The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

January 15, 2013

Bringing the Legislature to Ottumwa

Series of legislative forums to give locals a personal conversation with representatives

OTTUMWA — As the 2013 legislative session kicked off Monday in Des Moines, two Ottumwa organizations began preparing for three legislative forums this spring.

The forums, sponsored by the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Ottumwa, have been a staple in Ottumwa’s political discussion for several years.

Area state representatives and senators compose the panel, which fields questions from the public about anything they’re tackling in the Iowa Legislature.

“I encourage as many individuals, businesses and organizations to attend as possible,” said Terry McNitt, executive director of the chamber. “This year I know there are a lot of topics on the table that are going to affect a lot of people.

“If you don’t attend, if you don’t take part, if you don’t ask questions ... it’s your fault. If something happens and it doesn’t go your way, you’re part of the fault.”

During the first forum, legislators usually give the public an update on what has happened in the legislature in the past month.

“This year I’m expecting again a lot of the bigger areas they talked about last year: mental health, education, tax reform,” McNitt said. “Those affect all of us.”

Legislative attendees at last year’s forums included state Sens. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, and Sandy Greiner, R-Keota, and state Reps. Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa, Curt Hanson, D-Fairfield, as well as former state Rep. Kurt Swaim, D-Bloomfield.

“It has a big impact, talking to your legislators,” McNitt said. “You have a personal, one-on-one impact on the outcome. It’s going to be an interesting year. There are going to be some long, hard-fought battles.”

McNitt said he’s enjoyed partnering with the LWV because they have solid rules that keep the forum moving and give everyone a chance to speak.

As attendees file into the room, they are given a number if they want to ask a question. Throughout the forum, the numbers will be called in order, the person will have an allotted time to speak and then each legislator will have a chance to respond.

“I think it’s a great thing to have because it gives us a local voice,” McNitt said. “A couple years ago we had the gas tax on the table and that’s back when prices were very high. Though a lot of us feel that it’s not high because it’s below $3, it’s still high. Everything we do depends on fuel ... heating, cooling. I think this year they’ll be putting the gas tax on the table again.

“The last time when it was on the table, we had a very strong crowd because a lot of people are impacted when they throw more tax on the pumps.”

McNitt has his own questions and requests from his legislators. He wants them to work on new, revenue-generating projects, as well as examining “how they divide things up, who gets cut and who gets the money.”

“They can’t just keep taxing people and taxing people,” he said. “The money’s got to come from somewhere, but they haven’t figured out where it’s going to come from yet.”

Legislative forums

The first Saturday of February, March and April (Feb. 2, March 2 and April 6)

9:30-11 a.m.

Bridge View Center

Free

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth

    OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 Right side up monster truck pic Nice driver --- mean machine OTTUMWA --- Drivers sat at one end of their vehicles during the "pit party," meeting fans and signing autographs before the motorsport and monster truck exhibition at Bridge View Center this weekend. Monster truck driver Orville Hill let kids --- and

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415 OTT Composting ethical pic Recycling in a garden OTTUMWA --- Parents will tell you: They hate to see kids waste food. A gardner named Scott Koepke feels the same way. “First, let’s get our food to people who are going to eat it,” he said. “It hurts me to see kids in the schools throw away an entire

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0412 OTT Pothole color photo -T -M [Duplicate] A bumper crop of potholes OTTUMWA — The nice weather has been putting the bad roads on display. Officials say good: It gives us a chance to fix them. “Every city is going through the same thing,” said Larry Seals, Ottumwa Public Works director. “It has been an unusual winter

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home in a tent OTTUMWA -- As people live without shelter, they become desperate finding a place to sleep. The situation impacts more than just the community's homeless. "There is nowhere to put people who are homeless," said Mary Margaret Butler. "Nowhere." Ottumwa

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Martha Speaks color photo -T -M Ottumwa children visited by cartoon star OTTUMWA — Iowa Public Television is celebrating its 45-year anniversary this year by helping communities like Ottumwa educate young children before they get into a school setting. One of the programs they are using to help reach out to children is by

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National