The League of Women Voters — Ottumwa would like to respond to a recent letter to the editor. We will explain more about our forums that we co-host with the Chamber of Commerce every spring, specifically regarding the issue of asking Curt Hanson to join the forum again this year. As the letter noted, League is nonpartisan. Our goals of encouraging informed and active participation by citizens in their government, increasing an understanding of major public policy questions and influencing public policy through education and advocacy guide our decisions regarding the forums. League chose to ask Curt Hanson to the forums for the following reasons:
1) Mr. Hanson has been a participant in the forums for several years. He brings to the forums knowledge of the processes of the Legislature, the committees he is on and knowledge of southern Iowa.
2) In the past years Kurt Swaim participated in the forums even though he did not represent Wapello County. Mr. Hanson now covers the area that Mr. Swaim formerly represented and Davis County residents do attend the forums.
3) Davis County residents as well as other county residents are welcomed and encouraged to attend the forums in order to participate in the democratic process by questioning and informing the legislators.
No consideration was given regarding asking Mr. Hanson to attend to “even” out representation of Democrats and Republicans.
League believes that the public will make better choices at the ballot box and will better be able to impact legislation by hearing all sides of an argument, and to that end League will continue to bring to the forums as much diversity and knowledge as possible.
League appreciates the feedback from the letter to the editor and we will take it into consideration in planning future forums. Any forum participants or listeners on KBIZ who have suggestions on how we can improve future forums are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bev VerSteegh, president
League of Women Voters of Ottumwa