The public comment period for Iowa’s new proposed redistricting maps has ended and the feedback is loud and clear: Iowans want lawmakers to resist gerrymandering and support the first set of maps drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.
More than 250 comments were submitted, nearly all in favor of holding with state tradition to create fair and balanced legislative and congressional districts rather than drawing them to create political advantage for one party.
Every 10 years, state legislatures across the country must redraw district boundaries following the census. The Iowa approach follows a nonpartisan redistricting process supported by Iowans of both parties. The process has served Iowa well for decades.
Now the decision is in the hands of lawmakers. Gov. Kim Reynolds has called for a special session Tuesday, Oct. 5 to consider the maps.
Every Iowa lawmaker must do the right thing by Iowans and support the nonpartisan maps as they are drawn. Iowa’s gold standard approach to fair and impartial maps depends on elected officials to do the right thing.
Something special happened in Dubuque this week when the daughters of Captain Robert L. Martin were able to see their father honored in his hometown as the hero he was.
A salute to the University of Dubuque for the kickoff of the school’s Black Heritage Tribute Initiative honoring the Tuskegee Airman who hailed from Dubuque. The effort will include a series of public events that continue this week and further events in the months ahead celebrating Black lives, creativity, ingenuity and contributions to American heritage.
That few people in his hometown knew of Martin’s historic heroics until recent years is a testament to the need for greater education.
This effort coincides with an ongoing fundraising campaign to build a memorial honoring Martin at Dubuque Regional Airport. Martin served as part of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart for his service. He was present when the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.
It’s great to see more acknowledgment and storytelling around a true local hero whose history was long overlooked.
Senate Republicans can certainly howl about the cost of President Biden’s infrastructure bill. They can pound their fists at the additional domestic spending package. And they can point fingers at the administration for a growing border crisis and the chaos in Afghanistan. Agree or disagree, all of that is fair game and subject to political sparring.
But blocking an essential vote on raising the nation’s debt ceiling is no place to play politics and doing so is a dangerous game.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledges that “America must never default” on its bills. But that didn’t stop McConnell from leading all 50 GOP senators to vote against the House-approved legislation to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt ceiling until the end of next year.
This sort of brinkmanship is nothing new, but that doesn’t make it any less reckless. The debt belongs to both parties — both added to it.
On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that Congress has until Oct. 18 to address the looming debt ceiling and avoid near-certain economic calamity.
Here’s another thing about these episodes of brinkmanship — pushing the country to the brink of government shutdowns, defaults on the public debt and economic turmoil. Not only are they predictable, they consume so much time and attention that other important issues get shoved to the back burner (if not off the stove entirely).
No elected official should play politics with America’s financial standing. It’s time to end the brinkmanship.