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Posts Tagged ‘Liz Mathis’

Liz Mathis: “Skip The Drama” In School Funding

State Senator Liz Mathis of Marion urges state to “skip the drama” in setting local school funding

Will consider 4% increase in basic school funding and additional state dollars to prevent any related property tax increase

Liz Mathis, a member of the Senate Education Committee, Wednesday spoke to the Senate and urged legislators to work together to determine local school funding in a timely responsible manner.  The House and Governor failed last year to follow Iowa law which calls for school aid to be set a year and a half in advance.

Local school boards, administrators and educators have expressed concern that school funding could get caught up in a lengthy, disruptive state budget battle.


Transcript

Today, we start fixing a problem that we really created last session.

That problem occurred when certain members of the Iowa House—with the cooperation of Governor Branstad—ignored the law requiring the Legislature to set basic aid to local schools a year in advance.

The Governor signed this legislation back in 1995.  And for almost twenty years, I think you’d agree that it’s worked pretty well.

The first thing the Legislature did each year was set basic funding levels for local schools for the following year.

And I decribe this process—I’m preaching to the chior—but I describe it to reiterate how important it is.

Schools knew a year and a half in advance what financial resources they had.  Rather than juggling budgets from year to year at the last minute  School boards, administrators and educators could balance their budgets so they could focus on improving student achievement.

And is that what we’re here for?  Yes.  That’s what we’ve been talking about for a very long time.

April 15th, that is the most important  legal deadline that Iowa  schools will face when writing their budgets, that will take effect on July 1st, as all of you know.  Schools need to sign contracts with teachers, they need to plan course offerings, and they need to make some big and basic decisions.

Should they guess what sort of funding they have to work with?  Should we just let them guess.  Is guesswork the operating approach we are suggesting that Iowa’s school districts adopt?

After all, two years ago, the Legislature didn’t finish the state budget until hours before the final, final, final deadline of July 1.  You remember that.  Many of you legislators do.

And this year, Governor Branstad has said he won’t address basic school funding until a reform proposal is set into law.

We can, and must, do better.

At 1 PM today, there will be a subcommittee meeting on the Senate Democratic proposals to increase basic support for local schools by four percent next year, and to provide additional state funds to prevent ANY related increase in local property taxes.

I hope that next week the Iowa Senate will approve both proposals.

We’re counting on everyone in this body to do that.

We need to step up and do the right thing.

Districts will be forced to assume that there will be no increase in state aid.  Teachers will be laid off.  Cuts will be made.  And perhaps the most important point, student achievement will suffer because of this.

Let’s skip the drama.  Let’s instead put the quality of Iowa local schools first.

HF 561 & Iowa’s Senator Liz Mathis

Liz Mathis Sworn In

As readers should know, we oppose HF 561, a bill in the legislature relating to new nuclear power in Iowa. In advocating against this bill, what has become clear is that whatever the resolution, the outcome is not about which party one belongs to or about ideology. Good people of every background are engaged in the public debate over nuclear power and how it will be financed in Iowa, and that can only strengthen our Democracy.

Senator Liz Mathis (D-18) of Robins has been a key target of advocacy groups on all sides of this issue. If I were her, I would be getting tired of all the notes, calls, conversations, meetings and input. She is in the unique position of having replaced Swati Dandekar in a special election, when Dandekar took Governor Branstad’s appointment to the Iowa Utilities Board last year. The Duane Arnold Energy Center, Iowa’s lone nuclear reactor is in her district. Many of her constituents are served by the Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative Association which is headquartered in Marion, near her district. Naturally, advocates for or against HF 561 would like her to side with them. The thing is, politics is not so simple. Here is a quote from Mathis’ newsletter from the capitol this week, listing HF 561 as one of her priorities this session.

“HF 561… is the bill that would allow the permitting, licensing and construction of another nuclear power facility in Iowa. This has especially become a hotter topic as bills are getting debated and passed and amended. Please know this: I’m doing my homework on this topic, asking a lot of questions, and paying attention to what you are saying. There are multiple facets to this bill and the arguments surrounding nuclear power and how it should be funded. I have a nuclear power plant in my district that employs 600 people and works with the REC’s to provide power to our residents. HF 561 has generated many phone calls and emails. I have seen several of you here at the State Capitol.”

It is not clear where Mathis stands, so in that way, she is fitting in as a politician. But what is more important is that Liz Mathis is not taking the easy path, as some legislators do in Des Moines. She is trying to make an informed decision on the bill.

When a group of us saw her in the Capitol last Tuesday, she took the time to speak with us and listen. She made no commitment about her potential vote on the commerce committee, or if the bill gets to the Senate floor, but what occurred to me is that Liz Mathis is approaching this topic in a way we hope all of our legislators would, with an open mind, a considerate attitude and an even demeanor.

Whether or not we agree with Mathis’ final position on nuclear power, her approach to HF 561 is the way we would like to see more elected officials approach their work on every issue. A reasoned approach can benefit all Iowans.

~ Paul Deaton is a native Iowan and regular contributor to Blog for Iowa.

MATHIS WINS! IOWA WINS!


Last minute  robo calls are so yesterday.

It’s a new day and hope is on the rise.

Great job, Iowa Dems!

Thank you, Senator Mathis!

SD-18 Vote For Liz Mathis Today

Mathis for Senate

Special Election November 8 Senate District 18Vote for Liz Mathis if you live in these communities: Central City, Coggon, Center Point, Walker, Alburnett, Robins, Marion, Palo, Hiawatha, Prairieburg, Fairfax. 

Click  here  here  here and  here to find out what’s at stake in this election.  Then go vote.   Find out where to vote here.  linncountyelections.org/lookup/

After you vote,  help with GOTV. 

Elect Liz Mathis in SD 18 – Keep Republicans out of power in the Iowa Senate

mathis4statesenate.com/

It’s GOTV time. Help Liz Mathis help Democrats keep the majority in the Iowa Senate.

Canvassing, phoning, food, money all are areas that YOU can help with. Headquarters: 1375 7th Ave., Marion, IA. Phone # 319-899-0628. Mail contributions to Mathis for Senate, 1725 MacKenzie Dr., Robins, IA 52411.

Find out where to vote here.  linncountyelections.org/lookup/

Watch this lame ad on KGAN launched at the last minute by a secret group with a secret phone number.  The Golding campaign denies they had a thing to do with it.

More info.

iowademocrats.org/

You can contribute to the campaign here

KeepTheMajority.com


 

Kochs Influence State Politics Through ALEC

Election Day is tomorrow. Vote for Liz Mathis in SD-18.  See below for links to voting information, how to help, and donating.  If the Republicans win this seat, the door will be open for ALEC legislation including union-busting measures and voter suppression laws.

What Liz Mathis’ Election Means

Mathis for Senate

Tuesday is an off-year election. Usually in the off year there are few races of much interest, and those mostly in some city or town election. But this year in Iowa there is a race of major significance. That is of course the race in Iowa Senate District 18 to replace Swati Dandekar who resigned to take a position with the Iowa Utility Board.

This put the control of the Iowa state Senate in play. Should Republican Cindy Golding win, the senate would be evenly split. An even split would mean sharing leadership. Sharing leadership would mean that the truly bad ALEC legislation that is being pushed through the House now will have a chance of becoming law.

To see just what that means a person doesn’t have to look too far. The most egregious example is Wisconsin. Much like in Iowa, Republicans came to power there on the promise of jobs. That was a promise that was never meant to be kept. Once in power, Gov. Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald brothers (Senate Majority Leader Scott and House Speaker Jeff) went about using government as a club to beat their opponents with. They passed and signed into law legislation aimed at breaking unions especially public unions, dramatically lowering taxes on business shifting the burden to the middle class, changing voting laws to make it harder for certain classes to vote and giving power to the governor to sell off state property without bids.

All of these are laws that were inspired by ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council. These or very similar laws are on the short list for Iowa Republicans. Laws such as enacted in Wisconsin have the goal of shifting the tax burden more and more to those who can least pay while pulling up the safety nets that were there for everyone should bad times occur.

Among the most wanted bills by Republicans is the ALEC voting restriction law that will force everyone to get a voter ID card and restrict absentee ballots. This will be hard for elderly and the poor. A part of that bill would also restrict student voting. In my life this is the first step backward for what was once a constant effort to make the vote available to more and more citizens.

Another particularly onerous piece of legislation is the one that shifts tax revenues from commercial businesses to private property owners on one hand and on the other hand restricts how cities and counties can levy property taxes. The net effect of this will be to dry up local government funds.

So, to all Iowans – there is an election this Tuesday. Get up and get out to vote! Vote in your municipal elections and stay involved with what happens in your community.

But especially to those residing in SD18 in Linn County. Much is at stake in this election. If you do not vote you will have only yourselves to blame if Iowa becomes another Wisconsin.

As a reminder of what ALEC is all about:
across the nation:
In Iowa here:
and here:
and finally here:

3 Easy Ways You Can Help Take Your Country Back This Weekend

1 – Participate in Bank Transfer Day Nov. 5

Saturday, November 5 · 9:00am – 5:00pm
FOR MORE INFO: http://facebook.com/nov.fifth

Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will always remember the 5th of November. If we shift our funds from the for-profit banking institutions in favor of not-for-profit credit unions before this date, we will send a clear message that conscious consumers won’t support companies with unethical business practices. It’s time to invest in local community growth!

Occupy Des Moines
Saturday, November 5 · 9:30am – 12:30pm
International Day of Action this Saturday! Join us in Des Moines as we take on the big banks that crashed the economy! We won’t pay for their crisis! It’s time to make Wall Street pay!
We will meet at Western Gateway Park and march to Wells Fargo Bank (2840 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines) then march to Bank of America, (3422 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312). Both banks are open.

Occupy Dubuque occupydubuque.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/november-5-rally/
Occupy Dubuque on Facebook:  facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Dubuque-IOWA
Saturday, November 5, 11 am-6 pm
We’ll be meeting from 11am-6pm at Washington Park (corner of 6th and Locust Streets) in Downtown Dubuque this Saturday.  Speak out!  Everyone is encouraged to speak to the group. Write a speech, write a poem, or write a song – anything that conveys your thoughts and feelings about the dire situation in our country. We’ll be providing a soapbox to stand on so you can share your ideas with the group at large.

Occupy Iowa City
Saturday November 5 2:00-5:00 pm

Winter Preparation Workday, College Green Park
If you are able to come out and lend a hand while occupiers get things cleaned up and prepared for winter weather, please come out.  If you can’t stick around to help clean dropping off some snacks or hot beverages for volunteers would be greatly appreciated. Come join the fun!

Occupy Cedar Rapids, IA (Official) https://www.facebook.com/occupycr
Friday Nov. 4th Noise maker workshop @ 2:00 pm in the Occupation site. [Note: Occupy CR wants to make sure you go to the OFFICIAL page - see link above]
Saturday Nov. 5th
Guy Fawkes Day march on the banks and account closings @ 11:00 am meeting in Green Square Park.  I really hope we see everyone there bodies for this event will be meaningful.

2 – Help elect Liz Mathis in SD 18 – Keep Republicans out of power in the Iowa Senate

mathis4statesenate.com/

It’s GOTV time. Help Liz Mathis help Democrats keep the majority in the Iowa Senate.

Next 4 Days This is what YOU can do :

Canvassing, phoning, food, money all are areas that YOU can help with. Headquarters: 1375 7th Ave., Marion, IA. Phone # 319-899-0628. Mail contributions to Mathis for Senate, 1725 MacKenzie Dr., Robins, IA 52411.

Find out where to vote here.  linncountyelections.org/lookup/

UNI-Students for Working Families
Monday, November 7 · 12:00pm – 8:00pm

This will be the 24th and final senate district 18 phone bank for Working Families Win and UNI-Students for Working Families, Seerley Hal Room 213, University of Northern Iowa

We all know whats on the line in this election, everything from health care and workers rights, to reproductive freedom and marriage equity.  There will be food, and door prizes, impromptu dance parties, lots of badass political SWAG!  We have already made over 9,000 phone calls into the district, but we are not going to stop until its over.  We don’t want any regrets folks, stop by anytime, even if you only have an hour.  We are going to make thousands of calls in this final marathon phone bank.

https://www.facebook.com/event

3 – Help Re-elect President Obama/Keep Republicans out of power
Join our “One Year Out” Weekend of Action
Saturday Nov. 5 from 10am-1pm, 1pm-5pm
Sunday, Nov. 6 12pm-4pm, 4pm-8pm

Become a part of the effort to show the nation that President Obama’s campaign is the most organized campaign one year out from 11/6/2012. We will be calling our friends and neighbors across Johnson County all weekend to promote the January 3 caucus. We will be phone banking Saturday from 10am-1pm, 1pm-5pm and Sunday, 12pm-4pm, 4pm-8pm. Please RSVP below:

RSVP for Saturday: http://bit.ly/WeekendOfAction_Sat11_5

RSVP for Sunday: http://bit.ly/WeekendOfAction_Sun11_6

Please come down to the Iowa City campaign office located at 321 E. Market Street and help us show the nation that Iowa is fired up and ready to go!

Benjamin M. Levine, Field Organizer
Organizing for America – Iowa
BLevine@OFAIowa.com

 

Why Iowa Special Election Has National Implications

Liz Mathis

Thanks to C&L

On November 8, Iowa is holding a special election for a state senate race, something that wouldn’t usually have national implications. Usually. This time, a small election with candidates not known much outside the state could help decide not only the future of the state, but could be a sign of a larger trend.

The election begins with a dirty trick from Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, doing his best to follow in the steps of Wisconsin and Ohio:

The Republicans have mounted a sneak attack – trying to send Iowa down the same terrible road as Wisconsin and Ohio. Democrats were clinging to a 26-24 majority in the State Senate, but the Governor appointed a Democratic senator to a statewide board, just so he could call a special election that could allow Republicans to take control of the State Senate and the entire Iowa state government1.

The super-thin Dem majority in the State Senate is our only protection against all kinds of evil Republican schemes.

The Republican candidate is Cindy Golding, the co-chair of the Linn County Republican Party, and if you have any doubt about the importance of the election, the line-up of conservatives supporting her should put those doubts to rest. Pumping money into the race are Rick Santorum, the Team Iowa PAC, the Concordia Group, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Leader (which is connected to the Family Research Council).  Watch her scary campaign video here.

Democrat Liz Mathis has outraised Golding in the short election cycle and Democrats have a 2-1 advantage in absentee ballot requests.  You can read her bio at her website to learn more.

If Golding wins, a host of important issues are in the balance, including marriage equality, collective bargaining, increasing use of nuclear power and numerous others. A conservative victory could boost fund raising and encourage conservatives in other states, widening the battlefield that has dominated a number of swing states this year. 

This weekend through Tuesday is GOTV time.   Help Liz Mathis help Democrats keep the majority in the Iowa Senate.  


Mathis v. Golding Forum in Senate District 18

Liz Mathis

The announcement of the candidate forum between Republican Cindy Golding and Democrat Liz Mathis in State Senate District 18 was late in coming, so I watched the debate on television rather than at Linn-Mar High School Auditorium in Marion. A high school sporting event conflicted with the time chosen by KCRG-TV 9 and the Gazette and contributed to sparse attendance. As the television camera panned the audience, there were a lot of empty seats, but a few familiar faces, including Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Bob Dvorsky. The fact that the forum was televised at all is evidence of how important the political parties and news media believe this race is.

What was surprising was that the candidates actually debated. We are used to formulaic exchanges with strict rules about interaction and speaking time in most other political forums. For the first 20 minutes, the candidates freely exchanged ideas in a civil manner. Each made their points and by the end of the hour, it was clear where each one stood.

Mathis was articulate, positive and willing to agree with some of Governor Branstad’s initiatives regarding education. Like many, I have been watching Liz Mathis on television for decades and it was surprising to see and hear her outside this context. She established herself as her own person, referencing her broadcasting career briefly, but focusing on her work with Four Oaks, knowledge about her husband’s small business, her work as a faculty member and regent at Wartburg College, and her work lobbying the Iowa Legislature on behalf of organizations with whom she associates. Mathis said at least twice that she would take guidance from residents of the district in forming her opinions about which legislation to support, not from her political party. She came across as confident and knowledgeable about issues like the gas tax and education. She was aggressive in countering things her opponent has said and done in the campaign, which put Republican Cindy Golding on the defensive.

Cindy Golding

Golding came across as pro-business, a doctrinaire Republican and a bit of a whiner. She complained that Iowa had changed for the worse since she and her family moved here from Illinois and she seeks to help regain what had been lost if elected to the Iowa Senate. When questioned about the “brain drain” in Iowa, her view of Iowa children was that not everyone should attend college, so we should celebrate those who seek to become hairdressers and mechanics after high school. Her approach to resolving the brain drain would be to create an environment to attract business investment in Iowa. Her personal situation is telling. Her children had all become engineers by attending Iowa State University. The engineering jobs available in Iowa and specifically at Rockwell in Cedar Rapids were not good enough for them, so they left the state. This begs the question of what Iowa would look like if Golding’s agenda were to advance. It did not appear to support the very things she said had deteriorated since she arrived. Golding said, before the government spends more money on education, we should change our attitude and do positive things that don’t cost money. She would fit in well with the austerity crowd in Des Moines.

Golding said she would not be a rubber stamp for Governor Branstad, but she also said she felt the Iowa Senate was blocking bills that would favor business in Iowa. She would rubber stamp some of those bills, which indicated that she wants it both ways. Interpretation: when the conservative agenda is being advanced, she will cooperate, when a moderate agenda is being advanced she will obstruct. In contrast, Mathis reminded us that people are tired of the gridlock in politics, and expressed willingness to work with other Senators and the Governor to solve long standing problems like making needed infrastructure repairs and improving education.

One hopes that the sparse attendance at the forum last night was due to the sporting event and not a lack of interest in the November 8 special election. The results will decide whether Democrats will retain control of the Iowa Senate or whether there will be shared power between the parties. Each would present a different dynamic for the conclusion of the 84th Iowa General Assembly, more evidence that elections matter.

~ Paul Deaton is a regular contributor to Blog for Iowa and lives in rural Iowa.

Liz Mathis Needs Our Help Now

October 8th, 2011

Friends,

I’m Liz Mathis. On September 28th, I accepted the Democratic nomination for the Senate District 18 Special Election. I’m running for the Senate because I believe I can make a difference. We need more growth opportunities for our Main Street businesses, better-paying jobs for our families and a return to higher education standards in our schools. But I need your help to get this positive message of economic progress out to voters in Linn County.

Please help us by contributing $25, $50, $100 or more to Mathis for State Senate today.

I’ve spent my life telling the stories of Iowans. For more than 25 years I was a journalist, and for the past four years, I’ve worked for a child advocacy and juvenile justice agency where I’ve fought for kids in difficult situations to get the tools they need to grow up to be successful adults.

This election is a clear choice between our vision, which is one of progress and moving forward on educational enrichment, Main Street business growth and job creation initiatives. Or, the Tea Party Republican’s turn-back-the-progress approach, which has short-changed our kids by cutting school budgets, and left thousands of out-of-work Iowans without the services they need to re-enter the workforce.

Please help us succeed. Contribute $25, $50, $100 or more today to make sure we keep moving forward in Senate District 18.

Any contribution is appreciated. You can also mail a check to:
Mathis for State Senate
1725 MacKenzie Dr NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52411

Thank you for your support.