Des Moines Register. June 8, 2018

Thanks to those who make sure Iowa's children don't go hungry in the summer

A rose to the government entities and individuals involved in helping ensure Iowa children have access to daily meals after school dismisses.

The Summer Food Service Program, administered by the Iowa Department of Education and funded with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides nutritious meals and snacks to children across the state during the summer months. The meals are available to all kids, regardless of whether they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

The Des Moines School District, for example, has 28 sites throughout the city, mostly in elementary and middle schools, serving lunch on weekdays. The Saydel Community School District also offers breakfast, and West Des Moines Community School District allows adults to purchase breakfast and lunch for a small fee.

Last year, Iowa schools, libraries, recreation centers and other groups served more than 1.3 million meals and snacks to children. Some sites have gone the extra mile to help kids, offering activities, free books and even a bus to deliver meals to those living in rural areas.

Summer is a fun time for many children. They spend time at camp, swimming pools or on a family vacation. But for those whose families struggle financially, parents may be working all day, and being out of school can mean the loss of access to prepared meals. Kudos to everyone dedicated to making sure these Iowa youngsters don't go hungry.

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Dubuque Telegraph Herald. June, 8, 2018

More women on the ballot boosts democracy

The face of Iowa politics is changing.

First, a record 99 women were on Democratic, Republican and Libertarian ballots in Tuesday's primary election for state and federal offices. When the dust of primary night settled, a record 85 women emerged as winners and will run for those offices in November's general election.

Maybe it was the #MeToo or #TimesUp movement that spurred women into action. Maybe women were motivated by President Trump — both those who support him and those who oppose him. Or maybe it was just their time.

Whatever the reason for the

pendulum swing, getting more women into public office will be good for the state. And it most assuredly will happen. In Dubuque County alone, all four major-party candidates in two Iowa House races are women. Democrat Lindsay James will face Republican Pauline Chilton in District 99, and incumbent Republican Shannon Lundgren will see a challenge from Nancy Fett in District 57. Either way, both those seats will be held by women come January.

The increase in women on the ballot is significant. It was record-breaking two years ago when 65 women advanced out of the primaries. Now that number has jumped 31 percent.

There will be women on the ballot for several statewide offices, including the barrier-breaking governor, Kim Reynolds, as well as auditor and secretary of state. Should Deidre DeJear unseat Secretary of State Paul Pate, she will become the first African-American in Iowa elected to statewide office.

The presence of women in some of these races wasn't subtle. They did not squeak by in winning their spots on the November ballot.

In a four-way race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. House in the 1st District, state Rep. Abby Finkenauer, of Dubuque, trounced her three opponents — one of them a woman — by attracting two-thirds of all votes cast.

A similar landslide was recorded by another Dubuque County woman, Democratic supervisor candidate Ann McDonough. She far outdistanced two other candidates, including an incumbent, in a primary in which voters could choose two nominees for the two seats to be on the ballot in November.

Gender shouldn't have much to do with why voters choose a candidate. But for too long — for ... ever, really, half the population has been vastly underrepresented in our government. That isn't good for democracy.

In November, things will be different. The ballot featuring so many more females will serve as inspiration to young women interested in public service.

The face of Iowa politics is changing.

Finally.

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Quad-City Times. June 6, 2018

Citizens, not John Wisor, own East Village

John Wisor doesn't own East 11th Street. He doesn't own Mound Street, either.

In fact, the proprietor of the bar and restaurant 11th Street Precinct owns none of the sidewalks and public right-of-ways in East Village.

They belong to the taxpayers of Davenport, regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation.

Wisor clearly forgot high school civics on Friday when, onlookers allege, he erupted into a gay slur-ridden tirade aimed at volunteers setting up Davenport's first Pride Week festivities.

Wisor's alleged comments might be what brought attention to the row in East Village, hateful smears that several witness claimed he yelled. Wisor is free to say whatever he likes, so long as it doesn't threaten, harass or defame. Hate speech is protected speech and, no matter how offensive or small-minded, it's every American's duty to defend Wisor's right to make a fool of himself, should the numerous accounts prove accurate. But everyone enjoys those same rights and nowhere does the First Amendment shield Wisor from the public scorn and financial damage he brought upon himself with his outburst.

Wisor's sense of privilege is the real issue here.

Wisor offered many excuses when Quad-City Times columnist Barb Ickes interviewed him about Friday's fracas. He didn't feel included in the planning, he said. The city didn't meet his demands for 20 police officers on site throughout the festivities, he complained. Volunteers dared erect portable toilets and an HIV testing tent on the street outside his business, he squawked.

It was those portable johns — placed on public property in the vicinity of his bar — that drove him to freak out on Pride Week volunteers.

Wisor's many excuses are neither believable nor justify his behavior on Friday that resulted in a police response. City officials held meetings with East Village businesses throughout the planning process. Police were on site during Friday night's kickoff. And, frankly, the portable toilets had to be placed somewhere.

It's also notable that just this past month, Wisor permitted parking during the Kwik Star Criterium. For Pride Week, his lots were taped off.

Either due to prejudice or business interests, Pride Week didn't meet Wisor's personal standards. And he stained an event celebrating the expansion of American rights — the inaugural event in Davenport — with a meltdown.

These are the actions of a man who, due to his wealth, is accustomed to getting his own way. Yet, no matter how many deeds in East Village Wisor holds, he does not own its public right-of-ways. He cannot lord over who walks on its sidewalks. He cannot dictate who drives on its streets. And he does not have the unilateral authority to decide what class of people are fit to throw a party in East Village.

It's this basic tenet of public property that should overrule Wisor's demand that East Village businesses — not Davenport's elected officials — determine who can hold a festival there. No doubt, Pride Week's 11th-hour move to East Village was a bit of a rush job after a vehicle plowed into the original location, Mary's on 2nd. But nowhere in the city charter does it say that East Village is reserved for straight, moneyed white folk with 2.5 children and a minivan.

Handing over permitting power to the likes of Wisor would be tantamount to city-sanctioned segregation.

Due to his wealth and force of personality, Wisor is used to wielding outsized influence. And that might fly within the confines of his businesses or in meetings of East Village business associations. But whether he likes it or not, Wisor's property is within the city of Davenport, where about 100,000 citizens also have a say.

And it's that fact which Wisor clearly couldn't handle.

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Sioux City Journal. June 7, 2018

Power of wind strengthens in Iowa

A plan announced on May 30 by MidAmerican Energy for another $922 million investment in wind turbines with the capacity to produce an additional 591 megawatts of power provides fresh evidence of Iowa's strength as a national leader in clean, renewable energy.

If approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, the project will be completed by 2020 and allow MidAmerican Energy to reach its goal of generating renewable energy equal to 100 percent of residential and business customer usage on an annual basis, according to the company.

By comparison, wind produced zero percent and coal produced 70 percent of MidAmerican's generation capacity in 2004.

"Iowans are used to leading the way," Gov. Kim Reynolds said. "We believe to our core that it is our responsibility to use the resources we are given in the best way possible. It's that sustainable approach that has led Iowa to achieve the highest percentage of power generation coming from wind energy, more than any other state. And, it doesn't hurt that we have a company like MidAmerican Energy that has taken the long view and is forward-looking in its goal to provide sustainable and affordable energy to its customers."

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa in 2017 ranked first in the nation for share of electricity provided by wind energy (36.9 percent) and third in the nation for installed wind capacity (more than 7,300 megawatts).

As we have said before, the wind industry is, from any perspective, a winner for our state. In addition to supporting, directly and indirectly, some 8,000 jobs, the thousands of wind turbines dotting Iowa's landscape help keep electric rates stable for utility customers, put more money in the pockets of farmers and other rural landowners in the form of lease payments, create export potential and increase property tax revenue. Plus, it's friendly to our environment.

We join the Reynolds administration in praise for MidAmerican's commitment to green energy, its investments in the economic future of our state and its contributions to a more energy-independent nation.

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