Letter: It's simple: King is racist
I was very upset after the mid-term election, and Steve King was re-elected. I had a letter written and decided against sending it, and now I wish I had sent it.
I've lived all my life in this state but am upset to think that anybody would even consider voting for him. I'm not real proud to be an Iowan right now.
He, like our current reside of the White House, are two peas in a pod.
The thought that "white nationalism" is not offensive? He's a racist, plain and simple. He, like many old, white, Republican men, need to be voted out come 2020.
Thank God (and I do constantly) for the new Democratic Congress. I have confidence the country will become more unified instead of divided.
Karen Weber, Charles City
Letter: Failure-prone system needs fixed
I am one of the 29 individuals who were disenfranchised after voting by absentee ballot in Iowa House District 55 last November. My envelope received a USPS barcode, but did not receive a postmark stamp. On Dec. 3, Iowa District Court Judge Scott Beattie ordered the bar codes be read and mine was confirmed to have been timely. I plead now that to ignore my valid vote is an unconstitutional act.
Inconsistencies exist in the absentee voting process in counties across Iowa. Unfortunately, Iowa law does not mandate acceptable methods for counties to determine timeliness of absentee ballots. Iowa law does not define the term “intelligent mail bar code” that is posted on absentee ballot envelopes, nor does it require the Intelligent Mail bar code, or IMb, be used to trace a ballot’s entry into the federal mail system. According to procedures followed by the Auditor’s Office in Winneshiek County, only a valid USPS postmark stamp is used to determine timely mailing of absentee ballots.
I believe any USPS postal marking, stamp, IMb or other bar code should be accepted as evidence of timely mailing by a constituent. Without mandating how the USPS processes absentee ballots, the Legislature can mandate that any marking issued by the USPS be deemed acceptable in verifying the receipt date of the envelope into the mail system.
I was a disenfranchised voter, but through no fault of my own, I was failed by a failure-prone system. I plead to the Iowa Legislature to address this issue before the next election. Please make all votes count.
Dominique Bockman, Decorah
Letter: Improve Iowa's car seat laws
Iowa ranks fourth in the nation for child fatalities from car accidents, following only Mississippi, New Mexico, and N. Dakota. In 2016, 24 Iowa children under the age of 14 died, according to a report by Safewise.
The leading cause is improper seat belt and car seat usage. People are turning their children forward too soon and using seat belts instead of booster seats. Iowa laws do not conform to evidence-based best practices recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
1. Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the seat's manufacturer, usually 2 years or more.
2. Next, children should use a forward-facing seat with a harness up to the weight or height allowed by the seat's manufacturer.
3. They then should use a belt positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they've reached 4 feet, 9 inches and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
4. Children 13 and under should be restrained in rear seats once they've left booster seats.
Rear-facing car seats better support the head, neck, and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash and they are five times safer during a side crash.
Please contact your state representatives, senators, and Gov. Reynolds today about the urgent need to change Iowa's outdated child passenger safety laws.
Carol Sula, Dubuque
Letter: Iowa State Fair deserves support
Throughout its history, the Iowa State Fair has been a unique institution, serving to educate, inform and entertain people from all walks of life. From the first fair in Fairfield in 1854, to 1886 when it found a permanent home, to today, the Iowa State Fair has been our state’s outstanding agricultural showplace and I am humbled to serve on the governing board.
But a long history and annually hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors takes a toll. We continue to need the financial generosity and commitment of fair-lovers to support preservation and renovation projects. Through the Corndog Tax Checkoff, it’s easy to make a donation to ensure these vital efforts continue. While completing your Iowa tax return, please consider making a donation of $1 or more. Donations will be deducted from your refund or added to the amount due, and are fully tax-deductible.
For 26 years, the Blue Ribbon Foundation has been raising funds in support of the Iowa State Fairgrounds. From the preservation of Grandfather’s Barn in 1994 to the enclosure of the Varied Industries Building in 2001 to the major expansion of the grandstand completed for the 2018 fair, barns and buildings across the fairgrounds were saved from the ravages of time or upgraded for modern use.
Alan Brown, Hampton
Letter: King is a nationalist, not a racist
I am ashamed of the New York Times in their inaccurate and out-of-context reporting regarding Rep. Steve King. Since when did Iowans start believing the New York Times? I am extremely disappointed that they and others have disregarded facts and quickly thrown Steve King under the bus without any regard to researching the truth. King’s congressional colleagues are well aware that he is a nationalist, not a racist.
I have known Steve for over 25 years as man of principle who is defends the original intent of the Constitution and the merits of western civilization. When Steve and I served in the Iowa Senate together, I witnessed his courage and boldness in standing for the under privileged and the rights of all citizens, including the unborn child. He stood for personal responsibility under the rule of law. He served the people by defending them against intrusiveness, taxation, and over regulation in government.
He did not enter the political process for personal gain, but on the contrary, endured extreme persecution for his beliefs. He left the comforts of a successful business and small-town living with the hope of helping to restore our God-given liberties. His goals and beliefs have not changed, but the liberal news media and his opponents have systematically created a false narrative about him.
Minority Leader Rep. McCarthy, without facts, removed King of his committee assignments and left the 4th District without a representative voice in our political process. Are our Republican leaders more afraid of the New York Times and Democrat leaders than they are willing to standing up for truth in defending their friend? I believe the truth will prevail.
Kitty Rehberg, Rowley
Letter: We deserve better than Trump, King
I don't know Steve King, so I have no idea if he is a racist. Despite odd comments like the ones that have stirred recent controversy, I'm sure those who know him best would say it's a misunderstanding. Far be it for me to argue with them.
However, one need not be a racist in order to say dumb, racist things. And when that person is a Congressman, his or her comments should be strongly condemned by anyone in a position of leadership in our country. In the wake of King's most recent foot-in-mouth episode, in fact, nearly everyone has done just that, including his first choice for president in 2016, Ted Cruz.
The one person who didn't condemn King's words but, instead, attempted to play dumb but implying he hadn't heard them? You guessed it, Donald Trump.
I think it is possible in our politically correct world for people to say dumb, insensitive things that come out sounding like something that was not intended. However, our President is supposed to be smarter than that. He is supposed to be able to recognize self-evident right from wrong. Heck, most of us would expect our kids to recognize such basic things.
But not Trump. White supremacists march in Charlottesville and a woman dies and Trump feels the need to say many of them are 'fine' people. Now, King makes comments that even he says were wrong, and Trump can't get himself to agree and condemn?
Trump's difficulty in these areas may be the result of many things. Regardless of the reasons, however, it is unquestionably yet another example of failed leadership on his part. Whatever one may think of Trump's policy agenda and his brilliant negotiating skills, we should all be able to agree that America deserves so much better than this.
James Peppe, Houston, Texas
Letter: Rants at a King on another planet
Stephen King needs a brain transplant from any available donor, maybe a chimp, but I think a chicken would do! What is the color of the sky on your planet, fella? And I am a lifetime Republican!
Greg Heitland, Mason City
Letter: No change in supervisor concerns
Recent actions by Mitchell County Supervisor Stan Walk accentuate citizen concerns regarding his ability to be effective and impartial as a county leader.
On June 8, Walk sent a threatening email to Josh Byrnes, naming Byrnes, Lynn Kirchgatter, and me. He states, “I am a 70-year-old street fighter, and I no longer give a s- - -. This makes me very dangerous. Keep that in mind, I do not take prisoners.” Walk is referring to our disagreement with him regarding the construction of a gas pipeline by the port authority.
Walk has no problem spending the money. The construction of a $40 million pipeline across Worth and Mitchell counties by the port authority solidifies his plan to control and profit from the distribution of natural gas.
Walk claims he cannot say the pledge because of the phrase “justice for all.” He plays a rich-versus-poor argument to refuse participation in the Pledge. Walk’s big-money policy doesn’t correspond to his refusal to recite the Pledge.
Do you really want natural gas distribution and the responsibility of county government in the hands of a man who threatens violence and prays for vengeance on those who disagree with him?
Al Winters, Osage
Letter: Pursue repayment, legal action
Since we now know the names of all Mason City School employees who received unapproved increases in monetary benefits through the improper distribution of more than $2 million in taxpayer money, and since the report specifies the amount that each employee received, it should be easy for the Board to request repayment of those funds to the tax coffers from those who received the improper distribution.
The auditors did us a favor and saved the Board a lot of work, yet the School Board wants to redact the names. What does that tell you?
We should also be going after whoever it was that approved the improper distribution of funds and should pursue any available legal action to assure proper accountability.
Thomas Frank, Mason City
Letter: Time to revamp Hancock pay board
Hancock Supervisor Jerry Tlach’s first-year salary in 2000 was $22,350. The proposed 2019-20 salary is $36,379. He has voted to increase his base pay $14,029, a 63 percent increase. The rate of inflation for the same time frame is 46 percent.
Hancock Supervisor Florence Greiman’s first-year salary in 2002 was $23,300. The proposed 2019-20 salary is $36,379. She has voted to increase her base pay $13,079, a 56 percent increase. The rate of inflation for the same time frame is 40 percent.
How does this happen? The Hancock County Compensation Board is chosen by the elected class to dole out compensation packages to the very same elected class. See the problem? In fact, this is such a tight-knitted group, one member has an office literally across the street from the courthouse. We bestowed a position on HCCB to a lawyer who works for a Mason City law firm, but yet the farmers who pays thousands in property taxes acres of rural Corwith or Woden has little or no input. And I’d love to know if another member of HCCB gave out 4.5 percent raises to his bank employees this year. Banks aren’t known to overpay employees.
Don’t forget: that 4.5 percent is on the base salary. We taxpayers also have to match the income tax withholding and IPERS contributions. Truth be told the total percent increase to those of us footing the bill will be closer to 5 percent.
A simple solution: The HCCB should be chosen randomly from the township trustees. The county has 16 townships and with each having three trustees. Most importantly, they are elected by voters.
Elected class: If the job doesn’t pay enough for your talents, don’t put your name on the ballot.
Compensation Board: Represent the taxpayer and not be the union representative of the elected.
John Johnson, Britt
Letter: Plans to pay in forward in 2019
For 48 years, a nice woman has shown her love for a stranger and her grandmother by sharing the labor of her love in a handmade gift.
Christmas Eve, which getting gas in Mason City, a woman approached me with a gift. She told me a heartwarming story how she came from a large family and her grandmother made all their gifts. The grandmother was disappointed in how commercialized Christmas had become.
At the age of 11, her grandmother passed away but had asked her to share her story, and each year make a gift and present it to a stranger. In exchange for the gift was a request to make a gift and share it with a stranger the following year and tell her grandmother's story.
With the gift was a card with no name but handwritten words "Just believe" and the number 48. The gift was a beautiful hand crochet afghan, truly a labor of love.
I have shared this story with family and friends, and it has brought tears to many eyes. It made my Christmas extra special this year, and I hope my gift next year has the same effect on a total stranger.
Sheree Holstrom, Hampton
Letter: Get Mercy involved in mall project
Hello, Mason City. Has this ever crossed your mind on what to do with our mall?
What would you think if Mercy Medical Center would buy it and use it for patients, such as dermatology, cardiac rehab, Urgent Care, women's health and some of the outlying offices used by medical center currently?
There could be a pharmacy, food court and a very nice place for patients and family members to sit and relax. It would also provide a lot of parking, and it would be all under one roof.
People we really need to brainstorm and look outside the box. I just think this would also help with the small businesses uptown, as it will bring more people into that area. It's a win-win situation for Mason City. Thank You.
Orville Anderson, Mason City
Letter: Majority saw through Trump's act
Open letter to Sen. Grassley:
Your persistence at securing the federal criminal justice reform legislation has been commendable. Sadly, the federal law will have only limited impact without governors and state legislatures implementing similar reforms at the state level.
More to the point, your successful efforts on this piece of legislation are overshadowed by your continued and inexplicable support of your president.
I did not, nor did the large majority of Americans, vote for this man. We had the good sense to see what the whole world now sees as the Trump reality. There is no question that this guy is corrupt, guilty of federal and state crimes, utterly incompetent, and totally focused on using the presidency to secure his own financial and political advantages at the expense of the American people.
His sloganeering of “America First” makes me want to throw up.
Trump is the greatest threat to the security of our republic. That you continue to support this horrible human being, along with those of your Republican colleagues who have not denounced this presidency, make you and them complicit in every deplorable act that this guy perpetrates.
When in God’s name will you cease bringing shame and dishonor upon yourself? Are you so insecure in your standing with those whom you believe are the base of your supporters that you must cling to this man as though he were your baby blanket?
Grow up, sir, and do what you know is right. Demand his resignation or demand impeachment.
Steven Pokorny, Urbandale
Letter: Hypocrisy by Dems over the wall
I can’t understand Democrats refusal to adequately fund a border wall and overall border protection from undocumented immigrants.
Studies have shown, including a recent one completed by MIT-Yale University that there over 22 million undocumented immigrants living in our country.
American taxpayers foot the bill for undocumented immigrants' education, health care, welfare, to a tune of over $134 billion annually. Wow!
So asking for $5 billion in the budget to help secure the border is too much? It may be the best investment our country can make.
At what point does the United States lose its sovereignty to undocumented immigrants? Would you welcome criminals including MS-13 gang members, human traffickers, murderers, drug smugglers,...into your home? Then why should they be allowed into our country? Crazy!
We already are the most generous country in the world through our legal immigration policy, and charitable giving to impoverished nations.
The failed argument that walls don’t work by Democrats is laughable. Walls have proven to work in our country and all over the world, such as, Israel, Vatican City, prisons, celebrity and other wealthy people’s homes, and gated communities. If Nancy Pelosi continues to say that walls don’t work, she should be the first one to take down the wall that protects her home to avoid being a hypocrite.
Pat Ropella, Mason City
Letter: Agenda behind perennial letter
I see the Globe Gazette reprinted John (J. B.) Johnson’s perennial letter to the editor ("Most-read Letters to the Editor in 2018," Dec. 30). Mr. Johnson had so many misstatements it would be difficult to know where to start to dissect this propaganda document.
I challenge Mr. Johnson to back up his statements with proven written facts, not unfounded accusations. Johnson cannot and will not do this because the facts tell a whole different story. Where are the facts, J. B. Johnson? Just the facts, Mr. Johnson.
The Russians are intent on getting Americans fighting amongst ourselves, hoping we destroy ourselves from within. Keep in mind, America and local governments can be overthrown internally by misguided and uninformed individuals. Is John Johnson unwittingly an extension of the Russian plot to spread untrue statements for the purpose of us fighting and destroying what is good in America and North Iowa? Why does J. B. Johnson want to destroy what has been highly successfully working for the benefit of the property taxpayers in Winnebago and Mitchell counties? J. B. Johnson apparently has a hidden negative agenda, one he is not willing to publicly share.
For those of you who desire the facts and extensive additional information, my phone number is in the St. Ansgar phone book. I support transparency.
Stan Walk, St. Ansgar
Letter: Can't blame Trump for all 35,000
I was recently approached by a nonbeliever of our president. He informed me that he had read where Donald Trump has hired, as employees, undocumented immigrants, and he just wanted me to know that.
I spent considerable time trying to get the information that proved that to be a fact. And I did find it to be true, to the letter.
It seems that one of the employees, a lady, was working at one of the POTUS' hotels as a maid. And the second was also a lady, and she was working as an attendant in a ladies' locker room at one of the golf courses that our POTUS owns. So he does/did have undocumented immigrants working at one or more of his properties.
Not allowing myself to not get all of the information I could gather via the computer, phones, newspapers, etc., I did also discover that he either owns or has interest in very many properties, worldwide. And he has really only 30 to 40 true employees that he sees nearly every day or is in contact with nearly every day. As it became more informative, he and the many organizations that he either owns or has interest in, the total number of employees is well over 35,000. Of course, they are scattered around the world, and chances of him ever seeing or meeting the vast majority of them is too remote to even be mentionable.
Of course with that many employees, I find it quite erroneous to print that he has undocumented immigrants working for him. I find that some of the members of the press are pretty guilty of knowingly printing statements that are and were meant to be misleading, showing that they are "digging dirt" to see what they can find.
Sam Sneed, Greene
Letter: 'Conspiracy,' Bush funeral tell the GOP story
Trump is the worst and most dangerous president in modern times or longer. Christians, how can you support someone who was cheating on his third wife while his son was being born and admitted to assaulting many women. Remember the "Hollywood Tapes" and the 16 women who came forth, most credible? The same is true with his first two wives.
The Mueller investigation has already proven Trump has committed known crimes in his campaign for president. We probably don't know the extent but Bob Mueller and his team do. So far, Michael Cohen and General Flynn have pleaded guilty for crimes and are cooperating. Trump campaign chairman and Trump long-time associate, Paul Manfort, is not cooperating, but I don't think he will get pardoned.
Trump and his "deplorables" say it is all a "Democratic conspiracy." Really? Fired FBI director, James Comey, is a Republican and his replacement, deputy director Andrew McCabe, an independent who Trump also forced out. Current FBI director is Christopher Wray, a Republican. Fired deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, is a Republican, and Matt Whitaker is a Republican replacing the fired Jeff Sessions, a.k.a." Elmer Fudd," also a Republican who Trump called "Mr. Magoo." Bob Mueller, special prosecutor heading the Russia probe, is a Vietnam hero and former FBI director, also a Republican.
Shame on a GOP Congress which didn't want Trump either, but selfishly fell in line after the election knowing the potential for disaster.
I watched the entire George H.W. state funeral. What a stark contrast to how an American president should be and what we have. Maybe the most qualified ever and served honestly and for the good of the country, never for himself.
He was a patriot, war hero, exemplary family man, honest businessman and politician, all the opposite of Trump. Amen.
Steve Epperly, Mason City
Letter: Village memories of foundation
Opportunity Village is now a memory but should not be forgotten. For 47 years, it had a real impact on Clear Lake, was highly rated, had national recognition, and was widely approved for helping disabled people learn and live to make living worthwhile. Before the Village existed, most of them had no reason to get up in the morning, watching TV daily.
As one of the Village founders and also activity director in the early days, I was privileged and amazed to see lives transformed at close range. Everything was exciting, from living in their own cottage as long as they chose to a multitude of activities of their choice at the activity center.
Each had their own room at the cottage, something cherished by all; a family atmosphere prevailed. Part of the mid-morning breaks was set aside for devotions by a resident. They could not be more sincere. These early days were comparable to a honeymoon, but it lasted for years.
How did this million dollar facility spring up in rural North Iowa? Were the founders rich, brilliant people? What a foolish question!
Why the Christian emphasis? Was it because the founders were believers, because our leader was a minister, or what? Some believed the Village was God's way of answering prayers, and it was inspired by the living Jesus.
As for me, I have doubts. He did?
Bill Otterman, Clear Lake
Letter: Online, out-of-town hurts local business
Mason City no longer biggest shopping hub. With our mall empty and Shopko filing for bankruptcy, the pharmacy so far, store closing may be coming. Our choices for shopping are limited.
It's hard being in business. Too many people shop online. For the convenience and sent right to your door. Our society have gotten so lax and lazy, drive-up food lanes, online grocery delivery and the list goes on.
We the people are doing it to ourselves, putting stores out of business, plus jobs lost. Now people drive to Des Moines or Minneapolis for the day or weekend to shop and spend their money and have fun doing it. Instead of adding jobs, we're losing jobs. People drive 30-50 miles to go to work but live here.
So I may be old-fashioned, but we are hurting ourselves. I believe in shopping local and supporting hometown business.
Kay Bessman, Mason City
Letter: Keep fighting D.C. for biofuels
As a sixth-generation Iowa farmer, and past president of the National Corn Growers Association, I understand the importance of Iowa’s biofuels industry and what it means to Iowa farm families and our nation’s renewable fuel supply.
Today, we are facing many immediate issues that impact the profitability of Iowa farmers that need to be fixed. One of these concerns being the sales restriction of E15 fuel. For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has restricted sales of E15 to only around eight-and-a-half months of the year, which has severely reduced demand for Iowa grown renewable fuels.
While President Trump has signaled he will direct the EPA to lift the sales restriction on E15, we are still waiting on the fix to be completed in Washington. Fortunately for Iowa, we have champions on this issue advocating for us. Sens. Ernst and Grassley have been on the front lines fighting for Iowa farmers and greater market access for Iowa renewable fuels.
If E15 is allowed to compete fairly, sales of the product will surge. This will help drive demand for Iowa corn and have an uplifting economic impact in rural communities throughout our state. It is important our leaders in Washington continue their efforts to secure this much-needed victory for Iowa agriculture.
Pam Johnson, Floyd
Letter: Iowa needs Medicaid to work
Medicaid makes it possible for thousands of low-income Iowans — low-income children and adults, people with disabilities and seniors — to access quality health care services without having to choose between being healthy and paying the rent.
We also know our state’s Medicaid program isn’t working as well as it should. But it has become so politicized that a productive conversation on how to fix the program is nearly impossible.
The election is over. It’s time to listen to Iowans, build on the good things Medicaid does and fix the things that aren’t working. Iowans are great problem solvers; we know how to find practical solutions.
In Cerro Gordo County, 31 percent of kids get their health insurance through Medicaid or hawk-i. Statewide, more than 550,000 Iowans are covered by Medicaid.
Child and Family Policy Center looks forward to working with Sen. Ragan and Rep. Steckman to find ways to modernize Medicaid without harming vulnerable Iowans who depend on it for their health care.
If managed care is the path Iowa takes, we should make it the best Medicaid managed care program in the country. We need Medicaid to work. It’s just too important.
Anne Discher, Des Moines
Letter: Lift up vulnerable neighbors
Many of us have experienced the chaos of the holiday season: rushing to get every gift wrapped on time, navigating large family gatherings, standing in lines and circling parking lots, and trying not to overspend.
Now imagine facing the stress of the holidays with a disability. An empty bank account. A mental illness.
As president and CEO of Lutheran Services in Iowa, one of the state’s largest human services providers, I’m reminded each day of my fellow Iowans who are struggling this time of year.
For Iowans with disabilities, confronting the bustle and crowds to shop for holiday groceries or gifts may be challenging, and large family gatherings overwhelming.
Former refugees new to our state might struggle as they adjust to a new language and climate.
Iowans facing financial hardship may find it difficult to afford gifts.
Children in foster care or residential treatment may wake up on Christmas morning away from home. Others might spend the day in shelters, waiting for a foster home to become available.
Mental illness can make many of us feel anxious, depressed, or inadequate as we juggle the expectations of the holiday season.
Volunteer at a local church or community center and serve a free holiday meal. Make a financial donation to your favorite local organization. Reach out to a loved one and ask what you can do to make their day a little better.
Let’s join together this holiday season.
John Twardos, Des Moines
Letter: We need more nurses like this
I work at a local hospital and last year I was admitted to my work place as an inpatient. I know quite a few people and have coworkers. I needed to go to Nuclear Medicine for a test. I was in my hospital gown and wheeled to Nuclear Medicine. There was a nurse who just seemed to know I was in distress although I didn't say anything. My biggest fear was my gown would pop open and I would give someone I probably knew "the full moon." The nurse instantly must have known. She said to me, "We are going to give you pants to match your gown."
Today, I saw her again, and her name is Amy Erin. I hope I'm getting that right.
She is intuitive, caring, and must be able to read minds as she certainly knew what I was thinking. The world would be a better if we had more like her. She took an awkward situation and made me laugh, and we all know "laughter is the best medicine."
Sue Stallwood, Mason City
Letter: Exciting, challenging time for mall
John Skipper: I appreciate your piece on Dec. 2 ("Can city gain public support for latest hotel proposal?"). Great journalism. I find our situation both exciting and promising. Doing nothing was certainly not the solution to Mason City's challenges.
You, as a seasoned journalist, and I know the the civic process can be like making sausage. Grinding slowly at times. Not pretty but producing an appealing, sometimes exceptional, product.
Thanks for staying in the game.
Mark Lemon, Mason City
I have always had the tendency of giving people the benefit of the doubt. My wife used to say it was one of my greatest strengths – and one my…
Letter: World class starts with a library
After reading the article in the Globe regarding the value of "teacher-librarians" and the quality of education in our schools ("Iowa sees drop in teacher-librarians," Dec. 4), I feel I must explain my job to the public. As a certified elementary media specialist (now retired) my program included:
1. Ordering and teaching literature that was both good and would appeal to my student population.
2. Providing specific literature that coordinated with class curricula.
3. Providing the resources and designing or assisting in class research projects.
4. Teaching students how to use indexes to find information quickly.
5. Promoting reading contests and other incentivized reading activities.
I had our art and physical education teachers using library books in their curricula. Many media specialists are called upon to assist in solving teachers' tech problems as well.
One well known elementary science book author said the quickest way to judge the overall quality of education in a school is to examine the catalog and condition of that school library. I agree.
We will not have “world class” education in Iowa (supported by helpful budgets) without good school library media programs.
Johanna Anderson, Osage
Letter: Immigration problems aren't new to us
I have no opinion regarding such craziness going on in Tijuana, so for now I'll just call it the Tijuana tango. I do think while all eyes are on the border, we should look around right here in North Iowa.
For years, illegals were smuggled through Tijuana, however they were not all Hispanic, but from the Czech Republic, Russia and Asia. They're working on pig and chicken farms, in restaurants, as cleaning crews for major retailers and cheap skilled labor. Well-knowns are profiting as are their captains, through fraud, dealing in human trafficking, drugs and scamming the elderly.
"I have no idea what this world is coming to," my mother would say while reading the news. God bless her departed soul. She'd be rolling over in her grave!
Jo Parker, Mason City
Letter: Remain active to clean Iowa's water
When it comes to Iowa's water quality problems, the elephant in the room is the multinational pork industry. Iowa's roughly 24 million hogs produce 260 million gallons of feces and urine every day. Is it any wonder that most of our water is polluted with animal waste?
By not holding the pork industry accountable, the Republican leadership in Iowa has passed the cost of cleaning up our water onto taxpayers.
Exit polls from the November election are telling, and the Iowa GOP needs to be listening:
• Iowans believe in being part of their community (i.e. local control).
• A whopping 73 percent of Iowans want the governor and Legislature to act on reducing farm pollution runoff.
• Sixty-six percent of voters indicated they would prefer funding education, infrastructure and clean water rather than getting a decrease in their taxes.
It's clear that Iowans want clean water, but the polluters should pay to clean it up.
Now that you've all voted, it is not the time to six back and relax. Now is the time to contact your elected officials tel tell them to act on cleaning up our state. There is no down time in democracy.
Pat Bowen, Iowa City
Letter: Pray to trim list of bad things
Fellow Americans: Ask yourself, what am I doing to make this a much better world? The answer is probably nothing.
I'm afraid we have many bad things going on, such as jobless; homeless; abortion; two unmarried adult people living together and messing around; stealing for any reason; war that lets the government decide to kill millions of innocent people; drug addiction; alcoholism; and persecution of Christians or Jesus' followers whom we must pray to protect.
There might be worse things, but I don't know what they are.
Now please remember, God is your real friend who cares about anything anytime. Jesus listens when you pray to him.
Mary Hoffman, Rockwell
Letter: Only invasion is shaded in blue
The "blue wave" from election day keeps getting bigger and bluer. Thirty-six House seats flipped now, and Orange County, California flipped totally blue for the first time in 70-plus years.
What happened to that "invasion" of the murderous caravan from Central America that Trump hyped out on 45 times the three weeks before election day but not one time since?
What happened to the "10 percent additional middle class tax cut" Trump promised before the election and hasn't mentioned since?
Trump has chosen arms deal money over justice in believing the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia over our own CIA on the slaughter and dismemberment of an American journalist and resident.
He has been played a fool by Kim Jung Un on nuclear disarmament, as we have discovered 16 secret silos we didn't know he had and there is no deal in writing.
Putin's election interference has been proven and agreed on by our 17 intelligence agencies, and the U.S. president does not take it seriously.
Now, we find daughter Ivanka, senior adviser to Trump, has breached security in the use of her personal email for government business just like what Hillary was accused of. This was Trump's main campaign theme against Hillary for the 2016 election.
The turbulence and drop in the stock market shows indices have lost all those big gains for the year. The 18-month investigation and evidence by the Washington Post that Trump's father was very rich, and by tax cheating schemes, siphoned $800 million to son Donald who said daddy gave him $1 million at age 30 and he paid it back with interest.
The Mueller Russia investigation will wrap up, and I'm not sure they even need Trump's testimony. If he is innocent, he should be demanding to testify.
He doesn't pass that test!
Steve Epperly, Mason City
Letter: Then-and-now headlines tell story
Top story headline in the Aug. 11 Globe Gazette: "Avenatti a hit at Democratic party fundraiser in Clear Lake."
Avenatti current headline: "Michael Avenatti arrested in LA on domestic violence charge."
From the reports, fundraisers are not the only thing he hits, as in women.
Looking forward to next year’s Democrat Wing Ding and the guest speaker. I wonder if that person will also be a big “hit” with the ladies.
John Johnson, Britt
Letter: Student clicks on the online option
With giving season upon us, I wanted to share what I’m most thankful for this year. I began attending Iowa Connections Academy virtual school in eighth grade, almost four years ago. I began in hopes of finding a school that was better suited for my learning, and I most certainly found it!
Connections Academy offers a huge variety of classes in almost any subject from photography to Spanish to classes that introduce one to the career they wish to pursue. There are also a wide variety of classes that are designed to help with preparing one for the ACT, college, or even paying taxes. In addition, the courses are offered in many levels including AP, honors, and standard. Teachers are available to help when they are needed, and many offer weekly Live Lessons via a virtual classroom.
I have been able to work at my own level and complete a lot of college credit in addition to exploring what interests me. I have had more time to discover my passions and what I wish to spend the rest of my life doing! I will always be grateful to the teachers and staff who have opened up new doors of opportunities for me and have helped me discover my dreams!
Grace Clark, Rudd
Letter: Vision, not the mall, is the problem
Oh, come on Mason City Leaders! "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!" How many times does it take for Gatehouse Capital to fool you?
I am so frustrated with the leadership of this neighboring city that I spend a lot of time in. I love Mason City and see nothing but potential every time I visit. There is no finer place in northeast Iowa than that beautiful plaza and Central Park area. So, why does it struggle to be vibrant?
You don't need to look any further than your wonderful Mason City Community Theater; the beautiful sculptures that grace the City; the Frank Lloyd Wright complex that brings visitors from the entire world; or Music Man Square to validate my vision.
No, a defunct shopping mall is not the problem.
Sound community development requires visionary, strong leaders and decision makers. It requires citizens who believe and are willing to become invested. As a former city council member and a state senator, I have seen this formula successfully implemented multiple times in communities I served.
Get with it Mason City! Tomorrow is waiting!
Betty Soukup, Clear Lake
Letter: Handle your own garbage, Minnesota
I wonder how many Iowans and our elected officials are aware that Iowa is soon to become a dumping grounds for garbage from Minnesota. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville announced that they were running out of space to dump their refuse. However, waste management is working out an arrangement to solve that problem by shipping their garbage and dumping into sites in Iowa.
I can’t help but wonder if our legislators are willing to become the “go-to” garbage state for Minnesota. Why can’t they find their own site or sustainable environmental solutions instead of bringing their potential pollution problems into our state?
I think we have enough of our own problems to deal with instead of becoming the garbage state of the Midwest for other state’s problems.
What do you think Linda Upmeyer?
Robert Wolfram, Ventura
Letter: Fill in the blank to check values
Our government's only response to all these mass killings is to lower flags to half staff? Makes us all safer in the United States?
We surely wouldn't want to offend the NRA or the white supremacists. We have a president who announces several times he is a ... nationalist. The hesitation left us to fill in the blank. What do you think the message was?
Following that, several Jewish members of our country were killed. I sure would like a president who represented the welfare of all, who values lives!
Joyce Mills, Mason City
Letter: Sincerely, from 'The Rest of Iowa'
Dear Northwest Iowa, Please evolve. Sincerely, The Rest of Iowa.
Kevin Young, Sheffield
Letter: While heroes died, Trump was bowling
This Veterans Day marked the 100th anniversary of its commemoration. It is a solemn, and sacred event to honor all veterans. My uncle Albert J. Chavez served in both World War II and Korea.
He re-enlisted in the army to serve in Korea, stating he wanted to “see more of the world!” During Korea, as his unit was on patrol, they encountered a large enemy force, and after a firefight that lasted eight hours, were forced to surrender. The communists set free those who were wounded and took the healthy soldiers further north, reportedly to attend a “school on communism.”
Being a POW in North Korea had its own unique brutality. They endured forced marches in sub-zero temperatures, lengthy solitary confinement, and political “re-education.” More than 7,100 were captured, 2,700 died in captivity, and another 8,000 Americans are classified as missing in action.
My uncle died a prisoner of war from malnutrition, and dysentery. And, like many of his comrades, his body lies somewhere in North Korea to this day. Our devout mother, who is 92, still holds out hope that they will find his remains before she dies, so they can be brought home for proper burial.
Unfortunately, we have a man in the White House, who during the Republican presidential primary insulted and disparaged all POWs. In ugly and malicious rhetoric, Donald Trump proclaimed, “I like people who weren’t captured!” This disgusting and malevolent comment was from a man who received five deferments during the Vietnam War. While our soldiers were dying on the battlefield and our airmen being tortured in Hanoi, Trump was winning bowling trophies.
He has never formally apologized for this cowardly and pernicious comment. I find it truly a sad day to see this man preside over the nation’s Veterans Day tribute.
Phillip Sanchez, Mason City
Letter: Stop shooting the messengers
Congratulations and hearty thanks to all news reporting professionals for your work informing citizens of candidates and issues in the Nov. 6 elections. Your work helped result in record-setting voter turnout.
As someone who spent nearly three decades trying to provide unbiased information so that people can make good decisions about what's best for their communities, I know how hard your work is, especially nowadays when so many people's judgment is clouded from partisan intoxicants. The hen-house crap in Washington is especially disturbing.
Shooting the messenger has long been a ploy of wrongdoers, but the amount of animosity journalists face today should be alarming to every American!
Please know that the majority of us understand that you do as good a job of reporting news objectively as other professionals do at performing critical roles of their jobs.
Thank you very much for your work to help make our communities, states and countries the best they can be by identifying issues that need attention. We can't fix what we can't see or understand.
Joe Buttweiler, Mason City
Letter: Address threat of climate change
When America faces dangerous threats to our nation, races, religions, political parties, genders and people of every orientation and identity put aside labels and pull together to look out for one another. Californians are doing that now as neighbors rescue one another from fire. New Yorkers did it when planes plowed into their city.
Now is the time to show America's resolve to stop the imminent destruction of our plant from climate change. Now is the time to leave a legacy for our great grandchildren and the future: a legacy not distracted by short-term profit goals and petty squabbles but a legacy focused and unwavering on the truth that the climate is changing and carbon emissions are a significant reason for the change.
A carbon fee and dividend is a smart, balanced solution. Elegantly simple, it borrows ideas from both the traditional Democratic platform and the traditional Republican platform by using market forces to make carbon-based fuels more expensive, thus hastening our critical and inevitable shift to renewable energy. Fees charged for the carbon extraction will not be a "tax" retained to grow the government, it will be returned to you and to me, all citizens.
The climate solutions caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives is a terrific organizing opportunity for American unity on this issue as it is made up of an evenly divided number of Republicans and Democrats and a united commitment to solutions for climate change.
If our representatives are not members, we can encourage them to join. The responsibility for action to combat climate change belongs to all of us. We can join and support a solution-based group like Citizens Climate Advocates of North Iowa, write letters to our elected representatives and educate ourselves.
Jackie Armstrong, St. Ansgar
Letter: Make your own determination, vote
In case you missed it, John Skipper (in the Veterans' Day Sunday edition of the Globe Gazette) clearly said that all Iowans who supported Steve King are suckers.
He also obviously agrees with the "deplorables" tag that Hillary tried to hang on all Trump supporters.
John needs to understand that disagreeing with him does not make an Iowa voter a sucker. The real suckers are those listen to John or who do not vote based on their own determination of which candidate is acting in their best interest.
Thomas Frank, Mason City
Letter: Do your part to make U.S. great
With the 2018 election officially complete, we need to make a decision on how we will use our energy for the next two years. My guess is that not all of your choices were successful in their bids to serve you. So, now how will you respond to that disappointment? How will you utilize these next two years in the most effective productive way to get our country on the track that you want?
We could continue to spew out the venom of hostility, anger and negative hurtful remarks that only add to the dysfunction that seems to be our choice of action. If we are spewing out that venom, we are also opening ourselves to accepting that same spirited venom. This does nothing more than cripple our relationships with others and perpetuates that which we are deftly against.
We could focus our attention and our energy on a new visualization: A visualization of the true United States of America. When we hear the negativity out in the air, we simply smile and hold fast to our visualization, seeing the negativity as an illusion to our truth. If we continue to throw up our hands and scream out that this will never work, we lose out on the hope and the reality that was at the forefront of the quest of the United States.
I was lucky enough to observe a first grade classroom, as the teacher read from an elementary pamphlet on the formation of the U.S. and this pamphlet touched on the qualities that were shared by our forefathers. Those qualities consisted of respect for each other, caring for harmony and the good of the country, openness to others opinion. No belittling. Do you want to be great? Then choose qualities that actually made the U.S. great!
Mark Doebel, Clear Lake
Letter: Fair questions for a puzzling time
If we lose our birth right citizenship, do we have to apply for emigrate status?
Will we be allowed to vote?
And by the way, what kind of Christian is a white supremacist?
We do live in puzzling time.
Glen Alden, Garner
Letter: Fools' actions reveal the real threat
Forget about the threat of socialism or even communism; the real threat comes from those who want to foist idiocracy down our throats. Merriam-Webster defines idiocracy as a "form of government in which a county or territory is run by fools." And, the madness of anti-government protests have swept the country since the election of President Trump indicate that the fools are hell bent on taking over. The opposition certainly has a right to voice opinions, but only idiots would go to the extremes that the Never Trump movement has gone since Mr. Trump took office.
And if you don't think the media is wittingly or unwittingly culpable in distorting the truth in order to promote a brand new brand of socialist anarchy, think again.
Instead of reporting the facts of a news story the way a reporter with integrity used to do in day, they prefer to put a spin on their reportage. And, more likely than not, the will spin the fact to suit ideologically liberal notions of how things should be. It's about opinion disguising itself as news, not from a rogue website on the internet, but from CBC, ABC, NBC, CNN, New York Times and the Washington Post. Watching the network news at 5:30 has become laughable. Idiocracy, indeed!
Bill White, Mason City
Letter: Value found in solid, truthful story
RE the Sunday, Nov. 4 article in the Celebrations section: "Defining extraordinary parents." Thank you for printing the article by John Rosemond.
I wish everyone had the opportunity to read it and to know and understand that it is an absolute truth. Not just truth as we see it, nor truth as we wish it to be – just absolute, solid, factual truth.
Louise Nath, Forest City
Letter: Future demands CAFO moratorium
Factory farms have become a hot topic in Iowa. With over 10,000 factory farms in the state, it makes sense that we would be talking about them. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a new figure estimating that there are 23.6 million hogs in Iowa, which is a 4 percent increase since 2017. These factory farms produce 380 billion pounds of manure annually. This volume of manure — about 14.6 million cubic feet — would fill Iowa’s tallest building, the Principal Building in Des Moines, 2.3 times every day. When is enough enough?
We do not need to be producing this much meat. Iowans aren’t consuming all of it. In fact, Americans aren’t even consuming most of it. In 2015, Japan was the leading export market for Iowa’s pork. Iowans get the pollution, and factory farm corporations get the profits. With over 750 impaired waterways (mostly as a result of industrial agriculture), failing rural economies, and rising toxic air pollution, factory farms are not worth it. Yet, we’re adding 300 to 600 new factory farms annually.
Food & Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement are calling for a moratorium on all new and expanding factory farms. The industry isn’t going to fix itself, and it’s clear Iowa DNR has no interest in enforcing our environmental laws or appropriately regulating factory farms. We need bold action and we need it now.
Elected officials and candidates are beginning to take note. Now is the time to step up and talk to your county supervisors and your legislators. Call, email, and attend forums. Ask them to support a moratorium on factory farms. Our water, our air, our health, and our rural communities depend on it.
Emma Schmit, Rockwell City
Letter: Bring back straight-ticket vote
I was disappointed when, filling out my midterm election, absentee ballot I discovered straight ticket votes were suddenly outlawed. I just knew some politicians saw an advantage in this ploy.
Sure enough, the GOP railroaded it through for any obscure help it may hand their candidates. Another heavy-handed, solution to a non-problem to voting regulations already riddled by Republican complications.
Then I read that the ruse might favor some Democrat candidates, and I had to laugh as I recall how the GOP voted in the law that allowed added terms to the two-term limit then in effect, the law that gave FDR a lifetime tenure as president.
Be careful as you scheme, they may backfire.
Lois Reinsmoen, Manly
Letter: Feel sorry for the disgraceful Trump
I watched a good majority of Trump's campaign speeches and got more horrified the more I watched and listened. He is the one who started the rioting and hating.
He encouraged it (by telling the police not to be too nice to criminals and praising a guard for body-slamming), and he even encouraged the crowds by his rhetoric and making statements that he love "chaos." That's very obvious!
After all the shameful displays he put out there, he has the audacity to say the media re the problem and that they should tone it down. They are just reporting what they see. He has brought out the worse in everyone (me included), not just his groupies.
In his eyes, the Dems are the cause of the migrants coming in. It would not be a surprise to be if his own party is behind it to rev-up the elections coming up. And who would be surprised if his supporters are sending the bombs to so many big politicians?
He is a conning, egotistical, know-it-all who thinks he is a gift to the world, but in reality, he is a want-a-be dictator. If things continue as they are, our country is going to be a banquet for every dictator in the world and have him as their guide. Where did the people that elected this guy come from?
I can't believe some of the legislators think it is OK for him to "express" himself in the manner he is comfortable with. He's a disgrace! But maybe we should feel sorry for him, as all the name he calls others is what he feels about himself.
Everything I see and hear about him I believe – he couldn't tell the truth if it hit him in the face! His truth is making up stories and only he believes it.
Beverly McCormick, Garner
Letter: Iowa House needs Jensen's knowledge
Please vote for my friend Deb Jensen on Nov. 6 and help send her to Des Moines to represent us in House District 7.
Deb has worked tirelessly to earn your vote. She's met more people when knocking doors and attended more parades and meetings than any candidate I've ever known seeking this office. She wants to be a voice for all of us, and her dedication to helping others has been her life's work.
Deb will take her 35 years of experience in nursing and public health to Des Moines. We all know how badly the Legislature and current governor need some real guidance when it comes to mental health, as well as health care in general.
Deb has listened to people in our district and heard what they think while also educating herself in those areas. She will not blindly follow her party but will make her votes in the Legislature count for our district, our state, and our nation.
Many of you have asked if/when I'll run again and I always give the same answer: I really enjoyed the two years I was a representative, but rather than run again, I need to vote for someone I consider a better candidate than I ever was.
Deb Jensen is that person. I'm proud to call her my friend and humbly ask that you join me in voting for her.
John Wittneben, Estherville
Letter: We know Ragan, don't know Latham
The problem with the constant barrage of negative Latham commercials and mailings is that we know Sen. Amanda Ragan. We know that Ragan is a good and honest and hard-working senator who always has our best interests at heart. She talks with us here and she follows through in Des Moines.
All we know about Latham is that she spends a lot of money to twist the truth. Latham doesn’t tell us what she knows about issues, and she refused to debate Ragan.
Ragan is well known throughout North Iowa as the director of the Community Kitchen and the director of Meals on Wheels. She is a good person. A lot of people from our local churches volunteer in those programs.
Ragan is one of the leaders in the Iowa Senate with knowledge about the privatized Medicaid system that hurts elderly and disabled Iowans. Republicans implemented and continue to defend the program. Ragan works to change for-profit Medicaid to help Iowans instead of hurt them.
She takes calls every week from patients who are denied the care they need. She gets calls from care providers who are trying to stay in business as the out-of-state Medicaid companies delay and deny payments they are owed. Ragan advocates for us as for-profit Medicaid costs skyrocket and republicans give them more money without accountability.
Ragan works on behalf of public education, for worker’s rights, and for fiscal responsibility.
Ragan has a wealth of knowledge on the issues that affect our lives. She is well known for the good work she does to help people. I know her. I trust her.
I urge you to join me in voting to re-elect Sen. Amanda Ragan.
Jodi Hardy, Mason City
Letter: Trust in the GOP is long gone
Iowa Republican legislators continue to defend their decision to give management of our Iowa Medicaid program to for-profit, out-of-state companies. Those companies can only provide care for less money and make a profit by denying care to our elderly, disabled and working poor, and by refusing to pay care providers. The cost of Medicaid is rising faster than before privatization as those companies negotiate with republicans for more money.
Republicans continue to fund public education at a rate below the rate of inflation. And in the case of our universities and community colleges, they made actual cuts. Our schools struggle, and our college kids stack up debt.
Republican Sen. Bill Dix fired a woman in the Republican Senate office who repeatedly reported sexual harassment. The harassment was so terrible that she won a $1.75 million settlement that was paid for with our taxes! And Republicans kept Dix in leadership for months until he embarrassed them again.
Republicans brag about their tax cut, but the big cuts went to the wealthiest, and you were left out. The rest of the budget is starved.
Republicans said they would “tweak” public employee collective bargaining for teachers, and county and state workers. In a show of disrespect for our public employees, Republicans took a pre-written bill from their corporate donors and rushed it through the capital, thus destroying a 40-year collective bargaining agreement which had served Iowa well.
Now Republicans are looking at changes to IPERS. Iowa has one of the best managed retirement systems in the country. I fear for our retired public employees and for our future public employees. Privatizing means that some financial company will need a profit.
Republicans had their chance at governing, and it hasn’t worked. Trust is lost. Vote for Democrats.
JoAnn Hardy, Mason City
Letter: I checked my math, and I'm right
I would like to submit this rebuttal to a letter to the editor submitted by my opponent Tedd Gassman (The Summit-Tribune, "Need to offer some clarification," Oct. 23). I stand behind use of a statistic on one of my mailers that reports 55 percent of Iowa schools are now on the budget guarantee because of only a 1.8 percent State Supplemental Aid increase.
We’ve called the Iowa State Education Association to verify the statistic. Current reported budgets for Iowa’s 333 school districts show that 181 Iowa school districts are on the Budget Adjustment (the updated term for Budget Guarantee) for the 2018-19 academic year.
It’s unfortunate my opponent did not check the facts before writing in which he uses the statistic he believes as correct: 17 percent. I invite you to do the math yourself to see which of us is accurate.
Debra Jensen, Forest City
Letter: Rhetoric explains increase in violence
At the time of his retirement in 1996, Gen. Barry McCaffrey was the most highly decorated four-star general in the Army. In 2017 he said, "Trump lacks the emotional and intellectual complexity to steer a super power, and if left unchecked, he will eventually degrade our once great country until it’s as twisted, hateful, and small as he is. It really makes me sick, to be honest.”
The Anti-Defamation League reports hate crimes went up 34 percent in 2016, 57 percent in 2017, and are on pace with 2017's numbers in 2018. After the killings in Pittsburgh on top of the pipe bombs sent and all the other violence the U. S. has experienced since Trump became president, it is clear we need to vote a check on this president.
A check Congress is constitutionally tasked to be, but that the current cowardly Republican Congress refuses to be. As another general and former Fox News contributor (he quit) Gen. Michael Hayden said, “If this is who we are or who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now, it was not possible for me to conceive of an American president capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press, or the First Amendment."
What has changed in the past two years? The rhetoric of our leader. No other president in my 70-year lifetime has acted or spoken in the hateful manner Trump does. Telling his supporters to beat people up. Leading them in chants to "lock her up." Calling the press the "enemy of the people." The pipe-bomber saw him as a “father figure.”
Americans must vote Blue this election to ensure some restraints on the worst instincts and impulses of this president and his followers.
Lonna Gooden Van Horn, Northwood
Letter: Look inside for values, how to vote
Do you vote your value system or your political party? Do you know what your values are? Do your values measure up with the way you vote? Your value system is inside you.
When you vote, do you consider your own beliefs and values or do you vote your party? The Political Party's purpose is directing policies of government.
Do you agree with your party's core values? You have a choice when you vote.
Vote for your party or for your own value system. Let God's word be your guide.
Ella Josten, Ventura
Letter: Scholten won't embarrass North Iowa
In modern times, Iowa electoral candidates have engaged in public debates to explain their visions for Iowa’s future before an election. However, in this mid-term election, Rep. Steven Arnold King flatly refuses to debate newcomer J.D. Scholten, and it's reasonable for voters to wonder why.
Could it be that Rep. King is frightened by the thought that J.D., who strongly supports Iowa farmers, will ask him why in his 16 years in Congress he has never been the primary sponsor of any agricultural legislation that passed the House?
Maybe Rep. King is horrified by the likelihood he will be asked why he helped President Trump scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, which Iowa soybean farmers strongly supported.
Possibly Rep. King doesn’t want to own up to why he enjoys the support of xenophobic groups such as Americans for Legal Immigration, who have given him a 100 percent score for his anti-immigrant positions.
Could it be that Rep. King wants to avoid explaining why he twice declared that diversity is not an American strength and endorsed Faith Goldy, Toronto’s white supremacist candidate for mayor?
Conceivably, Rep. King is afraid to explain why the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer said that he was “basically a white nationalist at this point,” and why he is obsessed with preserving or maintaining a white majority in the U.S.
I know J.D. Scholten is willing and able to debate his views on Iowa’s future and is morally outraged by Rep. King’s hateful, intolerant ugliness. J.D.’s parents instilled in him in his childhood that civility is an obligation to act in ways that treat others with decency, and respect.
Rest assured J.D. won’t embarrass this district or put it an unflattering spotlight, and he will be resilient in working across the aisle to solve Iowa problems. Vote Scholten!
Lionel Foster, Mason City
Letter: Trump leaves mess, vote for Dems
Please look at just a partial summary of what we know and have learned about Donald Trump since the campaign for the 2016 election to present (not necessarily in order):
He insulted, disrespected, and lied about all 16 of his GOP opponents as well as Hillary Clinton and President Obama.
Virtually no leaders of the Republican Party supported him until he started winning primaries by drawing out the redneck, uneducated, and mentally questionable white vote.
It has been proven that he lies about 75 percent of the time with no conscience nor apologies.
Most of the GOP-controlled Congress started to rollover when they realized it was Trump or nothing. Leaders like gutless Paul Ryan finally joined in because they realized they had a chance to win their selfish, rich guy's agenda.
Then we have seen the weakest and most unqualified cabinet and staff picks picks in history, as well as the most turnover ever of such. Daughter/wife Ivanka as a chief adviser and Elmer Fudd as Attorney General? Come on! Then Trump fires his own selections.
Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, pulls out of the Iran nuclear agreement (which was working), and refuses to admit Russia interfered with the election nor will he punish Russia or say a bad word, ever, about Putin.
His "middle class" tax bill did not help the middle class and increased the deficit by $1.5 trillion by slashing taxes for the rich and big corporations.
I have left a lot out and have said much of this before. We have a mid-term election that is critically important. I think the Mueller investigation will bring the end to Trump's presidency.
But it is essential to vote in Democrats in Congress and state legislatures as Republicans just don't get it! Please help!
Steven Epperly, Mason City
Letter: Ragan, Scholten represent us best
The future of my grandchildren and their parents are the most important considerations as I look at the current elections.
J.D. Scholten is the candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives who has shown concern for the future of our grandchildren and this country. He is a hard-working candidate who meets with people from all walks of life and political backgrounds so we can tell him what concerns us in this 39 county area. Because of his work ethic and his desire to really know the people of the district, my wife, who was a member of Rep. Berkley Bedell’s staff, calls him “the new Berkley Bedell."
It is time to elect a Congressman who cares about us, meets with us and takes our values to Washington D.C. Vote for J.D. Scholten!
On the state level, Sen. Amanda Ragan is a hard-working representative that we need to keep in Des Moines. She has proven that she works with both political parties to do what is best for Iowa. In addition, she travels extensively throughout the senate district to visit with businesses, workers, schools, our community colleges and others to stay informed. This is the kind of representation we deserve.
Votes for Sen. Amanda Ragan and J.D. Scholten give us the best representation!
Bob Buol, Clear Lake
Letter: Ragan is dependable in Des Moines
Much has been written lately about the length of political campaigns, the divisiveness of the and the damage done by them. We might like to take a look at some possible reasons the American public has come to look at them with such disgust as we do.
Last February, seven months before this election, I received a series of large-scale post cards in the mail from the Iowa Republican party attacking Sen. Amanda Ragan. That’s right, seven months – seven months – before the election!
So why were we receiving these disgusting cards? Because the Iowa Republican Party has more money than God, (much of it compliments of the infamous Koch brothers), and they’re prepared to spend it attacking Sen. Ragan in the same, shameless way they distorted the record of Sen. Mary Jo Wilhm in 2016! Even the current TV ads attacking Sen. Ragan are recycled from that election.
One of those ads says something like, “She’s not the same in Des Moines.” That part of the ad is true. The reality is that she works even harder there than she does here in North Iowa.
There’s an old political saying that there are show horses, and there are work horses. In Des Moines as well as here at home she’s a work horse, working for all of us here in North Iowa.
Let’s be sure we re-elect her to continue that dependable work.
John Groninga, Mason City
Letter: Wright hasn't been transparent
Residents of Cerro Gordo County, Patricia Wright claims she is running a transparent campaign for County Treasurer.
With that being said, I feel it is necessary to share a few things that she is choosing to not be transparent about.
In 2013, Pat Wright's tax deputy was using county computers to do online shopping while "working." She allowed a foreigner to remote into her computer and breach the county's computer program which cost the taxpayers over $40,000. Many people know about the breach but few know that the deputy was using the computer for personal shopping. All employees have to sign the IT policy stating they won't use the computers for personal issues, but this tax deputy is still working there for some reason.
Pat also claims to be a proven leader but yet less than two months ago under her leadership she cost the taxpayers another $8,000-$10,000 when ballots were printed wrong! As a proven leader did she take responsibility? No! She blamed her deputy for that. A true leader would have stepped up and taken ownership. After all, a leader would make sure things are checked and double checked for errors.
People need to understand that under Pat's leadership there have been several issues that get swept under the rug.
The biggest complaint in that office is poor customer service and I believe that is a result of the "proven leader."
Vote Natasha Lewerke on or before Nov. 6.
Roxane Francis, Mason City
Letter: Don't reward the negative messages
I've heard some interesting political ads recently. Ads tell us more about the candidate's leadership style than many think. In the race for county treasurer, there's an ad decrying the incumbent as wrongfully motivated and a liar. This projection and the past article by the Globe Gazette let us know that this person is likely to be a magnet for lawsuits at the county's expense.
Pat Wright isn't perfect, she's merely great. Given her recent requirement to fulfill the duties of both treasurer and auditor, she has not only saved the county thousands of dollars, she's the resource we'll need to help the learning process of an incoming, untrained, auditor elect. We would be foolish to replace her at this time, especially with someone who gives new life to the phrase, “but her emails!”
Likewise, the ads opposing Amanda Ragan are telling us about those that approve that message. They draw upon the roots of hate speech with the idea that "she's not one of us." At this time in our culture of division, shouldn't we, when someone shows us they are a divider, accept them at their word and make sure they don't get into office?
Amanda Ragan has been an exceptional leader for Iowa and the Republican Party knows she's effective, which is why they have to resort to the speech of hate to manipulate votes. Let's not reward that messaging.
Doug Nelson, Clear Lake
Letter: For results, vote straight GOP
It’s time to cut all the crap about the midterm election. Let’s get down to reality, not conjecture.
Since President Trump took office, his unusual tactics have been scrutinized but they have all produced the desired results. Jobs, economy, tax breaks, more fair healthcare, North Korea talking denuclearization, UN countries paying more of their agreed-to fees, tariffs are getting results. I can go on and on.
Let me ask: when have you ever heard a school system or teacher say they were happy with their funding? Not even when Democrats were in charge. Mr. Hubbell specifically says he won’t raise taxes on “middle” income, but he won’t say he isn’t raising taxes on businesses. If he were to win, the company you work for loses money (probably freezes wages, cuts jobs, trickle down to you getting less).
I respectfully request you all keep the growth blessing Iowa and our nation by getting out and voting Republican right down the line. You can even do it at the county auditors office before Tuesday, Nov. 6.
James Killius, Mason City
Letter: Ragan is a genuine North Iowan
Hi, I’m Tali Tesar. I’m 18 years old, and I just voted for the first time. I was proud to vote to re-elect Amanda Ragan to the Iowa Senate.
I’m from Clear Lake, and I have seen first-hand how involved Amanda is in the communities of North Iowa. I was also a page last year, working in the Iowa Senate, so I’ve had the unique opportunity to see Sen. Ragan’s work ethic up close. Amanda is known for being the first person at work in the morning and the last person to leave.
Even in Des Moines, whenever there is a constituent who wants to meet with her, Amanda takes time out of her day to meet them. She knows the people of Cerro Gordo, Butler and Franklin counties personally, and works to write laws that help all of them – often, with members of the other party.
I’ve watched her consider every bill she has to vote on carefully, to be sure it will be beneficial to her constituents. She is the same genuine North Iowan in Des Moines as she is in Clear Lake. I was so lucky that my first job in politics was working with such a true public servant.
Please join me in supporting Sen. Amanda Ragan for re-election!
Tali Tesar, Clear Lake
Letter: Reynolds, Mosiman a no-brainer
The old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems apropos for our state elected officials. Iowa is ranked No. 1 by US News & World Report, has the second lowest unemployment rate in America, is the fourth leading state for new monies to public education ($3 billion-4 billion since 2011), a balanced budget, bipartisan initiatives for mental health, etc. Thus, it's the ultimate 'no-brainer' to keep Kim Reynolds as our first woman governor!
Similarly, we all agree the state medical examiner should be an M.D., the attorney general an attorney and the state auditor a CPA (certified public accountant). Yet some folks believe Iowa voters can be bought and sold like it's Chicago. Thus one candidate for governor (a lawyer), put in $6 million of his own money into his campaign and a non-accountant (another lawyer) has $3 million-$4 million from his family to help him become our state auditor. No thanks! We'll stick with Mary Mosiman,, the only CPA in the race.
After all we are well-educated, common-sense Iowans!
Gerald and Virginia Edgar, Garner
Letter: Comments reflect King's character
It is about time that we see some reaction to hold Rep. Steve King accountable for his disparaging remarks that sadly have been reoccurring in frequency over the last years.
On Oct. 30, Rep. Steve Stivers, (R-Ohio), head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, condemned Steve King for his behavior. An aide stated that this rebuke was done to the growing volume of King's remarks, rather than a specific incident! Really? What took so long for this rebuke to happen?
Rep. Steve King's reply to this indicated the rebuke was due to dishonest, fake news! He can't even recognize the damage he has done to the reputation of the 4th District and to the entire state of Iowa! He is no longer capable of being unbiased and having the judgment necessary to make sound decisions that represent the constituents of the 4th District.
If you haven't stayed aware of his rhetoric, here are just a few examples. Mind you these are part of the conversations, but look them up: he said these!
2012: Said he hadn't heard of anyone getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.
2013: In discussion of dreamers."For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that – they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."
2014: Families "give their daughters birth control and send them down a rape path."
2016: At Republican National Convention asked what other "subgroups" than whites and those from the West have contributed to civilization?
2017: On Twitter and in response to meeting with Dutch politician Geert Wilders, "We can't restore our destiny with someone else's babies." This tweet was used by white supremacists and former KKK leader David Duke!
Enough with the condescending quotes. They speak volumes of his lack of character.
Marla Betz, Forest City
Letter: King is too ineffective for Iowa
As a fourth generation livestock and grain farmer working the land my great-grandfather bought in 1921, I am greatly worried about the state of our farm economy and the mindset of our state. I've had the same ineffective representative in Steve King for 16 years.
He has been voted the most inefficient Congressman in the nation several years in a row. He has passed one of 34 bills he introduced, and that was to name a building. So far he has not offered his support to the ethanol industry or spoke against the RIN waivers that have undercut the RFS.
His glowing endorsement of Ted Cruz for president in the 2016 Iowa caucus was a stab in the back to our ethanol and ag industry and the state of Iowa. As we know, Cruz is Big Oil and the most anti-ethanol Congressman in Washington, D.C.
Soybean prices have gone down $2 thanks to the trade war with China, which King says he supports.
What has Steve King done to help us with any of this? He isn’t on the Farm Bill conference committee anymore, he has missed 39 percent of his ag committee meetings and 70 percent of his small business committee meetings.
When he is in the news, he’s usually in it for the wrong reason. Worst of all, he refuses to be held accountable because he can't be bothered to do town hall meetings or debates where questions could be asked of his record.
His time has been spent traveling to foreign countries on taxpayer time. He has spent over $180,000 of taxpayers money – more than the entire Iowa delegation, including five different trips to Austria.
It’s time to drain the swamp and vote for J.D. Scholten as a breath of fresh air we need!
Rick Schultes, Templeton
Letter: Good reasons to vote for Scholten
To 4th Congressional District voters –
It is tempting to list the many reasons Steve KKKing has worn out his tenure as our representative. Even his own party and major donors have and are withdrawing their support. Let’s focus on the reasons for endorsing J. D. Scholten.
J.D. Scholten is refreshingly open and honest. His travels throughout our 39 counties have been open to all and reflect a willingness to listen to different parties and perspectives. His “scripts” are not canned; he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers.
J.D. Scholten will be an enthusiastic, hard worker for the district. As a fifth-generation Iowan with deep farm roots, he would offer important insights in agricultural committee assignments. His career has provided him with understandings of foreign countries and could be beneficial regarding international trade and tariff issues.
From his conversations with district business leaders, farmers, medical personnel, educators, families and individuals, he knows the multiple concerns we have. Health care, good paying jobs, the need for legal immigrant workers, and the sanctity of life are major issues about which he has spoken. He doesn’t hide behind clichés. He will work with others to find solutions.
Finally, J. D. Scholten’s campaign has been positive rather than negative. He is motivated by doing what is best rather than casting a dark shadow of fear. He promises to work in a bipartisan way rather than play the blame game. He will have the courage to bring sunshine and light to drain the pollution of the swamp. J.D. will “stand tall for all.”
Charles R. Kniker, Ames
Letter: Proud to have Hubbell as governor
When Kim Reynolds became the first woman governor of Iowa, I remembered that when I had run as a Republican candidate for state treasurer in 1998, some Republicans were admittedly unwilling to vote for a woman.
I wanted to vote for Kim Reynolds. Then she touted a financial boost from tax cuts for lower and middle-income Iowa families which were no boost for them at all. Almost half was for high incomes – over $250,000. The Iowa Department of Revenue stated Iowa's lower-income families would save $18, while those making $1 million would save $25,000! I was shocked. Reynolds misled Iowans in person, during debates and in her TV ads! Further, an average saving of $300 (not the $1,000 she misrepresented) would be obliterated when local governments budgets were affected by budget cuts.
Most disturbing was Reynolds' false claim that Hubbell planned to eliminate all tax cuts. Reynolds' ads used part of an edited taped interview out of context when Hubbell had honestly stated that if in the future, the tariffs on agricultural products seriously damaged Iowa's economy, tax cuts would have to be addressed. Reynolds reprehensibly called Hubbell a liar.
I had liked and respected Reynolds and Hubbell since the 1990s. I met the Hubbell family when their children and my child attended the same public schools. The Hubbells were reliable, caring volunteers who humbly contributed time as coaches and chaperones and encouraged all children.
Fred Hubbell reminds me of Gov. Bob Ray: honest and concerned about every Iowan. I know that Fred Hubbell is truthful. So I am confident that Iowans will always be proud to have Fred Hubbell as their governor.
Joan Bolin Betts, Ames
Letter: Ragan listens, answers questions
I have known Amanda Ragan for over 20 years. In all that time, I have found her to be caring about others. She is willing to listen and answer my questions. My vote is for Amanda.
Donna Dull, Clear Lake
Letter: Ragan, Steckman have earned votes
I've known Amanda Ragan for many years. I first got to know her when her children were young.
She worked hard to raise her children. She was a working mom who was also going to school at the time. She was a great example to her children by working for what she thought was right for them. She knows the value of working hard to achieve a day-to-day living.
She goes to many events to keep contact with North Iowa residents. I've seen her at the VFW in Clear Lake, in the park in Clear Lake, and at the senior center here in Mason City, just to name a few.
A couple weeks ago, she was on her way to Hansell on a Sunday afternoon for a meeting. She goes door-to-door talking with people from our area. I believe her work ethic is just as diligent now as it was when she and I worked together. She puts in tremendously long hours trying to do what she thinks is right for Iowa.
Now is the time for us to support Amanda Ragan and Sharon Steckman. Sharon gave back to the community as a teacher for many years. She now gives back with her duties as our state representative.
These are two hard-working women who deserve our votes.
Jolene Fank, Mason City
Letter: Work ethic, access set Ragan apart
My couch cushions have a big swale in them. The swale is there because I spend a lot of time on that couch. I’ll bet Amanda Ragan’s couch doesn’t have a swale. I’ll bet her couch looks like it just came off the truck from McGregors.
The buttons on my TV remote are worn and rounded. I’ll bet Amanda Ragan’s TV remote looks like it just came out of the impenetrable plastic shield they wrap those things in now. It may not have even been programmed.
The reason Amanda Ragan’s couch and Amanda Ragan’s TV remote look like they are brand new is that she’s never home to use them. Instead of laying on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, she is at a pancake breakfast, or a graduation, or an Eagle Scout ceremony, or a volunteer fire department fundraiser. She is out working, whether it is campaign season or not.
I have lived in Mason City and Greene for 64 of my 65 years. I have tried to pay attention to politics and elected officials during my adult lifetime. I have never seen a representative, on any level, who works harder than Amanda Ragan. I have never seen a representative, on any level, who makes themselves more accessible to their constituents, than Amanda Ragan.
She works hard, and she makes herself accessible, because she cares about the people she represents, and she wants to do a good job for them. It’s as simple as that.
When it comes to politics, people don’t agree on much these days. But I think everyone appreciates a strong work ethic. Everyone respects a person who listens to the people she works for.
We are fortunate to have Amanda Ragan as our state senator. Please give her your support on election day.
Patrick Vickers, Greene
Letter: Dems work against non-union workers
If Katie Koehler (Letter to the editor "Ragan answered my questions," published Oct. 21) bases her vote on a candidate actually answering questions rather than avoiding them, she can't vote for Fred Hubbell, Amanda Ragan, or J.D. Scholten.
The Iowans for Right to Work Committee surveyed all candidates with the same six questions regarding right to work, unions, bargaining, etc. Republicans all answered questions. Not a single Democrat surveyed answered even a single question put to them.
Going to re-think that vote, Ms. Koehler? I bet not, even though you indicated that getting answers was your criteria. Democrats all failed to answer whether or not they would oppose efforts to repeal Iowa's Right to Work Law (all Republicans said they would oppose such efforts).
Maybe because if they were honest, and indicated they would fight against the Right to Work Law, they would expose themselves as they really are: pro-union, and against workers not in unions.
If you are a non-union worker, Democrats refuse to support your right to work. Know this before you vote.
Calvin Beaman, Mason City
Letter: We need more politicians like Ragan
Amanda Ragan is the best example of what our politicians should be! She believes that Republicans and Democrats should work together on what is best for the people! She shows it in the way she cares for the people and works tirelessly for them and what is right.
Amanda was born and raised an Iowan. She serves as executive director of the Community Kitchen and Meals on Wheels, and many other organizations.
I believe that not only does she have the passion to serve Iowan’s but also the compassion to serve as our best candidate for Senate District 27 and all Iowans.
I am voting for Amanda Ragan on Nov. 6 and urge all Iowans to do the same!
Debra Stock, Bristow
Letter: Ragan stands tall, works for all
We have all seen the negative TV ads, heard radio ads, and received numerous negative mailings. I believe our community is better than that, and I would like to set the record straight about the person I work with in Mason City and at our capitol in Des Moines.
When I first became your representative, I watched Sen. Ragan work in the Senate tirelessly for all of us. I made it a goal to try and make it to the capitol at least one time a year earlier than Amanda. I could only manage to do that if I made it there by 6:30 a.m.! Not only is she one of the first ones there, but she is also one of the last ones to leave at night.
On top of doing legislative work, answering constituent emails, staying up on the news in every town she represents, and looking out for all of us in Des Moines, she always finds time to visit folks that come down from North Iowa to talk to her about issues. She is a well-known expert on health care, and has fought tirelessly against the privatization of Medicaid, knowing how many Iowans it is hurting.
My friend, Amanda Ragan works for everyone. She consistently works with members of the other party for the benefit of North Iowans. She will not do negative ads against her opponent because Sen. Ragan can stand tall for what she has done for all Iowans. I support her 100 percent and would like to show “the powers that be” that negative ads have no place in North Iowa.
I will be voting for Sen. Amanda Ragan.
Sharon Steckman, Mason City
Letter: Ragan doesn't bully North Iowa
Bullying is prevalent. Bullies attack for their own benefit. You see it on the playground. You see it in the classroom. You see it in the workplace. You see bullying on the street; criminals are bullies.
Now you are seeing it in politics with negative ads. When bullies win, you lose because their next target may be you.
Fight bullying at all levels. Vote for Amanda Ragan for state senate. She serves you; she doesn’t bully you.
Ronald Masters, Mason City
Letter: Ragan's record supports education
As a lifelong resident of Franklin County, I am concerned about education in Iowa. My immediate family includes three career educators, and I have four grandchildren attending Hampton public schools.
Iowa was once a nationally recognized leader in education. Those days are gone. Since it became fashionable for politicians to cut education funding whenever they wished, Iowa children have suffered. State education funding is an easy target. Administrators and teachers object, but professionals also know they must face facts. Politicians know that schools will play the cards they are dealt. When state aid is cut, entire school programs are thrown out. Educators lose jobs. And students learn to “do without.”
In the Iowa Senate District 27 race, the candidate who has consistently supported students and public education stands out like a light bulb on a dark night. Amanda Ragan’s record goes well beyond fighting against budget cuts to education and supporting full funding of Iowa’s schools.
Ever wondered why her campaign ads don’t target the Republican Party? Amanda Ragan is one of the few Iowa legislators who consistently works with bipartisan support for causes which she knows are good for Iowans. If you attend any public meetings in Cerro Gordo, Franklin, or Butler counties, you likely have seen Amanda Ragan. She attends, she listens to constituents, and she takes their concerns to her work in the Iowa Senate.
Neither is Amanda Ragan fooled by the Governor’s claims that IPERS (Iowa Public Employee Retirement System) needs to be “fixed.” Such statements should give all public employees and retirees cause for alarm.
For these and lots of other reasons, Amanda Ragan will get my vote on election day. I hope you will also support her.
Don Vosburg, Hampton
Letter: King's support, base is in Iowa
Congressman Steve King is a steadfast supporter of life, the Constitution and agriculture. He continues to work hard in the best interest of Iowans. Because of leaders like King, the average Iowan will see a $2,000 increase in take-home pay in 2018, America is seeing its lowest unemployment levels since 1969, black and Hispanic unemployment are at all-time lows, and consumer confidence is approaching a record high. He has my vote and hopefully yours, too.
Nearly 75 percent of King’s individual donors come from within Iowa. King’s top donor city is Sioux City. More than 70 percent of his opponent’s individual donors come from outside of Iowa. His top donor cities are San Francisco and New York.
Why are Californians and New Yorkers trying to influence your vote?
King has been named “Friend of Agriculture” by the Iowa Farm Bureau. He’s been endorsed by the NRA and has the full support of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. He introduced the “Heartbeat Bill” in Congress. Before office, King started and ran a construction company and has lived his entire life in Iowa.
His opponent is endorsed by: Bernie Sanders, a socialist; Cory Booker, an anti-meat, animal rights extremist; Elizabeth Warren, a radical leftist; and, most notably, the Des Moines Register. He has never held a real job, started a business, made a payroll or even run for dog catcher but somehow believes he’s qualified to be your Congressman.
Are 4th District Iowans more aligned with the Farm Bureau, NRA, renewable fuels and the sanctity of life, or are they more aligned with socialists, animal rights extremists, San Francisco and the habitually unemployed?
Iowa is ranked No. 1 in the country. Democrats like King’s opponent want to change that.
Please support a better Iowa and a better America by re-electing Congressman Steve King.
Craig Williams, Manning
Letter: Iowa is better than Steve King
If asked, “Are you a racist?" most Iowans would staunchly deny the accusation. Yet voters here in the 4th Congressional District of Iowa repeatedly send Steve King back to Washington every two years to represent us.
Steve King has for years denigrated many groups, all of which have one thing in common: They are not white.
He derides Mexicans as all being rapists, murderers and drug smugglers. He labels all Muslims as terrorists. He sided with white supremacist groups after the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally, where an African-American woman was killed. He recently expressed support for a Neo-Nazi in Austria. He was roundly criticized for his statement that “We can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies”, again implying “white is better.”
When controversy over the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery developed, King defiantly put a small version of that flag on his desk, even though Iowa sent a higher percentage of its native sons to fight that flag than any other state during the Civil War. Even his own Republican Congressional leaders have had to denounce his comments and distance themselves from him time and time again. He has failed to learn the lesson we teach our children, “Don’t judge people by the color of their skin.”
I urge all voters not to leave your conscience at home, but take it into the voting booth with you. Do not vote for Steve King. We as Iowans are better than that.
Jon Heitland, Iowa Falls
Letter: Ragan works for all North Iowans
I support Amanda Ragan for another term in the Iowa Senate because she has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all Iowans in her district.
She has advocated for an oversight committee when Gov. Branstad privatized Medicaid in Iowa; more funding for schools; better oversight by DHS in abuse cases; and has continued to oversee the Food Kitchen in Mason City.
She has always believed in giving a helping hand to those in need, and has assisted people caught in the current Medicaid disaster.
She will continue to work to improve our schools, advocate for funding for low income clinics, and will work with others in the Senate on partisan legislation.
Ramona Melendy, Dumont
Letter: Don't let this performance get away
It may be that most families fall somewhere on a continuum of disfunction. The family portrayed in Mason City Community Theatre's "Over the River and Through the Woods" certainly does. However, underneath is a deep, abiding love for each other.
The six actors reveal their extraordinary ability – from portraying a character's nuance of emotion on their faces, to throwing a full blown "temper tantrum." How do they do that? See for yourself in the remaining performances of this funny, poignant, window into real life.
Heartwarming but never sappy, "Over the River and Through the Woods" is a great-for-the-whole-family play that is a "must see." Don't let this one get away and you'll leave with a beautiful feeling as I did.
Beverly Butler, Mason City
Letter: Don't be tricked; vote for Ragan
I have had the pleasure of teaching Mason City children for the past 27 years.
My philosophy has always been to teach children how to think and not what to think. I love teaching Mason City children and I value being an Iowan. Iowans have historically been respected around the nation for being well-educated, reasonable, honest, and fair minded people. This opinion of Iowans is a testimony to the world-class public education our state provides our citizens.
I am a fifth-generation Iowan. The roots of honest thinking and hard work run deep in my soul. My grandfather taught me that a person must use facts to form an educated and informed decision. But a person must have the facts to make an informed decision. It appears to me that facts are under attack right now.
Money, a lot of money, is coming into our state from outsiders who do not hold our Iowa values. Commercials on TV and radio distort the truth by using fear to influence our thinking and impact our vote.
I challenge us all to reach back to our Iowan roots of common decency, kindness towards our neighbors, and hard work.
I challenge us all not be tricked by slick advertisements that prey on fear.
I challenge all of us to vote based on facts not fear.
I am voting for Amanda Ragan.
Amanda Ragan has proven that:
She cares about Iowan children.
She is a loyal and dedicated Iowan who shares our common values.
She works hard to continue the legacy of a quality education.
She has fought for funding so local schools can provide children the skills they need for future careers.
I am using facts to vote. I am voting for people who respect taxpayers dollars and invest in the people of Iowa.
Lorna DiMarco, Clear Lake
Letter: Smart meters look like a dumb deal
Iowa Consumer Advocate Mark Schuling is opposing Alliant Energy’s smart meter rollout at an Iowa Utility Board hearing Nov. 5 in Des Moines. Many Attorneys General and state utility boards around the country have opposed smart meters due to many studies showing no cost benefit, just rate hikes.
Smart meters cost about six times more than analog meters, with one-third the lifetime. There is also the multi-million-dollar initial cash expense to replace 481,000 working analog meters.
Studies show that the faster outage reporting that Alliant and other utility companies claim do not result in faster service restoration.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has warned about serious dangers to America’s security from the smart grid and smart meters. So has former CIA Director James Woolsey, calling the smart grids “stupid” on national TV (along with many other cyber security experts and institutions).
The ACLU and many others oppose smart meters for privacy violation: a $2.2 trillion per year data market is expected, for selling detailed customer personal lifestyle data. Alliant claims it will not sell data, but Alliant customer service reps have told me, “We may change any policy at any time without notice.”
Although Alliant’s planned opt out meter has been shown to be acceptable for health, Alliant’s proposed opt out proposal is severe: We would read our own meter, pay $15/month (Alliant saves millions each year by laying off meter readers), with a four-day monthly window to submit readings (our travel scheduled around reading our meter, and no more opt outs allowed after an temporary opt out period - in perpetuity).
Oppose the smart meter roll out by contacting the Iowa Utility Board.
Einar Olsen, Fairfield
Letter: Pick Ragan, stay on the high road
I am a Republican and proudly display an "Amanda Ragan for Iowa Senate" campaign sign in my yard. The tipping point to solidify my support for Sen. Ragan was the plethora of disgusting negative information distributed by the Shannon Latham campaign.
Not only is this information dated, but it is largely without context. The obvious intent is to smear Sen. Ragan and to mislead voters. Sen. Ragan inspired me to join Rotary, a service organization that espouses the 4-Wat Test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned? I have witnessed her incorporate this credo not only in her political and business domains but in her personal life as well.
Sen. Ragan has stayed on the high road during her campaign, which exemplifies her commitment to the 4-Way Test. Guided by this test, I will proudly vote for Amanda Ragan for the Iowa Senate on Nov. 6.
Gary Herrig, Mason City
Letter: Knutson will reflect values, beliefs
I humbly offer two messages to the voters of North Iowa:
First, another reminder that voting is so important in a democracy and the most critical responsibility of citizens. Voting is our opportunity to voice our opinion, vote our values and vote for what we believe in. Voting also helps us hold elected officials accountable for their behavior and decisions while in office and ensures majority rule, rather than a minority dictating the policies.
Second, I urge you to vote for Tim Knutson for Iowa House District 51. Tim is a native of Northwood, an Iowa farm boy with deep roots in Worth County, dating back to his great-great grandfather who was the first European settler in the county. Tim currently lives on his family’s Heritage Farm west of Northwood. He spent his career in health care leadership roles, most recently with a large, multi-specialty physician group, and he brings deep expertise in financial analysis, budgeting and conflict resolution.
If you support public education and believe Iowa should increase funding for education and stop diverting revenue to corporations and the wealthy through tax giveaways, you can be assured Tim will be your advocate.
If you believe in affordable and accessible health care for all citizens including maternal and mental health benefits, and want to prevent the elimination of coverage for pre-exisiting conditions, you can be assured Tim will be your advocate.
If you believe we must protect our water, air, and environment through sustainable solutions that are consistent with traditional Iowa farm values and want to stop the unregulated factory farm control of CAFOs, you can be assured Tim will be your advocate.
Tim will work to return civility, good sense and judgment to state government. If these priorities reflect your values and beliefs, I encourage you to vote for Tim Knutson.
Grace Gorringe, St. Paul, Minn.
Letter: Scholten epitomizes North Iowa
Following the recent passing of my aunt (a native of Mason City), I began looking through family photos and fondly remembering my Dad’s stories about growing up in Iowa. The warm feelings faded as I was struck with the frustration that these experiences are in stark contrast to Rep. Steve King, to his divisive rhetoric, and to his lack of alignment with Iowan values. King’s opponent, J.D. Scholten, epitomizes the Iowa I know.
Steve King doesn’t represent Iowa, literally and figuratively. King has only authored one bill that has passed in his time in Congress. King has brought shame to our district with his support of white nationalists. King hasn’t even shown up regularly for committee meetings, even those that deal with issues impacting Iowans. King simply doesn’t show up, and he doesn’t represent Iowa.
J.D. Scholten, will represent the 4th District well. J.D. stands tall for all of the constituents in our district. J.D.’s message is unifying, not divisive. J.D. supports farmers (King spends more time visiting Austria that visiting with farmers in his district), education, health care for all, and a living wage. J.D. has visited all 39 counties in the district. King hasn’t held a town hall in a number of years and consistently fails to meet with his constituents.
The contrast is clear, and the choice is clear. It is time to elect a candidate that actually represents Iowa. Please vote for J.D. Scholten as a congressman who stands for Iowans. It is time we get the representation we deserve.
Heather Rissler, Mason City
Letter: Gassman crippled energy programs
During the Iowa Legislative session last spring, Rep. Tedd Gassman voted to pass Senate File 2311, which crippled Iowa’s energy efficiency programs. Rebate funds for energy efficient appliances and home upgrades were slashed by as much as two-thirds. The bill also allowed municipal utilities to penalize solar-generating customers.
The Iowa utilities’ own analysis showed that their energy efficiency programs could save customers $2 for every $1 that is invested. In 2016, Iowa utility energy efficiency programs produced over $400 million in net savings. The bandits who promoted the SF2311 consumer rip-off convinced Rep. Gassman to ignore consumer savings, raise utility bills, jeopardize over 20,000 Iowa clean energy jobs, and further endanger our climate and life support systems.
Iowa deserves better representation. Vote for Deb Jensen for Iowa House District 7. She supports innovation to improve energy efficiency and the transition to cleaner solar and wind energy.
Roger R. Patocka, Estherville
Letter: Reject unacceptable DHHS proposal
The rate of death by suicide in individuals who identify as transgender is between 32 and 50 percent, up to 700,000 people annually. The same rate, incidentally, in the general population is closer to 1.6 percent. I could spout a ton of additional statistics but would prefer to convey my sentiment in another way.
Imagine that part of you, something that has been a part of you since birth is wrong and highly distressing for you. Picture yourself as a child knowing something is off, but not having the language to describe it. Even more troubling, when you attempt to do so, adults around you dismiss it. Imagine as a teenager not being understood by most of your peers and never quite feeling like you fit in anywhere.
Fast forward into adulthood, and now realize that the medical system does not always know how to meet your needs, your official identification does not match who you know you really are, and you have little to no legal protections in employment or housing. Things have not been easy at this point, but you’ve survived.
Now imagine that your own government is proposing to redefine how you identify, defying every major scientific and professional medical organization in our country. Consider how these changes would potentially make access to appropriate medical care impossible. The climb upward for these individuals is already dangerous enough, but policy decisions based out of fear and misinformation threaten their existence. If this DHHS policy goes into effect, understand that we will see that already staggering suicide rate go up, dramatically.
This is unacceptable and the transgender community in North Iowa and beyond deserves better. Do not erase them.
Adam Lewis, Mason City
Letter: Honest, positive vote is for Ragan
There are a lot of horrible, negative ads in the mail and on TV right now against Sen. Amanda Ragan. I know Amanda, see her values demonstrated in her role as director of the local Community Kitchen, and know she stands up for our rights to affordable health care and quality education.
Check out Amanda’s ads: they are positive and stress what she hopes to achieve. She is not attacking her opponent, but is willing to stand on what she has already done for Iowa and what she still can do. Amanda Ragan offers hope for ordinary Iowans through real support for farmers, local businesses, families, and students.
Please vote for honesty and choose Amanda Ragan for the Iowa Senate.
Elda Stone, Ventura
Letter: Ragan cares about, fights for veterans
As a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq and a Purple Heart recipient, I am proud to support Sen. Amanda Ragan for another term.
During her time in the Senate, few other legislators can match Sen. Ragan’s staunch support for veterans. She has been a steadfast and vocal advocate as a member of the Veteran’s Committee in the Senate. She understands that veteran suicides, homelessness and unemployment are at staggering levels.
Through initiatives such as Home Base Iowa, she has worked extremely hard to improve opportunities for veterans to transfer their skills from the military to the civilian workplace and to network with businesses to encourage hiring more veterans.
She has worked to improve the lives of our men and women serving in the Iowa National Guard and Reserves by ensuring the continuity of their rights in the workplace and housing during times of deployments.
She has forged solid relationships with numerous veterans organizations to continue the fight for veterans’ access to housing and fighting for improved access to mental health, especially in the face of Republican efforts to drastically cut back on mental health services that has impacted veterans hard.
Regrettably, Sen. Ragan’s opponent has been deafeningly silent on issues that impact our veterans, particularly concerning as the War on Terror is still being fought.
I strongly encourage voters to stand shoulder to shoulder with veterans and return Sen. Amanda Ragan to the statehouse where she will continue to fight for veterans and all Iowans.
Peter J. Bieber, Rockford
Letter: Mosiman has the right credentials
I'm writing in support of state Auditor Mary Mosiman.
For over 37 years, I have worked for the state auditor's office, including 24 years leading the Financial Audit Division, which performs mandatory annual financial and compliance audits of State agencies and local governments.
Mary Mosiman is a certified public accountant, as were David Vaudt and Richard Johnson, her predecessors. In total, the state auditor's office has been led by a CPA for nearly 40 years. Mary Mosiman is involved in the review of every audit released by the office. She has the knowledge and expertise to review and approve audits. I trust Mary Mosiman to continue the legacy of performing professional audits and providing pertinent audit and accounting guidance to state and local governments.
Unless we are willing to accept a state auditor who is a figurehead and does not have the knowledge and expertise to perform professional audits and lead the office in providing audit and accounting guidance to state agencies and local governments, the state auditor needs to be a CPA.
That is why I am supporting Mary Mosiman, the only CPA running for state auditor, and I hope you will join me in supporting her on Nov. 6.
Andrew Nielsen, Ankeny
Letter: King is no friend of agriculture
Earlier this year an important issue with organic livestock, USDA National Organic Program Animal Welfare Law, was in the review and public comment process. Our farmer-owned marketing cooperative, Organic Valley, which I am a member of, asked its farmers to contact their U.S. senators and representatives in regards to this legislation. There were over 40,000 people that responded with support for this rule. Approximately two dozen people were opposed, yet the legilsation ruled in favor of those who were opposed! And this is a democracy?
Sen. Grassley responded with a two-page letter to me, and while I do not agree with his position, at least a thoughtful reply was received. The only response that I got back from Rep. Steve King’s staff was that “Congressman King is not receiving communication from his constituents.”
As a member of the ag committee, Congressman King has no respect or time for the smaller, family farmer. He supports big ag corporations. What has he accomplished as a congressional representative for this district? You cannot serve the people if you will not communicate with those you represent.
Congressman King is an embarrassment to our state. Let’s elect someone who can represent the needs of our district, and that person is JD Scholten.
Tom Frantzen, New Hampton