Senate President Jack Whitver’s Opening Day Remarks 2017

Good morning.  It is an honor and a privilege to be elected as the new Senate President. And, like all of you, being elected to serve the great people of our state is not a responsibility I take lightly.

The first day of every General Assembly is always my favorite day because I am overcome with a great sense of optimism. I have so much optimism because I look around this room and see so many great public servants. I see teachers, peace officers, farmers, bankers, small business owners and pharmacists. And yes, I see Republicans, Democrats and a no party.

But, beyond professions and party affiliations, I see Iowans. I see senators who share a common passion – a love for this state and our fellow Iowans. I see senators who welcome the task to make Iowa the best state we possibly can. I have so much optimism because I see 50 senators coming from every corner of this state, converging in Des Moines with big plans and big dreams for this upcoming session.

Though I represent the great community of Ankeny, I was raised in rural Iowa – in Grinnell. This is where my parents, who are with us here today, taught me so many life lessons, the importance of hard work and what it means to have Iowa values.

When moving in my office, I learned of a couple of old pictures available through the State Historical building. One of them inspired me and now hangs in the Senate President’s office behind this chamber. It is a picture of Josiah Bushnell Grinnell, a pioneer who founded the city of Grinnell. He served in this body, the Iowa Senate from 1856-1860.

Many of you have heard the phrase, “Go west young man, go west.” This advice, many say, was given by the great statesman Horace Greely to a young man named J.B. Grinnell.

Greely’s advice was more than a compass direction. The west back then represented many things: Natural beauty. Wilderness. Boldness. Optimism. Opportunity, and its constant traveling companion, Risk. Most of all, it represented a pursuit of destiny, with little regard for what was familiar, or comfortable, or even safe. The West was where the future was being built.

Grinnell took Greely’s advice and traveled west into the unknown. He set out looking to make his mark on his country and create a legacy for those who came after him. He finally settled in what is now the city of Grinnell because of the endless opportunities he saw right here in Iowa.

Now, more than 150 years later, I believe the endless opportunities Grinnell chased are even greater today in our state. I challenge us to look at Iowa and seek out the same opportunities he pursued.

I urge my fellow senators to spend the next 110 days as J.B. Grinnell did – thinking big and acting bold.

When this session ends and people remember the 2017 session, let them say that this was the year that positively changed our state forever. Let them say this was the year an economic revival began in Iowa. Let them say that 2017 was the year the legislature dared to dream big.

Let’s work together this session to expand our workforce, strengthen our economy, rejuvenate our ag industry, ease the tax burdens on Iowans, create financial stability for our rural communities and school districts, and provide students with a top notch education.

Let us go west, not across the ground, but in our hearts and minds. Let us confidently face the unknown future the way J.B. Grinnell faced the challenges of the wild frontier.

Today is a good day to be an Iowan. Let’s work together to make tomorrow even better.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s Opening Day Remarks 2017

Today, we embark on a new direction for the State of Iowa. It will be a journey that creates optimism and a stronger financial footing for our great state.

This last election was a tough one, for both sides. Now, more than ever, we need to come together and do what is best for Iowans. We all want Iowa to be the best state in the country; one that keeps Iowans here, and attracts new residents to our state. It is imperative we create an atmosphere in which people can create businesses and thrive, raise their families, and trust their children are getting a world class education.

Our priorities are not new – and they shouldn’t be. For the past few years you have heard our hopes and concerns. Our ideas and dreams. Our plan for a better Iowa.

Senate Republicans have a vision of economic prosperity for the people of Iowa, a vision of a vibrant agricultural presence in our rural communities, a vision of fiscal responsibility in the Iowa Senate, and growing our state and making it attractive for investment and new career opportunities.

Iowa is an agricultural state. I, myself, am a farmer with a diverse operation. Our rural communities have long been the backbone of Iowa’s economy, culture and character. There is no reason these communities should be struggling the way they have been for so long. This must change, and let me tell you why.

Do you remember when you were taught to tie your shoes? You were told to tie them once, nice and tight, and then again, a double knot for security, so you do not trip and fall. A double knot, so you could move forward without worry you will trip and fall, so you could move without concern it will all come undone.

We are all here for the same reason – we care about our state. We care about our families, friends, neighbors. We care about people and want them to have the best life they can. We want them to be successful and thrive. We want to make sure Iowans can do more than just make ends meet, but even tie the ends a few times over, like a double knot. To ensure Iowa families feel secure. We want to enable them to grow, to move forward, and succeed.

These last few months, Republicans promised a limited, more efficient government. We promised more money back in the pockets of Iowans; money Iowans have earned and deserve to keep. We want a balanced budget with responsible budgeting principles, much like Iowa families budget to honor their commitments.

As I talk to Iowans all around our state in our rural communities, I hear firsthand about declining school enrollment. Iowans also share with me concerns about stagnant wages and unsustainable government spending.

The solution for each of these challenges is quite simple: Growth, growth, growth. We should be making our state attractive, inviting, and a great place to live for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We must foster an environment that creates flourishing career opportunities for those graduating high school, college and for those seeking to embark on a new career path.

Iowans responded to these words, to these promises, to these principles and overwhelmingly chose us to move Iowa forward. And, we are ready to lead.

The windows of my Senate office look out over the Des Moines skyline. If you look out those windows, you can see the positive things investing in our state can do. It represents the commerce and economy of our state and the positive impacts of investing in our state, its people and ideas.

Let’s get to work in our pursuit of real, substantive policies to provide an environment for growth. Economic growth, personal growth, educational growth. The key here, is growth. Senate Republicans are excited to start this new venture and work with the House of Representatives and the Governor.

We stand ready to make all Iowans hopeful for and proud of what is on the horizon for our great state.

Let’s Make It Happen!

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.”

Senate Republicans unanimously re-elect Senator Dix as leader

Des Moines – Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, and Senate Republican Whip Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, were unanimously re-elected to their respective leadership positions Monday at the State Capitol.

Senator Dix was first elected in 2012 as Senate Republican leader. Whitver served as the Senate Republican whip during the 2014 Legislative session.

“I am honored to have the continued support of our Senate Republican caucus,” Senator Dix said. “Senate Republicans will remain steadfast in fighting for fiscal responsibility, expanding new career opportunities and creating a legacy of opportunity for all Iowans.”

Senate Republicans also elected five assistant leaders Monday during their caucus. The assistant leaders for the 2015 Legislative session are: Senator Randy Feenstra, R-Hull; Senator Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City; Senator Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan; Senator Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone; and Senator Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines.

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Senate Page program is taking applications

Each fall the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency searches for Iowa high school juniors and seniors for its Legislative Page Program.  This year applications for Iowa Senate pages are being accepted through October 3.  The program is an opportunity for young men and women to play an active role in government.  This year pages will begin work on January 12, 2015, and work throughout the legislative session, which should end near the middle of May 2015.

Pages have the option of serving a full or half semester in the winter, during the legislative session working at the Capitol.  They are treated as employees, receive a stipend and complete a variety of tasks.  The pages work with legislators by delivering bills and helping legislators do daily tasks.   The work of a page is essential to helping the political process run smoothly.  Senators get to know the pages and understand the program is a great way for students to experience government first-hand.

Interested youth from across the state are encouraged to apply for the program for the 2015 Legislative Session.  The application deadline is right around the corner and those interested in becoming a page should discuss this with their high school guidance counselor and families.

For more information and to view the application for the Legislative Page Program, visit https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/lsaReports/pageInfo/PageApplication.pdf. Once interested applicants have downloaded the application package, they should complete the personal information form, provide a written statement on why they want to become a page and submit letters of recommendations from nonrelatives.  The rest of the application package includes a form signed by a principal, counselor or superintendent as well as a letter of recommendation from the principal, counselor or superintendent.

Completed page application packages must be returned to the Secretary of the Senate’s office, Iowa Senate, Statehouse, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. For more information, call 515-281-5307. Interviews will be held October 20-24.