Final legislative briefing set for Saturday

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


The last of a series of legislative briefings for the year will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Washington Area Performing Arts and Event Center.

Because the January legislative briefing saw more attendees than usual, Washington Chamber of Commerce director Michelle Redlinger announced the monthly briefings would be moved to the Washington Area Performing Arts and Events Center in Washington.

Redlinger said that over 80 people had attended the January meeting, which had to be moved from its traditional meeting place of the third floor courtroom in the Washington County Courthouse to the Washington Public Library. She said that with more people than normally expected, the chamber, which sponsors the briefings, decided to change the location. She also said the center has amplification equipment for the legislators.

?I think it will be a great opportunity to learn from our legislators,? Redlinger said. ?Personally, I was at the capitol a week ago attending the Travel Federation of Iowa megislative showcase and I had the chance to learn about the issues affecting tourism on the hill and how tourism is vital to our economy and bringing jobs to the state.?

Legislators will give updates on what is happening in Des Moines. Audience members will have the chance to ask questions or make comments on the issues the state Legislature is working on. Representatives Jarad Klein and David Heaton and Senators Rich Taylor and Kevin Kinney are expected to attend.

In a former interview, longtime moderator and Chamber volunteer Ed Raber said that one of the goals of the forums is to give everyone who shows up a chance to ask a question or make a comment. Because time is limited, people are asked to keep questions or comments to two minutes. Raber said there is no food or drink allowed in the auditorium. He also said the event is amplified. He said many people from government-funded institutions attend the meetings. He also said the legislators find a lot of value in hearing the concerns of the constituents.

?It is kind of a firsthand thing,? Raber said. ?Even if you aren?t someone who has a burning question, there are people who show up because they find it to be interesting discussion. Everyone there doesn?t have to feel like they should participate. People can just listen and appreciate having the opportunity to be part of the community discussion.?

For more information, contact the Chamber at 653-3272.