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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community

February 11, 2019
By State Senator Jeff Edler - R-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Last week was a shortened week due to the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. Most of the week was spent working on subcommittee assignments. Subcommittees are the first step in the legislative process and gives the public and other interested parties an opportunity to support, oppose or suggest changes to the proposed legislation.

Wednesday was Veterans Day at the Capitol and I had the opportunity to meet with some veterans groups on what their priorities are for us this year. I also had the opportunity to listen to our Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Timon Oujiri deliver an outstanding speech about our Veterans. I am hoping to help schedule a visit to the IVH by the entire Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in the near future. We also had discussions on how we can help with services that focus on mental health and trauma for veterans.

In our first weeks here, one of the most important things discussed is the increase in education funding for the next fiscal year. The legislature has set a goal for establishing responsible funding levels for K-12 education within 30 days after the governor's budget is submitted. It is our goal to approve this funding within that timeframe. We must allow Iowa schools adequate time to work on their budgets and plan for the next school year.

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State Senator Jeff Edler

Each legislative session for the last several years, education funding in Iowa has gotten an increase. The most significant part of our discussions is how much of an increase is sustainable. After years of over-promising and under-delivering, being able to give a sustainable number to school districts is absolutely essential.

Lowest unemployment rate in the country

In the Senate we have worked the last two years to pass policies that create a pathway to improve Iowa's business climate. It is outstanding to see those successes come to fruition each and every week. The most recent piece of great news: Iowa now stands alone as boasting the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

Iowa Workforce Development announced recently the December unemployment rate remained strong at 2.4 percent. November's data had Iowa tied with Hawaii, which experienced a slight increase to 2.5 percent in December.

Nearly 2,300 Iowans entered the workforce in December bringing the total number of Iowans employed to more than 1.65 million. More Iowans are now working than at any time in this state's history. This is a first in Iowa, and it illustrates what Senate Majority Leader Whitver said in his opening day speech.

He said, "two years ago, we set out to implement a better job climate in the state of Iowa. Today, we have the lowest unemployment rate in the entire nation. We went from a state asking "where are the jobs" to a state asking "where are the workers?"

Senate Republicans are very proud of the work we have done in the last two years, but it is important not take these successes for granted. We always must strive for improvement. We must work to bolster new career opportunities as well as career training, recruitment and retention.

Expect another exciting session as we work on challenges and expand on the successes to continue to move Iowa forward!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.



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