Letters to the Editor

Smart meter bill out of subcommittee


Rep. Jeff Shipley presents the “Iowans Access to Alternative Healthcare Act” to Speaker Linda Upmeyer for her review.
PHOTO SUBMITTED Rep. Jeff Shipley presents the “Iowans Access to Alternative Healthcare Act” to Speaker Linda Upmeyer for her review.

I’m delighted to share that our ‘Smart Meter Opt-out/Analog Meter’ bill will be reported out of subcommittee and will move on to the full Local Government committee in the Iowa House.

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer recognized the importance of getting this issue right and the expertise on the subject that exists in Fairfield, so she personally made sure that I would chair the subcommittee for the bill. Normally our bill would be referred to the Commerce committee, of which I am not a member. So the Speaker saw fit to assign it to Local Government to make sure the smart meter issue gets a full and robust hearing.

This felt like a gigantic political gift but I’m not one to second guess the judgment of leadership on the issues that are so important to the state of Iowa.

Please stay tuned on this issue, because we’re working on selecting a day for Analog Meter advocates to speak for themselves at the capitol.

The other big news this week is we secured 3 house co-sponsors, (with a bunch more in the works!) on our ‘Iowans Access to Alternative and Complementary Healthcare Act’

I’m proud to have my name on this legislation which would protect and preserve the right of patients and alternative healthcare practitioners to promote healing.

I was also finally able to connect in person with Sen. Brad Zaun.

We’ve been on the same side of big vision ideas for a long time and this legislative session is no different.

He’s got an ambitious agenda in the Senate and the political power to get it done. But he’s one of those guys that’s everywhere at once and today was the first day we ever had a chance to really catch up. It was a productive meeting.

He agreed to introduce our smart meter and ‘Iowans Access to Alternative Healthcare’ bills in the Iowa Senate. I still have progress to make in really making the most convincing case for our legislation. But I’m glad Senator Zaun made it an easy sell. This is where years of trust as political currency gets spent.

More importantly, we had a very serious and in depth talk about our education system and why proficiency has been on the decline since 1978. Education will be a subject for a future newsletter.

I hope I can devote a newsletter to really flesh out my thinking and a long form discussion on all the major political issues throughout my two year term. Our problems are complex and deserve in depth attention.

I hope you’ll stay tuned to my writing, I also hope to share with you some of the good books I’m reading.

I’m trying to be more active on Facebook, and also Twitter, where I’m trying to make a habit of #dailygratitude.

Long memories

Things are moving fast in Des Moines, there’s a lot to stay on top of. But my desk in the legislature is presently clean and organized and I have some really encouraging news to report.

Budget discussions are in full swing and I’ve been having frequent meetings with legislators of both parties in both chambers talking about all the hot button issues affecting Iowans.

But first I want to talk about long memories.

We’re all here on this planet together. What we say and do matters, and will be remembered.

I’m blown away by how many people working the capitol I’ve known from the past.

Thursday over lunch I took an invitation from Caitlin, the Judiciary Lobbyist, to visit the Fifth Judicial District Drug Court Graduation. It was heartwarming hearing the graduation speeches and stories of overcoming personal demons. Hats off to the judges and supporting staff who are pioneering this important program.

But what was really fun was connecting with Caitlin. We first met at the University of Iowa in 2009 through involvement with the Student Government. Back then we were members of opposing parties, and I’m pretty sure that hasn’t changed. She’s really good at her job. The conversation was honest and genuine, and about impactful subjects like addiction and abuse.

As the role of the judiciary remains a hot, divisive, topic at the capitol, this is a relationship I value and hope to build. Especially because it’s a member of the opposing party where we can clearly use our imagination together to find common ground on broad areas of policy.

Once it was revealed that I was the only legislator to take her up on her invitation, she made a comment that stuck out, “I remember that about you from ten years ago, you were always curious.”

There’s a lot of people at the capitol like this, where we’ve been acquainted at one point in time or another, and they have memories of me.

One past college Republican from UI remembers our debates on the Iraq War, and now we pray together.

Another past college Republican from UI, probably remembers the time I made a disrespectful idiot out of myself at one of her events, and now I’m relying on her to help me with my most delicate legislative project.

A fellow legislator who I really admire and want to emulate (I imagine) remembers me as provocative punk who’s up to no good. Now I’m learning everything I can from him and following his lead in our committees.

I’ve done a lot over the years to embarrass myself so I’m really thankful when those memories don’t come up.

But people remember, and chickens come home to roost.

Maybe I’m sharing my mistakes as a lesson and warning to the young people who want to pursue political careers.

Or maybe I’m sharing this as proof that those with past disagreements can overcome their differences for the greater good. Time heals all as the saying goes...

Either way it’s been a recurring motif at the capitol so I thought those that elected me would be interested in reading this personal side of things.

- Jeff Shipley (R-Fairfield) represents District 82 in the Iowa House of Representatives. The district includes Davis and Van Buren counties, and the western two-thirds of Jefferson County. Shipley can be reached at jeff.shipley@legis.iowa.gov.