Home education was legalized in Massachusetts by a court decision in 1893, and Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia were other states authorizing it long before Iowa. Iowa, where the legislature finally allowed the practice in 1991, was the second to last state to follow suit. The Michigan Supreme Court followed two years later. The National Education Association still opposes the practice.
For decades activist Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform has convinced (blackmailed!) candidates for office to sign a pledge not to increase taxes. No tax -- not for roads, defense, a tax on 'sin,'or gin -- No tax, new or old.
Several leading Republicans including Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Rep. Tom Latham question the advisability of holding to that old anti-tax pledge, considering the alternatives of the "fiscal cliff."
I have always maintained it to be poor statesmanship. Literally (and they enforce it literally!) such a pledge precludes an increase in one tax even if it is offset by a reduction in another.
When Kraig Paulsen, Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, selected Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars to become chairman of the important Appropriations Committee he said, "He brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to this committee and has shown an exceptional commitment to operating in the best interest of Iowa taxpayers." That is high praise, and well deserved.
The House appropriations (read 'spending' committee) chair is without doubt one of the most important in Iowa politics. Several former chairmen have later become Speaker of the House.
Until recent years (some might say it continues!) many rural areas sent Mossbacks (an extremely old-fashioned or reactionary person) to the Iowa House and Plymouth County was no exception. No longer. Soderberg replaced Ralph Klemme, who had replaced Bradly Banks. All are well respected by both fellow legislators and around the state. Although they are all 'farm boys,' their political views, in general, are far more enlightened than those of a Mossback.
Brad Banks cut his political eye teeth at the capitol when he, wife Carla and family lobbied for homeschooling. Like many issues that lingered for years, homeschooling had some unrealistic, wild-eyed advocates who were downright antagonistic, but the Banks family was recognized as reasonable and practical about the issue.
When I resigned to become Governor Terry Branstad's legislative liaison, Brad ran and won the seat. Like many a young legislator he was a tad na*ve and a little aggressive in his early House days (some of his speeches caused Democrat eyes to roll!) but he really came into his own when he became a Senator. He became a pragmatic problem solver who worked well with everyone. Brad still farms near Westfield.
Ralph was older and more experienced and his quiet demeanor quickly made him a go-to guy whose opinion was sought and respected. He now lives in Le Mars and is very active in the community. With Chuck, Plymouth County continues to send levelheaded Representatives to Des Moines.
This year's highest paid actresses are Sofia Vergara, $19 million, Kim Kardashian, $18M, Eva Longoria, $15M, Bethenny Frankel, $12M, Khloe Kardashian, $11M, Tina Fey, $11M and Mariska Hargitay, $10M. A pat on the back if you can pick half out of a lineup.
He came, he saw, he kinda conquered. Martin Edelson, that liberal Democrat from Ames spent a Saturday in Le Mars visiting, with anyone who would, about Congressman Steve King. He and his friend Elgin were told by King's office in Ames to, "Go to Le Mars if you want to talk to King supporters. They love Steve up there."
I said 'kinda' conquered because he impressed those who visited with him. Wayne Marty and Cheryl Wells, in particular (from different viewpoints!) were articulate and knowledgeable about the Vilsack-King race and impressed both Martin and Elgin. They liked Le Mars and its friendly people and plan to return someday, with their wives.
Neither Democrat nor Republican county Pooh-Bahs showed up to support their candidate, probably by design. Hawkeye football was on and, as it turned out, that was the last time the Hawkeye fans had much to cheer about.
A few of Martin's fellow Story Countians voted for King, but he lost by nearly 8,000 votes there. King out polled Mitt Romney by 18 votes in Plymouth County.
Don Paulin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236