Statehouse News (April 12, 2013)
Iowans are encouraged to share their views at a special public hearing next week on a plan to expand affordable health care to 150,000 Iowans. The hearing will be Tuesday, April 16, in the Iowa House of Representatives at 5:30 p.m. Iowans who wish to participate can call 515-281-5129 to speak at the public hearing or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is one of the top issues in the Legislature this year.
Senate File 296 expands affordable health care to 150,000 Iowans who don’t currently have insurance through their employer. It would only be available to Iowans with annual incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for a single person or $32,488 for a family of four). The federal government would pay the full cost of the first three years and then pay at least 90% of all costs after that. The bill also includes an automatic opt-out of the expansion plan if the federal government does not keep its promise on funding.
The Governor introduced a different health care plan to the Legislature late last week. An analysis of the two plans found the Governor’s plan covers fewer Iowans and costs more (see table below). It would cost Iowa taxpayers $163 million annually while also requiring additional federal dollars compared to just expanding Medicaid. The Governor’s alternative also requires federal approval, which is uncertain at this time.
If the Legislature does not take action, an estimated 69,000 Iowans would lose health care they currently receive through the Iowa Cares program, which expires at the end of 2013. Read this week's Statehouse News.
Statehouse News (April 5, 2013)
Biodiesel use in Iowa has doubled over the last few years, from 13.9 million gallons in 2011 to over 23 million gallons in 2012, and it is offered at over 300 locations across Iowa. Biodiesel, which is made from agricultural waste and residue, is now blended in over 40% of the fuel sold in Iowa.
Iowa is the leading state in biodiesel production. With 15 biodiesel plants, Iowa can produce 325 million gallons of biodiesel per year. The industry adds about $470 million to Iowa’s economy annually and supports about 5,000 jobs.
Over the last decade, Iowa has worked to become a world leader in renewable energy with a goal of replacing 25 percent of petroleum based fuels with biofuels by 2020.
Statehouse News (March 21, 2013)
I recently had the benefit of meeting with members of the Newton Fire Department including Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik, Calvin Swank, and Tyler Harsselaar; Kerrigan Owen, 2013 State of Iowa VFW "Voice of Democracy" speech champion (pictured) and Travis Holden, 5th District Commander at the Statehouse (pictured); Roxanne Dass from Fix the Debt; and Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable. Read this week's Statehouse News.
Statehouse News (March 15, 2013)
Among others I met this week were Mitch Henery of LULAC, Miss Irish Queen 2013 Kayla Joyce, Kim Joyce and Marcella Cocoran-Kennedy of the Irish Parliament; Herb Scott, Arlyn Vanzante and Richard Roordan of the Farm Bureau of Jasper County; and the Newton Christian Day School 7th and 8th Grades (pictured).
Renewable Energy Continues to Boost Iowa Economy
Iowa has become the first state to meet a national goal of generating at least 20% of its power from wind. According to the US Energy Information Administration, electricity generated from wind made up 24.5% of all electricity generated in Iowa. According to the Iowa Wind Energy Association, the wind energy industry employs 6,000 to 7,000 Iowans and produces enough power for over 1 million homes. Iowa is currently 3rd in the nation in total wind capacity. With an extension of a federal tax credit for wind energy earlier this year, more wind farms are expected in Iowa later this year.
New Research Shows Benefits of Early Childhood Education
A new cost-benefit analysis indicates that up to $16 is returned long-term for every $1 invested in a high-quality early childhood program. Although, the cost of preschool is generally about $3,500 to $4,000 per child annually, big long-term payoffs on their initial investment will benefit taxpayers as well as student achievement.
Read this week's Statehouse News.
Only look forward from this point on
Opinion editorial, Newton Daily News:
Tuesday, during the State of the Union Address, the President highlighted recent successes in manufacturing jobs and wind energy. Nationwide, nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since January of 2010.
This is the fastest three-year growth in more than a decade. New manufacturing opportunities have come in three primary sectors: automobiles, high-tech, and energy. These are certainly welcome statistics, but while our economy is gradually recovering, many Iowans continue to struggle to make ends meet.
No, the economic impact of the wind industry is not the equivalent of our former major employer. However, at this point, we must look only to the future and focus on job growth by promoting the industries who have chosen to call Jasper County home and encouraging other employers to make the same decision.
That’s my focus and I’m committed to keeping it. Let’s all commit to only looking forward from this point on, with our heads held high and faith in our ability to build a bright future.
The Newton plant is one of many wind-tower producing plants operated by Trinity. With all their manufacturing facilities combined, they have more capacity than any other wind tower manufacturer in North America. Their resources give them the ability to expand as necessary to meet the needs of their customers.
The parent company, Trinity Industries, Inc., is a multi-industry company that owns a variety of market-leading businesses which provide products and services to the industrial, energy, transportation and construction sectors. Trinity’s businesses provide capital goods and services ranging from railcars to barges, concrete to propane tanks, highway guardrail to structural towers, railcar parts to crash cushions, railcar fleet management, and railcar leasing services. It’s a large company with a strong foothold in several areas of manufacturing.
The Newton plant operates as a partnership between Trinity and the workers who organized in 2010 through IBEW Local 347. The goal of this partnership is to secure the plant’s future, progressively ensuring safe, quality, local jobs in the competitive and growing wind industry.
With the recent one-year extension of the wind production tax credits, these partners have a genuine chance to succeed. The wind production tax credit provides a 2.2 percent per kilowatt-hour credit for the first 10 years of electricity production from utility-scale wind-turbines, like those built in Newton.
It is important to note that the entire Iowa Congressional Delegation, especially Congressman Loebsack, helped to push their colleagues to extend the federal wind-production tax credits. Many wind energy proponents, myself included, had hoped for at least a two-year extension. We didn’t get it, yet. It’s possible another extension could be authorized by Congress.
I’m doing my part at the Capitol in Des Moines. This week, I submitted a resolution in the Iowa House calling on Washington to approve an additional two-year extension. What can you do? I’d like to encourage you to reach out to U.S. House members Congressman Tom Latham at 1-866-428-5642 and Congressman Steve King at (712) 224-4692.
They are in a position to tell U.S. House Speaker Boehner how important it is to Jasper County’s future that he put an extension on the President’s desk. The President knows it’s critical, and he will sign it.
Statehouse News (February 22, 2013)
The Iowa House approved a scaled back version of the Governor’s education reform bill this week after a non-partisan analysis of the plan found the Governor didn’t provide enough money for implementation in over 60% of Iowa schools.
To deal with the shortfall, the House majority party lowered beginning teacher salaries from $35,000 to $32,000 and made reform efforts optional. The bill approved still shortchanges 130 school districts if they decide to participate in reform efforts. Several lawmakers offered a plan to provide the full cost of reform efforts to schools, but it was not adopted. (Read more.)
Photo: I welcomed Debby and Issac Pence of IFAPA (Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association) on the House Floor on Febrary 19th, 2013.
Statehouse News (February 15, 2013)
I recently met with Troy Anderson and two of the CRNAs from Skiff Medical Center in Newton at the Iowa Association of Nurse Anesthetists Reception, (pictured). Also, I was visited by Morgan Iske, Decon Pearson, Kelsi Engleken of the FCCLA; by MICA family development specialists Brooke Nott and Sheree Andrews for FaDDS day on the Hill; by Christina Kuecker, and Pam St. John of Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa; by Renewable Energy Groups' Lab Coordinator Rebecca Blair and EHS Coordinator Bill Cobbs; by Newton Board of Realtors representatives Koni Bunse, Vice President Deb Cross, Duane Rozendaal, President Les Morgan, State Delegate Krista Clark and Stuart Oaretsingeron; by ABATE Members from district 9 Allen Anthony, Jim Robinson, Seated Scott Deeter, Marc VanMaanen, Tammie Deeter, Shelly VanMaanen and John Frimmal; and by others. I enjoy learning about issues and concerns at the Statehouse from knowledgeable constituents and other advocates and professionals.
Statehouse News (February 8, 2013)
House Approves $60 Million in Tax Cuts for Middle Class, Small Businesses
The Iowa House approved the first bill of the session this week that will provide $60 million in tax cuts to create new jobs and opportunities for working families. The changes approved this week are mostly due to the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which Congress passed at the beginning of the New Year. (Read more.)
Expanding Affordable Health Care to More Iowans
According to a recent non-partisan poll, nearly 60% of all Iowans support expanding health care coverage to cover uninsured and underinsured adults who do not have private health insurance. (Read more.)
Photo: I met with Team Neutrino from Ames, and robot Optimus Climb at the Capitol for STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) Day on the Hill on February 6, 2013.
Statehouse News (February 1, 2013)
Condition of the Iowa Guard
Major General Timothy E. Orr, Adjutant Major of the Iowa National Guard, delivered the annual Condition of the Guard to the Iowa Legislature this week. General Orr focused his comments on the work the soldiers and airmen have done in Iowa and around the world as well as the transition back into the workforce for returning soldiers and airmen. (Read more.)
Iowa Superintendents: School Funding Delay Hurts Student Achievement
Over 87% of Iowa school superintendents say aid to local schools must be set by March 1st or earlier to avoid teacher layoffs, crowded classes, and harm to student achievement. Superintendents also unanimously (99%) believe that education dollars would be used more effectively if the state returned to setting basic aid to education a year and a half in advance. (Read more.)
Photos: With Major General Timothy E. Orr, Adjutant Major of the Iowa Nation Guard, and Minister of Kosovo Secrurity Force, Agim Ceku; below: with Tami and Jenny from the Iowa Speedway during the Iowa Tourism Showcase on Wednesday, January 29, 2013.
Statehouse News (January 25, 2013)
Here are some of the headlines from the Statehouse this week:
Veterans Day on the Hill; Education Reform Hearings Begin; Insurance Commissioner Approves Another Wellmark Rate Increase; Governor Proposes Property Tax Changes; Iowa Economy Steadily Improves; Motorcycle Safety Forum Set for April 26; State Patrol Accepts Grant for Distracted Driving Simulators; Federal Tax Changes Result in Higher State Revenues; Soil Conservation and Water Quality. (Read more.)
Photo: Patriot Outreach, Midwest Director Lee Booten and National Director Col. Antonio Monaco. I helped pass a bi-partisan resolution in the House honoring the organization’s work in supporting troops suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
KCOB discussion about the legislative session
I was interviewed by KCOB News Director Randy Van in a two-part discussion on the start of the legislative session. To listen, click here, scroll down to the December 22 & 29 interviews and click the play button.
Newton manufacturers give input to legislators about skilled worker shortage
Iowa ranks fifth out of the 50 states in manufacturing as a percentage of its gross domestic product. But, as more baby boomers prepare to retire and leave the workforce, Iowa’s strong manufacturing sector could be in danger.
“We have a skilled labor shortage,” Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal told a group of more than two dozen Newton manufacturing executives and community leaders during a town hall meeting Thursday afternoon at the Newton Development Corporation office.
DMACC President Rob Denson...said DMACC currently offers 150 programs, all of which are full and have waiting lists, despite some programs offering classes around the clock.
“We can only create so many students at a time,” he said. “Each class can only have about 16 students, based on accreditation and space constraints.”
(Photo: Iowa State Sen. Dennis Black, Iowa State Rep. Dan Kelley and Newton Community Development Director Bryan Friedman listen as Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (second from left) speaks about the need to fill Iowa's "skilled worker gap." (Bob Eschliman/Daily News))
Kelley named ranking member of House subcommittee
Newton Independent: Rep. Dan Kelley, D-Newton, was named the Iowa House Democratic Party ranking member of the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines.
McCarthy on Wednesday announced the party's ranking members for 20 standing committees and seven appropriation subcommittees. Democrats hold 47 of the 100 House seats.
"The team we've assembled to lead committees will be ready to hit the ground running in January and put aside the partisanship to keep focused on jobs and other issues important to middle-class families," McCarthy said in announcing the assignments.
Letter to the Editor by Dan Kelley
I appreciate the support my campaign received during the recent election. Thank you for re-electing me as State Representative.
Thank you to campaign donors and volunteers. Your efforts secured a wide-margin of victory on Election Day.
Congratulations to all candidates who were successful in their efforts and thanks to everyone who stepped forward to run for office. Thanks, Gabe, for a spirited, yet respectful, discussion of the issues. I wish you and your family the best. I look forward to our ‘post-election dinner’ and it’s on me.
Again, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue serving as State Representative, this time in the new House District 29. I’m proud to represent my hometown, Newton, as well as Baxter, Mingo, Kellogg, Ira, Valeria, Lambs Grove, and Oakland Acres.
I’m especially excited to represent the new towns in my district; Colfax and Prairie City. To my former constituents in Lynnville, Sully, Reasnor, and Killduff, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to represent and meet you.
I will continue to work for the benefit of the entire county, and I will build a good working-relationship with your new State Representative Greg Heartsill.
While the legislative session begins in January, serving in the Iowa House is a year-round job. Feel free to contact me anytime at (641) 521-9260 or email@example.com, or visit my website at www.electkelley.com.
2012 “Champion of Renewable Fuels” award from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
I am proud of my record in the legislature expanding the use and production of renewable fuels. I'm grateful to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association for being presented with a 2012 "Champion of Renewable Fuels" award. As pointed out by the Newton Daily News:
A Great Experience at the Toll Fellow Leadership Program
I was excited to be one of 40 emerging state leaders from across the nation who met for the Toll Fellowship Program Leadership conference sponsored by The Council of State Governments.
The program includes a week-long seminar named in honor of Henry Toll, a Colorado senator who founded CSG in 1933. This year's program was held in Lexington, Ky., and focused on trends analysis, policy development, crisis management and leadership and institutional changes.
May 7, 2012 - Associated Press - Iowa lawmakers send 4 budget bills to governor
Kelley @ the Capital
April 24, 2012 - Earth Day has special significance for Jasper County
See the Fallon Forum and past programs on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FallonForum
May 3, 2012 - Extension of the session
Read Carolyn Cook's letter to the editor supporting initiatives to make Iowa's schools green. Newton Daily News, January 20, 2012
“Made in Iowa” Legislative Priority for 2013 Session, October 19, 2012
Kelley files for re-election bid, Newton Daily News, March 21, 2012. Newton State Rep. Dan Kelley will seek re-election to the Iowa House in 2012 in the new District 29, which covers all of Newton and part of Jasper County. "Serving the people of Jasper County in the Iowa House is a great honor and I look forward to running for another term. I’m proud of our progress this year, our community has a bright future with good schools, a quality workforce, and growing industries like renewable energy," said Kelley, who is serving his first term in the Iowa House.
Joining Iowa lawmakers in forming bipartisan cancer caucus, January 11, 2012 article. A bipartisan group of House and Senate members are forming a “cancer caucus” to raise awareness and share collective knowledge among legislators and their constituents about a large group of different diseases that claim more than 6,000 Iowans’ lives every year.
Rep. Scott Raecker, R-Urbandale, Rep. Dan Kelley, D-Newton and Sens. Pat Ward, R-West Des Moines, and Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, have held an initial telephonic meeting with Dr. George Weiner, president of the Iowa Cancer Consortium and director of the University of Iowa’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, to organize the caucus and to decide what its role, if any, will be in the policy-making arena. (Read more at easterniowagovernment.com.)
Fellowship for Midwestern Leadership Institute, Newton Independent, October 25, 2011
I was honored to be among 37 lawmakers selected to participate in The Council of State Governments' 17th annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development. The non-partisan institute is a training program that annually identifies and assists Midwestern state leaders in developing leadership skills and analyzing a variety of public policy issues, including economic development, education and environmental protection.
Kelley meets with Lance Armstrong
Excerpts: "It was an honor to meet with Lance to discuss cancer prevention and how Iowa can better support cancer survivors," said Kelley, who agreed to help form a bi-partisan caucus on cancer prevention, research and accessible treatment.
Kelley, Black calling for special session of Iowa Legislature
Excerpts: “It’s clear if we don’t act quickly the governor will go forward with his plan to close our office in Newton and other critical locations across the state,” Kelley said. “I’m calling for a special session so the more than 200,000 unemployed and under-employed Iowans don’t lose this critical resource to find good paying jobs in Iowa and to help local businesses find skilled workers.”
Kelley appointed to ARRA oversight board
Rep. Dan Kelley, D-Newton, has been appointed to the Iowa Accountability and Transparency Board by House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy. The ARRA provided increased federal funding to jump start growth, create and maintain jobs and assist the economy as it battles back from recession. In Iowa, funding is applied to projects including improving infrastructure, supporting schools, promoting health care and fostering development of renewable energy. (Read the complete article here.)
Thanks to Lisa Cunningham for her recent letter to the editor.
Excerpt: Iowa House lawmakers moments ago rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Dan Kelley, D-Newton, that would have required voter approval before a nuclear power plant could be located within a county. Kelley offered an amendment that would have required a majority vote of county voters before a nuclear plant could be constructed. If not approved by the voters, the question could not be brought again for eight years.
Rep. Dan Kelley would gain portions of western Jasper County under the proposed House District 29 map released today and lose a portion of the southeast part of the county. (See the maps.)
FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Interview with Randy Van, News Director of KCOB. October 27. I discuss my reason for running and legislative goals. Much of the discussion concerns the unemployment rate of Jasper County.
Iowa's Land and Water Legacy. I was on The Fallon Forum recently to talk about Question #1 on Nov. 2nd's ballot Iowa's Water and Land Legacy Amendment. I strongly support voting YES on Question 1. The amendment will allow The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund to provide a permanent, dedicated and accountable funding mechanism for protection of water quality, conservation of agricultural soils, and improvement of natural areas in Iowa, including fish and wildlife habitat. Click here to listen.
October 21, 2010, Candidates Forum. Listen to the Jasper County League of Women Voters Candidate Forum. Candidates for Jasper County Supervisor are the first part of the audio. Candidates for State General Assembly (Senate and House) then follow.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The seat Dan is running for was previously held by my father for the past 18 years. He served Jasper County to the fullest and genuinely cared for and listened to his constituents, as I feel Dan would also do a great job of.
I have known Dan Kelley for over ten years. I can affirm that he is a man of great character and someone you would be pleased to have as your State Representative.... [Dan] believes that every child should get this opportunity. Kelley’s focus is to ensure that our schools prepare our kids for the 21st century economy. (Letter)
I have voted for Republicans and for Democrats. I fall in the middle, literally, on most issues, like most people do.... I believe FULLY that Dan Kelley is the best man for the Job for house district 41. Period. He sincerely cares about the community and the world we live in. (Letter)
I am pleased to know that Dan Kelley is running for state representative.
Dan's commitment to Jasper County is phenomenal. He is an avid volunteer, serves on many boards, and has a positive outlook on the future of our area.
When it comes to policies, he is a true believer in helping the middle class, putting children first, using tax money wisely, doing what is right for our county and serving the needs of all citizens. (Letter)
Special interests have too much influence in politics and Dan Kelley will work for the people of our district and state rather than feed at the trough of the special interest. (Letter)
Dan proved himself to be well-informed about the issues facing Iowans, particularly working families. (Letter)
[Dan] is very concerned about the current problems in our country and wants us to know he will support our seniors and Medicare. He wants to ensure our children are ready for the future.
He believes in supporting our Veterans and our troops overseas. He wants to bring good paying jobs to Newton. (Letter)
Character, understanding, intelligence, discipline, the ability and willingness to listen and the exuberance to give 100 percent — these are the essentials I know are necessary to be a good State Representative. Dan Kelley has all of these traits. (Letter)
[Dan] understands the devastation the loss of good paying jobs in our county has caused and will work hard to bring good paying jobs to Iowa and our county.... He will always tell you his position and listen to yours. He has managed a positive campaign.... Isn’t positive campaigning something we have all said we would like to see? (Letter)
MY 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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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:
*Bring good-paying jobs to our communities,
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Paid for by Dan Kelley for State Representative, P.O. Box 333, Newton, IA 50208. Copyright Dan Kelley for State Representative.