The Ottumwa Courier


September 5, 2012

Guest editorial: Who should speak at Labor Day rally?

‘Petty partisan politics’ should not taint event

OTTUMWA — On Aug. 27, I called Joe Rush and requested to attend the non-partisan Labor Day event. Joe agreed and said he would call me back with a time.

On Aug. 30, the day before the event was to start, Steve Siegel called to inform me that he was “the person really in charge” and I was not welcome to be there. I next received the following email:


Please advise us as to how you have supported organized labor. You sponsored a bill to do away with Chapter 20 and all public sector unions; you sponsored a bill to make it illegal for members of private sector unions to voluntarily contribute to their political action committee; you referred to Iowa’s public schools as Nazi propaganda centers.

Please advise us of what you have done to support organized labor and its members and we will consider your request.

Steve Siegel

My response is below:

Hello Steve,

Thank you for asking. I have consistently supported local control in government and the empowering of teachers, police, fire fighters, judges and all those that labor to support their families and make Iowa a great place to live. It is wrong to mandate from afar and irresponsible not fund required programs.

I am working with the community college system to expand access to extended vocational programs.

Chapter 20 is broken to the point that it is no longer followed and there is a cowardice from both parties to update it.

Any citizen that wishes to contribute to a PAC should be able to do so but the state should not be the fiduciary agent.

I never referred to Iowa schools as Nazi propaganda centers and clearly said just the opposite which is I do not want a top down education system in the state of Iowa.

As for supporting labor directly, I paid my way through college as a union carpenter and my father has just retired from the carpenters union in southern California. I know what it means to work hard for a living and I am proud that as an entrepreneur, I have created an environment that as an employee I would be excited to work in.

I am using my experience as a job creator to help the state of Iowa grow the private sector and bring more opportunities to workers across this great state.

I have always lead by example and will continue to do so.

Senator Mark Chelgren

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