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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community
December 13, 2018

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As we gear up for the 88th General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature, I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and input to help solve challenges we have faced in central Iowa and our surrounding communities.

This past summer has created some herculean challenges, especially for some residents in Marshalltown and surrounding counties due to the severe storms. I have witnessed first-hand the staggering devastation, as well as the inspiring will of human spirit. Although the strength of the storm hammered a deep blow to our communities, the human spirit has and will overcome. We will have a long row to hoe ahead, but with faith, good will of man, and the unending pursuit for a better tomorrow we will prevail.

As I approach the January 14 legislative start date, I am preparing for some new roles in the Iowa Senate. I recently received my committee assignments for the coming year. I have the honor of chairing the Local Government Committee. This will be an exciting new arena for me, not only as a new committee, but as my first chair position in the Senate. I will also be vice chairof the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget subcommittee. In addition, I will be sitting on Veterans Affairs, Education, Agriculture, Human Resources, Ways and Means, and International Relations policy committees. With these types of assignments you can bet this will be a very busy session!

Mental health continues to be at the forefront of many conversations. It is an issue that has no socio-economic, age, race, or gender boundaries. In some form or fashion, the mental health of our society affects us all. I plan to keep working on solutions this year not only for the adult (MHDS) system, but hope to work with legislators and stakeholders to create Iowa's first Children's Mental Health System.

After talking with many of you over the summer, I've heard many of your comments and your priorities. This legislative session, I will work toward responsible education funding, prudent stewardship of taxpayer dollars, veterans issues, law enforcement issues, expanded economic opportunities, and improving assistance programs so they create a hand-up and not a hand-out.

Needless to say this will be a busy year. It is a privilege and an honor to serve you in the Iowa Senate. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

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