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
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National