Category Archives: Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor – Rob Hogg

To the editor,

Iowa families are needlessly losing sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers to overdose deaths. In 2013, nearly 100 Iowans died from opiate overdoses – a sharp increase over the last decade that has yet to receive an effective response from state leaders.
An individual dying from an overdose can linger for hours. While there is often enough time to get help, the fear of criminal prosecution discourages other people from calling for help. In addition, opiate antidotes can dramatically slow or reverse the deadly effects of an overdose. Unfortunately, it is illegal for non-health care workers to possess or provide this drug to overdose victims.
While we should do more to prevent opiate addictions through better public education and drug abuse treatment, we must do more to save lives now.
Other states have dramatically reduced overdose deaths by providing immunity to those who call for help for an overdose victim and by making it legal for more individuals to provide life-saving antidotes.
Here in Iowa, families want these same safeguards, and we should listen to them.
We should also listen to health professionals and paramedics like State Senator Chris Brase of Muscatine. Senator Brase has seen first-hand the senseless deaths Iowa families suffer due to opiate overdoses.Last March, Senator Brase helped convince the Iowa Senate to cast an overwhelming bipartisan 44-2 vote in favor of Senate File 410.
Now it is up to the Iowa House and Governor Branstad. I’m hopeful Linda Upmeyer, the new Speaker of the House, will make this a priority in the upcoming 2016 session. The legislation has already been unanimously approved by the Iowa House’s Public Safety Committee.
Opiate addiction affects many Iowa families. We should all pay attention to suffering Iowa families working to prevent additional tragedies. They are telling us how Iowans suffering from drug addiction have turned their lives around.
Let’s give them that chance. Let’s make Iowa the next state to allow sensible, effective measures that will prevent overdose deaths.

Rob Hogg

Rob Hogg is a state senator from Cedar Rapids. He currently serves as chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee and vice-chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Letter to the Editor – HPEA Executive Board

To the Editor:

The Hawkeye Professional Educators Association HPEA Executive Board Faculty members express our appreciation to all voters in our service areas who have supported Hawkeye Community College’s previous public measures. Your support changes lives, and we are so lucky to see it firsthand. Your support enables our main and outlying campuses to be the physical environments in which learning occurs, skills are polished, mentors are connected, and futures emerge. Your support also enables us to connect skilled workers with employers, employers with workforce training, and community members with careers. It is because of your support that Iowa is rich with graduates who serve in so many varied professional and skilled capacities in our communities.
As Faculty, we owe you our gratitude for the facilities and equipment that enrich our ability to serve our students and communities. We are ever conscious that the places we occupy and the equipment we have are a product of your public trust. We appreciate that our students enjoy a safe and comfortable environment enriched with current technology in which to learn and train for the careers they seek. We, as community college faculty, are proud to be connected with a college that places community foremost in its title, mission, and service.
On February 3, 2015, voters in a ten-county region will be asked to consider a $25 million bond issue for Hawkeye Community College. As proposed, Hawkeye plans to provide additional workforce development programs and services for adult students, expand capacity in high-demand fields such as healthcare/advanced manufacturing, and additional career academies in high schools and the College’s outreach centers. And because an existing levy is expiring, homeowners will not see an increase in Hawkeye’s overall tax rate. As Faculty we appreciate your support, and thank you for the ability to serve our communities. Please join us in voting on Tuesday, February 3.

Hawkeye Professional Educators Association (HPEA) Executive Board:
Carol Luvert, president
Jane Wagner, vice president
Rod Holke-Farnam, treasurer
Patty Crowe-Rubino, secretary

Letter to the Editor – Brian Schoenjahn

To the Editor,

Like most Iowans, I hate cronyism.

That’s why I was upset to find out that the state of Iowa has hired at least 990 employees since January 2007 without advertising their jobs. This happened under both Democratic and Republican Governors.

I’m not a fan of “friends hiring friends” for state jobs. That won’t get the best qualified candidates for government positions that involve millions of dollars and affect the basic rights of Iowans, our quality of life and our economic future.

For the last several months, I’ve investigated the hush money scandal and other problems with Iowa’s state government as a member of the Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee.

In addition to cronyism in hiring, we also learned that some state contracts are being awarded on an essentially “no bid” basis. There is no doubt that this “no bid” approach resulted in some bad deals for Iowa taxpayers.

Last month, the Oversight Committee approved a series of reforms to address these issues. We recommended that the Iowa Legislature require all state agencies to conduct formal competitive bidding for construction projects above $100,000.

We also recommended a return to the policy of requiring transparent, knowledgeable and nonpartisan recommendations when it comes to major state construction projects. It was a mistake for Governor Branstad to eliminate this safeguard a few years ago.

When it comes to spending millions of state dollars, no Iowa Governor should be able to rig the system to reward their friends and political cronies.

Senator Brian Schoenjahn, Arlington, IA


To the Editor – Roxine Hild

Dear Editor,

Many people get an annual physical or check-up. l’d like to encourage another type of check-up – a Medicare Part D check-up. It’s easy to sign-up
for a drug plan and stay with it year after year. But the State of Iowa’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) has found that doing an annual Part D check-up can save money.
Most people can change Part D plans once a year from October 15 through December 7. Last year SHIIP helped thousands of people compare plans during this time and found almost 80% saved money by changing plans for 2014. Part D plans can change premiums, co-payments and drugs covered each year. The plan that was best for you in 2014 may not be the best for 2015.
Now is the time for residents of Black Hawk County to do their Part D check-up. During the October 15-December 7 open enrollment period you can choose to change your Medicare drug coverage for 2015 or enroll in a plan if you missed earlier deadlines. We also know there are people who might be eligible to get help with their Medicare drug costs, but haven’t applied for that help with Social Security. If you’re on Medicare or know someone who is, share this important information with them.
The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) volunteers are available to help anyone on Medicare with questions about the drug benefit. They can also help compare the drug plans offered in Iowa, assist with enrollment in a plan if requested and help apply for assistance. To meet with a SHIIP counselor call 319-272-2250. SHIIP’s services are free, confidential and objective.
Start your check-up now. Don’t wait until the last minute to make a decision.
Roxine Hild, SHIIP Counselor
La Porte City

Letter to the Editor – Patricia Sass

Dear Editor,
I am writing to voice my support for Bruce Braley for U.S. Senate. The Senate election has deteriorated into partisan attacks about veterans’ issues. Our support for veterans is not a Democrat or Republican issue, but a priority that should be above misleading attack ads aimed at scoring political points.
Bruce Braley has a strong record of standing up for Iowa’s veterans and fighting to ensure their service is honored. He has stood up to the President and the pentagon to get back-pay that was denied to Iowa National Guard members, and he worked across party lines to improve disability services for veterans. He passed tax cuts for small business to hire veterans when they returned home from service. I know that Bruce cares about Iowa’s veterans, and I know he will continue to do so in the U. S. Senate.
Joni Ernst’s Tea Party ideas are wrong for Iowa. She supports privatizing Social Security, which would put Iowans’ retirement hopes in the hands of Wall Street. She wants to eliminate the federal minimum wage, and supports transforming Medicare to a voucher system, which would undermine benefits for Iowa seniors.
All the latest attacks on Braley’s strong record on veterans’ issues show how far Republicans are willing to go just to distract Iowans from Ernst’s Tea Party ideology. Ernst’s entire campaign has focused on everything except her positions on the important issues that affect Iowans.
Bruce Braley is the better candidate for veterans and he’s the better candidate for Iowa.
Patricia Sass, Waterloo, Iowa