Blog

No Place Like Home: Senate District 28

Senator Michael Breitbach calls his district the gateway to the beautiful hill country.

“My district is where the flat lands and prairie meet the hills of northeast Iowa,” Senator Breitbach said. “It runs along the Fayette and Clayton county line. Once you get to that area, everything south and west of Strawberry [Point] pretty much flattens out. Everything north and east is all hills. It looks completely different than what most people think of when they think of Iowa.”

SONY DSCSenator Breitbach’s home, Strawberry Point, Iowa, is located in Senate District 28, along with a number of historical buildings, businesses, and of course, the “World’s Largest Strawberry.” This strawberry welcomes you to Strawberry Point City Hall, measuring 15 feet tall and 12 feet across. It weighs in at 1,500 pounds.

“Decorah is another beautiful town with many historical buildings,” Senator Breitbach said. One of those buildings is Hotel Winneshiek, originally constructed from 1904-1905. In April 2000 it reopened after extensive renovations.

“It really is something you have to see to truly appreciate,” Senator Breitbach said.

A little south of Decorah is the Bily Clock Museum in Spillville. Two brothers, Joseph and Frank Bily, started carving clocks in 1913. These clocks often depicted cultural, historical or religious scenes, some standing over 9 feet tall. The brothers never sold any despite offers they received. Their collection was donated to the museum after their passing.

Festina, Iowa, a small town outside of Deocrah, is home to  St. Anthony of Padua Chapel, the world’s smallest church.

Senate District 28 is also home to Effigy Mounds, a national monument stretching across Allamakee and Clayton counties. The prehistoric animal-shaped mounds built by Native Americans are believed to have many different meanings, such as seasonal observances, celestial events or boundary markers.

“We always have been active in our community. I spent time as a council member and my wife was the mayor,” Senator Breitbach said. “I wanted the opportunity to give back for all of the good things our family has enjoyed here. I thought running for office was a great way to do that.”

Senator Breitbach has served 30 years as a volunteer fireman, 22 years as a volunteer EMT, 20 years as a Boy Scout leader, as well as serving on many other boards and positions in the city.

“Each district is really different and I’m proud to represent the one I call home.”

No Place Like Home: Get to Know Senate District 48

SONY DSC“I take great pleasure in serving my constituents and our rural communities at the Statehouse,” said Senator Dan Zumbach. Senator Zumbach is from Ryan, Iowa, and represents Senate District 48.  “Our district is unique and it is an honor to represent it.”

Backbone State Park is located in Senate District 48. It is the first state park in Iowa. It received its name from the narrow and steep ridge of bedrock – the “Devil’s Backbone.”

The small town of Anamosa also is what inspired many of Grant Woods‘ paintings. He is most famous for his American Gothic painting.

“My district has 17 school districts and 21 small-town parades,” Zumbach said. “I always try to get to as many as I can, but 21 is quite a bit, some with three or four a day!”

“I was frustrated with the over-regulation by government that was happening, so I thought, ‘We need to find someone who can fix this,'” Zumbach said. “After searching for a while, my family started to say, ‘Why don’t you run?’ They thought I had the family values and business experience that would represent this district well.

“I thought seriously about the question they posed, and I remember thinking, ‘I’m just a farmer, how can I make a difference?’ I went to the county central committee to figure out how to start, then the process began, and here I am.”

To learn more about Dan Zumbach and sign up for his newsletter, visit his page.

Love Blossoms in the Iowa Senate

Making the decision to run for public office requires the support of loved ones. Three Senate Republicans get to work closely with their spouse on a daily basis to fight for every hard-working family in Iowa.

Brad and Dede Zaun

Zaun_2-14-15

Dede and Brad have been married for eight years.

“He proposed to me on Halloween,” Dede said. “He rented a horse, dressed up like a knight and came galloping up to my house.

“I didn’t know what he was doing, so I said, ‘This is the greatest Halloween costume ever!’ and then he got down on one knee and proposed.”

Dede enjoys experiencing everything at the Capitol with her husband and all the work involved.

“Session usually takes us away from our families a lot, but we get to experience it together,” Brad said. “She helps me very much and makes me look good. I don’t call her my clerk – we work together.”

Dennis and Margaret Guth

Guth_2-14-15

Margaret and Dennis met in high school through church and have been married since 1978.

Margaret says this is the first real chance they have had to work together since she was a “city girl and he farms.”

“I have a great appreciation for what happens at the Capitol,” Margaret said.

“She provides tremendous encouragement,” Dennis said. “She knows me better than anyone. There is no one better to sit beside me, ask their opinion and represent me here.

“I think being here together helps build unity in our marriage, because she’s here experiencing it all with me.”

Julian and Nancy Garrett

Garrett_2-14-15

Nancy and Julian have been married for eight years.

“I may be the only legislator with a lawyer for a clerk,” Julian said. “She helps me with researching bills along with all the day-to-day activities.”

“I enjoy working here and having the opportunity to see what Julian does every day, how good he is at it, how well he represents his constituents and how hard the job really is,” Nancy said. “I already admired and respected him. Working with him here really increases my respect and high regard for his abilities.”

Senate Republicans announce ranking members for upcoming session

Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, announced today the Senate Republicans who will serve as standing committee ranking members for the 2015 Legislative session.

Agriculture: Dan Zumbach, Ryan.
Appropriations: Jake Chapman, Adel.
Commerce: Bill Anderson, Pierson.
Economic Growth: Mark Chelgren, Ottumwa.
Education: Amy Sinclair, Allerton.
Ethics: Jason Schultz, Schleswig.
Government Oversight: Julian Garrett, Indianola.
Human Resources: David Johnson, Ocheyedan.
Judiciary: Charles Schneider, West Des Moines.
Labor & Business Relations: Tom Shipley, Nodaway.
Local Government: Roby Smith, Davenport.
Natural Resources & Environment: Ken Rozenboom, Oskaloosa.
Rules & Administration: Bill Dix, Shell Rock.
State Government: Rick Bertrand, Sioux City.
Transportation: Tim Kapucian, Keystone.
Veterans Affairs: Mark Segebart, Vail.
Ways & Means: Randy Feenstra, Hull.

Appropriations ranking members for the upcoming Legislative session are:

Administration & Regulation: Dan Zumbach, Ryan.
Agriculture & Natural Resources: Ken Rozenboom, Oskaloosa.
Economic Development: Charles Schneider, West Des Moines.
Education: Tim Kraayenbrink, Fort Dodge.
Health & Human Services: Mark Segebart, Vail.
Justice Systems: Julian Garrett, Indianola.
Transportation: Tim Kapucian, Keystone.

Senator Anderson named a Hometown Hero

State Senator Bill Anderson, R-Pierson, was honored Friday as a Hometown Hero by the Autism Society of Iowa.

Anderson_HometownHero

The Autism Society of Iowa honors Iowa legislators each year with the Hometown Hero Award. Senator Anderson was a recipient this year of the Hometown Hero designation. The Autism Society of Iowa said Senator Anderson has “gone above and beyond to improve the lives of those with autism spectrum disorders.”

“I am honored to be named a Hometown Hero by the Autism Society of Iowa,” Senator Anderson said. “It is important to work diligently to help improve the lives of every Iowan, and even harder for those who need us the most.”