By State Representative Dawn Pettengill
January 12, 2018
What a great start to the 87th General Assembly, 2nd session! For the first time since I’ve been there, we knocked out all of the Joint Convention addresses in the first week. We heard from Governor Reynolds on the Condition of the State, Chief Justice Cady on the Condition of the Judiciary and Major General Orr on the Condition of the Iowa Guard. The Condition addresses are where they tell us what’s happened in the last year, the good things and the challenges. They also talked about their upcoming initiatives and legislative priorities. It’s a good way for us to have a summary of what’s happened and what to look forward to for the year.
Of course it was Governor Reynolds first Condition of the State address and she knocked it out of the park. Governor Reynolds told us how our state is in a good place right now. We were named 3rd best managed state in America and the number one state for middle class families. We have the highest graduation rates in the nation and only a 2.9% unemployment rate. Last year was the most pro-jobs session in decades and we have over 50,000 good paying jobs open on our workforce development website. The jobs are there, we just need to get people the skills to take them. Over a six year period, we are fourth in the nation for increases to public education. We’ve had many successes for Iowans, but we have a lot more opportunities on the horizon. I especially love her humble attitude and I’m very optimistic we can all work together to make good things happen for you. If you’re interested in watching her Condition of the State address, you can do so here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcxyMSyVqNs&feature=player_embedded
We also got to the business of working on bills. All of our committees met and became duly organized. I’m hounding the poor bill drafters on bills I’ve asked to be drafted, things are being assigned and bills that didn’t get finished last year are being pulled out of drawers. Pretty exciting!
Over the last six years I’ve been working on retirement systems. I am the chairman of the committee that deals with our pensions and the committee meets every other year in the fall. It is our job to scrutinize the plans to make sure they are in good shape for our employee’s retirement security and provide oversight. Each year for our six different member groups and plans, I read every actuarial assumption, every actuary report, review the investment strategies and verify they are working, reviewed the risk management strategy, the governance structures, the benefits, the plan designs, and more.
If you are a plan member, a retiree or have a family member who is receiving benefits, please know our plans are in good shape and there is no need for any changes. Not even a word or a comma. And there will BE NO CHANGES. Unfortunately it is sad to have some people who are willing to scare people about their retirement in order to gain politically. Don’t believe them. I would tell you if there was something to worry about and there is not.
I want to thank you. It’s an honor to represent you again in Des Moines. If you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at the Capitol at 515-281-3221.