OTTUMWA — Saturday morning at the Bridge View Center, State Sens. Mark Chelgren and Ken Rozenboom and state Reps. Mary Gaskill and Larry Sheets met with members of the community to discuss questions that citizens in the district have.
Sponsored by the Ottumwa League of Women Voters, Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce, the public forum served as a way for the community to meet with their legislators and ask questions that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to.
The questions from members of the community included topics like how can we get more visitors to come to the area, what is being done to keep college tuition costs down and how each of them feels about adding traffic cameras and using drones for public safety, among many others.
Each of the legislators had a minute and half to answer the questions, which proved to be tough at times as all four had to be stopped at one point or another.
After there were no more questions from the public, the legislators had a chance to make closing statements.
They varied in their statement topics, but each of them ended by giving a lot of thanks for the sponsors of the forum and for the community members who were present. They also shed light on why public forums are so important because they give the public information about what is happening in state legislature.
“How else can you understand what your legislators are doing without getting them up here and asking them questions,” Chelgren asked.
“That’s a really big place up there, with a lot going on,” Gaskill said.
“This only works if we have you folks here as well,” Rosenboom said.
“I appreciate all of you [in attendance] for this forum,” Sheets said.
The League of Women voters have finished their public forum series for the legislative season. They are planning to have more forums once the voting season starts in the fall, according to League President Bev Ver Steegh.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh