Participatory Government – Citizens Speak!

Post-meeting update (earlier post simply announced the meeting)

Every week that goes by in this session of the Iowa State Legislature, I become a more ardent supporter of my representative in the Iowa House (district 39), Dawn Pettengil. She is working tirelessly (on her $25,000 salary + $137 per diem) to help reign in the runaway spending at the state level and to stay connected with her constituents. She publishes a newsletter with (near) weekly updates on the goings-on in Des Moines. In person, today (Saturday, Feb 19 2011), she hosted two coffee’s to meet with the people of Benton County.  There was one at Vinton City Hall at 10 AM and another at the Norway Public Library at 1:30 PM. She holds these meetings around the district on a regular basis.  I like to show some support at these things, and went to Norway. I get to connect with others who care about the direction their government is going, voice ideas and concerns, and hear a first hand report of items from the statehouse that occur in various committees that never make it into the news.   I encourage anyone in the district to go to these.  Attendance today in Norway was about 25, so this is a place where your ideas about the state government can truly be heard.  I’m sure if you ask, you can get on the mailing list to get notifications of these events:  also see

Now, I can’t tell you that I agree with everyone who shows up.  But people are generally polite and respectful of other’s views. If there is disagreement, our representative gets to hear the arguments of both sides.  Its the American system at work!  I genuinely appreciate Representative Pettengil’s effort to make this work the way it is supposed to, ’cause I’m really tired of the ‘hand-it-down-from-on-high’ approach that we generally see coming out of Washington.

When we go home, we know more than when we went.  If you didn’t go, we know more than you, and we are better prepared to effect the government we want.  I can’t think of a better use for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.  It’s not like we were freezing at Valley Forge or laboring with the Patriots since, who helped buy this right for us.



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