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The 2015 session of the 86th General Assembly began this week Monday as re-elected and newly elected Representatives and Senators took the oath of office, pledging to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of Iowa. As always, there is a fascinating blend of men and women from all walks of life and all ages.
It is an honor for me to continue my first term serving the residents of Senate District 40 which includes all of Mahaska, Monroe and Appanoose counties, along with seven townships in northwest Wapello County and one township in Marion County, including the city of Pella.
My committee assignments for the next two years include Agriculture, Appropriations and Veterans Affairs. In addition, I will serve as the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, and also as the Ranking Member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Subcommittee.
Let me make a few brief comments about each of the committees I work on. One of my committee assignments is the Appropriations Committee. A primary responsibility of state government is approving an annual budget. Unlike Washington, we must pass a balanced budget every year, and we will again this year. The battle will again be focused on how much money the state spends, and how we spend it. I will respect the taxpayer on any votes I take while adequately funding the essential functions of government.
Probably my most important committee is the Natural Resources and Environment committee, where I serve as the ranking member. Our committee oversees the conservation efforts of the state along with the hunting and fishing legislation. I am deeply concerned by the recent actions by the Des Moines Water Works threatening to sue three counties in northwest Iowa for excessive levels of nitrates. Itís unfortunate that some choose to use the courts as the heavy hand to achieve their desired outcomes, while ignoring the hard work and good faith efforts of legislators, the executive branch and thousands of Iowa farmers that are effectively improving water quality in Iowa. I will keep a close eye on developments going forward.
Another favorite committee for me is the Veterans Affairs committee. At our first meeting this week we reviewed the very positive results of the 2014 Home Base Iowa initiative. This program is already getting very positive results, and will continue to provide opportunities to veterans and bringing great new workers to our state.
A new committee assignment for me this year is the Agriculture committee. My passion has always been production agriculture and ag business. I believe my lifelong involvement with agriculture provides a good working knowledge of issues related to agriculture.
One of my personal goals this year is continue work on reducing the number of abortions in Iowa. Also, I am introducing legislation to modify the impact that Rural Improvement Zones have on county government and our schools. This is an issue that is somewhat obscure, but is very important my constituents in Appanoose County and other low population counties.
I am always interested in hearing from my constituents. I can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 641-295-6551. If you visit the Capitol, and are interested in speaking with me, please let me know you are here.
Senator Ken Rozenboom
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