Readers Respond

Monday, March 20, 2006

Letters to the Pilot

Best choir in the land

To the Editor:

I hope that all 139 students that sang in Storm Lake High School's Annual Spring Concert last Monday night, get to read this short letter.

You were simply magnificent and Mr. Tollefson was pretty good, too! Have the adventure and time of your lives in Orlando next week. I hope you impress Disney like you impressed me.

What a year you've had and don't you ever forget it. Thanks for your talent, dedication, and sacrifices.

- Randy Harrington, Storm Lake

Save the Alaskan Refuge

To the Editor:

Dana, it didn't take long. Despite the stunning defeat we dealt them just a few months ago, proponents of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are at it again.

Because when they can't win the game they just change the rules, now they've inserted language in the Senate budget bill to hand over this precious natural treasure to big oil companies - even though they know full well that it won't make a dime's worth of difference in making America more energy independent.

Tell your Senators to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and take real action toward achieving energy independence.

As we did last year, Senator Maria Cantwell and I are offering an amendment on the Senate floor to strike the proposal to drill in the Arctic Refuge.

But, I'll bet that, like me, you're sick and tired of spending so much time defeating bad ideas in Washington when there are so many good ideas for America that get ignored in this city. Tell them that you demand the Senate takes real action on an energy plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, bring the skyrocketing costs of energy down, and benefit the environment.

Tell your Senators to save the crown jewel of America's National Wildlife Refuge System.

There are so many real and powerful things the Bush administration and the Republican Congress could do if they were serious about energy and the environment. But, they haven't lifted a finger on any of them.

They're so beholden to the big oil and gas companies that turning over America's most precious natural resources on a fool's errand search for the last drop of oil is all they can think about...

Demand real action on energy independence - and demand it now. And when they try to tell you we have no choice but to drill in the Arctic, tell them you have a better plan.

- John Kerry, former presidential candidate

Raise minimum wages in Iowa

To the Editor:

Senator Larry McKibben should be helping the Senate reach consensus on bringing good jobs and good wages to Iowa. Instead, Senator McKibben is spending much of his time playing political games.

Senator McKibben is especially on my mind because last week the Senate failed to take the easiest, most obvious step forward towards higher wages: raising the minimum wage. This issue is supported by 85% of Iowans. That's stronger public support than on any other issue facing the Legislature. Every Senate Democrat and several Senate Republicans want to increase Iowa's minimum wage by a dollar.

I had expected Senator McKibben to be on the side of working families. After all, during his last election, Senator McKibben promised the Iowa Catholic Conference that he would support a minimum wage increase. Last month, I put the same question to Senator McKibben during Senate debate. He said yes.

When his vote would have made the difference, Senator McKibben broke his promise to his constituents.

I believe the Legislature will never improve until Senator McKibben and others like him learn to take a break from constant, partisan campaigning. Every legislator has to learn to change gears after the election and put the needs of Iowans first when it comes to voting in the Iowa Senate.

We must set higher goals for our state. We don't need more low-wage jobs. We can't afford more jobs that leave families dependent on state aid to get by.

I'm still working to pass an increase in the minimum wage. And I guess I'm still hoping Senator McKibben will reconsider, keep his word, and help increase the minimum wage. We need a Legislature that will be bold and we work together to make Iowa a better place to live, work and raise a family.

- State Senator Tom Courtney, Des Moines

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