”

Photo: The Red Rock Dam near Pella, Iowa will soon be home to the state’s second-largest hydro plant. (Carl Wycoff via Creative Commons)


State Rep. Dan Kelley, D-Newton, appointed as the Ranking Member on the House Administration and Regulation Budget Subcommittee for the 2015 Legislative Session

“I look forward to continuing my leadership role on the Administration and Regulation Budget Subcommittee and working across the aisle to come up with solutions to keep the state budget balanced while providing important services for everyday Iowans,” Kelley said. “I will continue to work with constituents and colleagues to promote local jobs, strengthen our schools, protect seniors, and provide a healthy environment to future generations. Jasper County’s economic recovery belongs to all of us. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas to help build a quality future for Jasper County and Iowa, call me at home, 641-521-9260.”


REG Newton UpgradeAnother Victory for Newton: REG Newton Unveils $13.2 million Upgrade

Congressman Dave Loebsack along with Deputy Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Michael Naig joined community and business leaders to mark the occasion with a ribbon cutting and presentation.

“Enhancing REG Newton’s distillation and processing capabilities strengthens our lower-cost, multi-feedstock biomass-based diesel business and provides customers with more fuel options both in the Midwest and nationwide,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “This plant was already a high performing facility that deserved additional investment and I am confident the return on investment will be rapid.” Read more.

Photo: Newton Mayor Michael Hansen, Congressman Dave Loebsack and Rep. Dan Kelley along with business and company leaders attended the ribbon cutting for the REG Newton 30 million gallon nameplate biorefinery upgrade. (Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News)


Dan Kelley comments about Gateway Park, Jasper County, Iowa, near ColfaxA New Green Gateway to Jobs, Family Fun, and a Benefit to Jasper County

A 500-acre outdoor recreational park is in the works near Colfax. I'm going to serve as an Ex-Officio member of the board currently putting plans together. If done right, this could provide an economic boost to Colfax and the rest of Jasper County.

Campgrounds could benefit the Iowa Speedway and vice-versa. Year-round outdoor recreational opportunities will bring tourism dollars and enhance Jasper County as a great place for families. The land has been used as a gravel-quarry and has been mined to its fullest extent. This is a way to bring used-up industrial land back to its natural state.

I'm committed to making this project work as an economic boost, enhancement of our environment and provide opportunities for families. Read more.

COMMITMENT TO YOU

I'm Dan Kelley, a long-time resident of Jasper County. I serve in the Iowa House representing the 29th District. I am commited to being your voice in the Statehouse!

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Newton IA 50208.

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I WILL BE A VOICE FOR YOU IN DES MOINES

As your State Representative, I will focus on serving the needs of our communities, not the special interests. I will put your needs before those of party leaders. In Des Moines, I will fight to:

*Raise the minimum wage,
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