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Iowans pull together in tough times

December 30, 2009
By State Sen. Tom Rielly D-Oskaloosa
I know many Iowans are struggling these days. Families are tightening their belts, and concerns about jobs and the economy abound. The recent snow storms and cold spells have only added to the stress.

I’m confident, however, that the sense of community I see among local Iowans will pull us through. I see neighbors shoveling one another out, bringing meals to those in need, offering a ride, donating what they have and volunteering their time.

I’m proud too of how our public employees have gone above and beyond in so many ways, and I want to extend my appreciation to them.

During the recent storms across our state, the Iowa State Patrol has done a great job of assisting Iowans. According to the Department of Public Safety, the Patrol handled 3,725 emergency calls between Tuesday, December 8 and Wednesday, December 9.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has been working since September to slow the spread of the H1N1 virus, and local public health agencies have done a tremendous job of making sure those at highest risk get vaccinated.

And Iowa Workforce Development is busier than ever. Our state’s unemployment rate is at its highest level since the 1980s, jumping from 4.3 percent in October 2008 to 6.7 percent in October 2009. Workforce Development staff members are putting in the long hours necessary to make sure that thousands of Iowans each week get the unemployment, training and job-search services they need.

Times are tough, but our Iowa work ethic and belief in personal responsibility will surely pull us through and make us stronger than ever.

Small businesses now eligible for DOT contracts

In an effort to include more Iowa companies in state work, the Iowa Department of Transportation will offer small business development contracts beginning in 2010.

The new program will focus on projects of less than $100,000 that require little or no specialized equipment. Projects could include tree removal, pavement patching, joint sealing, sidewalk repair, replacing culvert aprons and pavement painting.

For more information on the Small Business Development Contracts Program, contact Roger Bierbaum at 515-239-1414 or go to:

This is a legislative update from Senator Tom Rielly, representing Iowa, Poweshiek, and Keokuk counties, and portions of Mahaska and Tama counties.

To contact Senator Rielly when the Legislature is not in session, call him at home at 641-673-0359.

E-mail him at

Senator Tom Rielly is chair of the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Agriculture, Commerce, Economic Growth, Environment & Energy Independence, and Local Government committees.


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