Monday, January 29, 2007

Senator Hillary Clinton Enters the Race for President With a Weekend Visit to Iowa

On Saturday, January 27th labor leaders from Iowa gathered for a "closed to the public" breakfast at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in a chance to meet with United States Senator Hillary Clinton (NY) as she opened her campaign for President of the United States. There were approximately 50 leaders from organized labor that heard from Senator Clinton that she is "in it to win it".

As Senator Clinton entered the room, she shook hands and greeted each guest individually. When she arrived at our side of the table I asked her to autograph my copy of Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, author and illustrator. (I've had a number of presidential candidates sign my book!). Pictured with me is ISEA lobbyist Jon Studer as Senator Clinton inscribes her message in the book. As Senator Clinton wrote a message, I did have the opportunity to ask for her help as a United States Senator in the reauthorization of the ESEA/NCLB act. I spoke of the need for flexibility in testing (a one-sized-fits-all test shouldn't be the only measure we use to check for understanding); that we need to look at a growth model, where students are followed from year to year--then measure their growth; as well as funding. I asked her as candidate for president to project the voices of educators and their stories to a national level as we work for meaningful changes to the law. Senator Clinton was very receptive and does recognize that changes are needed as Congress moves towards reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB.

Following her conversation with Iowa's labor leaders, Senator Clinton posed for a photo with a member of Team ISEA, Mary Studer. Mary is a 5th grade teacher at Brubaker Elementary in Des Moines (spouse of Team ISEA lobbyist, Jon Studer) and a member of the Des Moines Education Associaton. Thanks Mary for the great work you do every day for the students at Brubaker Elementary!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Making Every Place a Great Place to Grow Up: 100 Communities Lead the Way!

The 100 Best Communities for Young People celebrates outstanding, innovative efforts across the country that improve the well-being of our young people.

It is well-deserved recognition of the hard work by communities, Alliance partners and individuals working together to keep the Five Promises to our children:

  • caring adults

  • safe places

  • a healthy start

  • effective education

  • opportunities to help others

Even more, the local efforts and ideas honored among the 100 Best help set a vision of what ALL communities can — and should — be for young people. The State of Iowa is proud to announce that four Iowa communities-Dubuque, Lamoni, Mason City, and Pottawattamie County-have been honored among the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Children and Youth.

Dubuque, IA

Dubuque is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part because of the work of the Dubuque Mentoring Partnership (DMP), a collaborative effort including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Dubuque Community Schools, Holy Family Catholic Schools, St. Marks, Dubuque County Extension AmeriCorps, Court Appointed Special Advocate, RSVP-Finley Hospital, Helping Services of NE Iowa, Foster Grandparents, Dubuque Community Y and Mississippi Valley Promise. Thanks to the DMP, mentors have more than tripled since 2005 and the number of kids waiting for a mentor has been cut in half.

Lamoni, IA

Lamoni is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because of the work of the Lamoni Area SAFE Community Coalition. The Coalition is a positive prevention program designed to build developmental assets in all youth. One facet of the program is the work of a Coalition project director who works out of an office in the school district, allowing for daily contact with all youth, teachers, and other professionals to meet the needs of each individual student. For its efforts, Lamoni received the 2005 Harold E. Hughes Exceptional Rural Community Award from the National Rural Institute.

Mason City, IA

Mason City is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because of the work of the Mason City Youth Task Force, where youth have collaborated with the local Head Start Program and two preschools through the "Reading Buddies" program. The effort involves high school youth mentoring and reading to preschoolers once a week during the school year. The program encourages both sets of students to read for pleasure and adds a boost to the preschool curriculum, which is aimed at helping children to be school ready.

Pottawattamie County, IA

Pottawattamie County is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because Iowa State University Extension, AEA 13, and Promise Partners have formed a strong collaborative partnership to promote positive youth development across the county. This collaboration holds joint planning sessions, strategically plans youth initiatives in each community in the county, shares training opportunities, staff, resources, and braids funding streams to support the community youth plan. These partnerships have greatly expanded the opportunities and supports for youth in Pottawattamie County, particularly in the small rural communities in the eastern parts of the county.

Increase in Minimum Wage First Action of Governor Culver

Governor Culver signed HF 1 on Thursday, January 25th, his first bill signing as Governor in a formal ceremony in the state Captitol rotunda. Governor Culver said that the bill “is a real improvement in the quality of life for many Iowans.” He said that the bill will help 260,000 Iowans and told workers at the bill signing that “for a decade you have waited patiently for a raise and today you will get one.” As a candidate running for Governor, Chet Culver campaigned on raising the state's minimum wage. Promises made, promises kept!

There was bipartisian support in passing this legislation with 119 of the combined 150 General Assembly membership voting in favor of its passage. Pictured here applauding Governor Culver's actions are members of the majority party of both the Iowa House and state Senate.
I got to be a part of this group (just off to the left & not in the photo)along with other labor leaders. Passage of this legislation and signing it into law was a great boost to the families who's students we work with every day. January 25th is also Governor Culver's birthday in which state legislators and friends sang "Happy Birthday" and wished him a happy 41st!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More from Team NEA on the 10th Anniversary of Read Across America

2007 Marks the 10th Anniversary of Read Across America

Ten years ago, the National Education Association created NEA’s Read Across America Day to celebrate the joy and importance of reading on March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Today, more than 45 million kids and adults are building a nation of readers year-round. Looking for the latest in ideas, materials, and partners for your reading events? Go to the Read Across Web site to find out 10 ways to celebrate the 10th anniversary, including how you can obtain the 10th Anniversary Resource Kit, both in print and online. The online version has even more to offer, including downloadable posters, bookmarks, logos, certificates, event tips, and event press releases to help grab the media’s attention.

10th Anniversary Red Carpet Event

This year, to celebrate Read Across America’s 10th anniversary, NEA is hosting a very special red carpet charity reading event at the New York Public Library on Friday, March 2—Read Across America Day—with a host of celebrities and more than 500 public school children.

10th Anniversary Posters Available

"Read Across America: Celebrating 10 Years of Building a Nation of Readers” special anniversary posters like the one above are included in this year’s resource kit. You can obtain additional copies of the anniversary poster, in packages of 10 posters, one package per person, while supplies last, by e-mailing your complete contact information, including mailing address, to:

Hats and More from the Read Across America Store

Looking for a Cat in the Hat stovepipe hat? The NEA Professional Library is now the official "store” for Read Across America merchandise. To order Cat in the Hat hats, t-shirts, and more, go to the Professional Library Web site at

Take the "Pledge to Participate”

Don’t forget to let us know what you’re doing by filling out a pledge form on the Read Across Web site. We want to hear about it. Your plans, large and small, will be posted on the Read Across America pledge pages.

Vote for Your Favorite Book for Kids and TeensRead Across America is updating its Educators’ Favorite Book list. Go to the Read Across America Web site and vote for your favorite teen’s book and children’s book. We’ll release the top 100 favorites just in time for Read Across America Day.

Tips for Teen Reading; Multicultural Resources

Looking for ways to get teens turned on to reading? Check out the "Resources” section of the Web site at There you’ll find links and leads provided by NEA members on how to organize reading activities for teens and others who may be older than the "Cat in the Hat” crowd. If you’re looking for books in other languages or multicultural activities, the online resources page also offers a list of publishers and their contact information and Web links.

Looking for Reader Volunteers?

Don’t forget NEA Retired members, higher ed members, and student members at neighboring colleges and universities. You’ll also find volunteer readers through NEA partners like the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and Pi Beta Phi. Visit the partners page on the Read Across America Web site.

Give the Gift of Reading

NEA’s Books Across America was created to help school libraries in need, beginning with Gulf Coast libraries devastated by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. With school libraries around the nation struggling, NEA’s Books Across America will continue the work it started. Go to to donate money or set up book donations through BAA partners.
RAA News You Can Use

The Cat in the Hat Turns 50; Seuss Launches Project 236 236 Words. 50 States. 1 Cause. Did you know that Dr. Seuss used only 236 different words to write "The Cat in the Hat"? In celebration of the Cat’s 50th birthday, Random House Children’s Books and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have launched "Project 236." Since it’s the 50th birthday of the Cat in the Hat, readers nationwide will all read the popular children’s book at 2:36 p.m. (ET). Do you know why author Ted Geisel chose the 236 words he used to write Cat in the Hat? The answer to this question and lots more can be found on the Seussville Web site at

Read Across America Goes to the Superbowl

NEA’s Read Across America heads to Miami this year, thanks to Read Across America partner, The NFL Players Association. NFL players will be joined by NEA President Reg Weaver and the Cat in the Hat as they visit schools and read during Superbowl week.

Youth Leaders for Literacy Grant Winners Announced

NEA and Youth Service America have announced the 20 winners of the Youth Leaders for Literacy Grants. More than 350 youth groups and individuals sent in applications from around the country. Read about the winners and their projects on The youth-led projects begin on March 2, Read Across America Day, and culminate on National and Global Youth Service Day, April 21–23.

Celebrate Beverly Cleary's Birthday with D.E.A.R.

In honor of beloved author Beverly Cleary's 90th birthday on April 12, 2006, NEA is joining the National PTA, Reading Rockets and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) to ask the nation to Drop Everything and Read. Posters, flyers and reading materials will soon be available by mail and online at

Target Kicks Off Read Across America Week

Stop by your local Target February 28 and start your Read Across America week with Target volunteer readers. Read Across America is the only in-store event Target hosts. Just follow the Cat in the Hat signs to the Read-In area and enjoy the read-in.

Read Across America Exhibits at NEA Regional Leadership Conferences and ALA Mid-Winter Meeting

NEA’s Read Across America unveils its new exhibit at the NEA Regional Leadership Conferences and the ALA Mid-Winter Conference in Seattle, Wash. The booth will showcase Read Across America materials and programs. Makes a Special Offer

In celebration of NEA’s Read Across America, will donate 3 percent of every book sold from February 12 to March 10 to NEA’s Books Across America fund. NEA members using the NEA Member Benefits/Barnes and Noble bookstore will receive discounts on their purchases. To order your books, go to

Build-a-Bear Workshop Joins the National Read Aloud

Build-a-Bear Workshop stores unveil their new Cat in the Hat as they join the Project 236 read aloud and celebrate NEA’s Read Across America Day. Their mobile workshop will visit a school in New Mexico, and stores around the country will hold reading parties. For more information, go to

Scholastic Family Book Club Gets Parents Involved

The Scholastic Family Book Club is helping Read Across America get the reading message to parents. Scholastic is sending out Read Across America parent reading tips and encouraging its parents to get involved with a special reading certificate for Read Across America Day. Go to

Looking Ahead

African-American Read-InJoin over a million readers in the 18th National African American Read-In on Sunday, February 4, and Monday, February 5, 2007. Sponsored by the Black Caucus of NCTE and NCTE. The program has also been endorsed by the International Reading Association. For more information on the Read-In, go to

"We know that children who read, and are read to, are more successful in school and are able to achieve more in life. NEA’s Read Across America is a party with a purpose—to show young people that reading not only is the gateway to success, but that it’s fun as well."
February is Black History MonthFor the African-American booklist, go to 4-5 — African American Read-In ChainFor more information, go to 18 — Chinese New YearFor books and information, go to 19-23—Scholastic Journalism WeekFor more information, go to 20: —President’s DayFor resources, go to the Library of Congress,

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Team ISEA Leaders Participate in NEA Women's Leadership Training

Beginning Wednesday evening, January 18th, NEA provided training for teams of women association leaders from the nine Midwestern states prior to our Regional Leadership Conference. Team ISEA had four great leaders making up our team. Pictured here (from left to right) are Dolores Silva, a High School Spanish teacher from Muscatine; Sara Yarbrough, an elementary teacher at Gibson Elementary in Cedar Rapids; Connie Gronstal, Birth to Three Specialist at Area Education Agency 13 from Council Bluffs; and Stacey Ross, a High School Government teacher in Fairfield. Their training was completed Friday afternoon and each member from our team then stayed the remainder of the weekend to participate in the Midwest Regional Leadership Conference.

Our team of women leaders were so enthusiastic when speaking of this great training opportunity, they were just bubbling over with enthusisam! What a great investment from Team NEA! Thanks go out too to our Team ISEA Women Leaders!

A Night Out for Team ISEA in the Windy City

As has been our ISEA tradition, Team ISEA hosted the association leaders attending the Midwest Regional Leadership Conference to dinner on Saturday evening. Our evening took us to Pazzo's at 100 S. Wacker Drive in the financial district of Chicago. Pazzo's does 90% of their buisness at noon and closes each day (only open Monday through Friday) by 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. When we made the call to see if we could make arrangements for a meal, they opened just for us! Team ISEA members were able to have plenty of space to move about and visit from table to table. Here are photos that include all those that dined with us on Saturday evening.

A great evening was had by one and all. Three cheers to Team ISEA!

Saturday at the 2007 Midwest Regional Leadership Conference

On Saturday, January 20th our day began with opportunities to attend caucus meetings, followed by our state delegation meeting. Our morning general session brought to us keynote speaker, Dr. Adolph Brown, III, Clinical Psychologist from the Child and Family Wellness Center. Dr. Brown was a dynamic speaker that gave us all much to think about. He truly was magnificent!

There were chances for dozens of choices for break-out sessions before and after lunch on Saturday for our leaders to select from. Following lunch on Saturday, Team NEA members heard from our leader, NEA President Reg Weaver. President Reg was right at home, back in his home-state of Illinois and the audience greeted him with a rousing ovation! Following President Weaver's remarks, Team ISEA leaders from the Western Dubuque EA gathered to pose for a photo with President Reg Weaver. Prior to the photo, President Weaver greeted each Western Dubuque EA leader with one of his famous "bear hugs".

2007 NEA Midwest Regional Leadership Conference Great Public Schools for Every Child--A Basic Right

On Friday, January 19th, a midwestern wintry afternoon in the great city of Chicago, Illinois, some 868 member-leaders of the National Education Association gathered for the annual Midwest Regional Leadership Conference. Of those leaders gathered, 110 were members of the Iowa State Education Association, Team ISEA.

Friday afternoon started with Early Bird sessions in which I was a co-presenter with NEA staffer, Bill Raabe (pictured here with me at the right). Our session was entitled, "Professional Pay for School Employees: Employees Deserve it and Districts Need It!" My portion of the presentation centered around Team ISEA's salary campaign, "We're Worth It!" It was a treat to work with Bill Raabe--who is Director, NEA Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy. We had nearly 90 participants in our session!

State delegation meetings ocurred twice during the conference. One focus of our caucus was to solicit contributions from Team ISEA members for the "NEA Fund for Children and Public Education". Our efforts were headed up by members of our leadership team, pictured here on the left. Seated (from left to right) are Chris Bern, ISEA Vice President; Gayle Jeffers, NEA Director; Jim Young, NEA Director; and Paula Logan, ISEA Treasurer. Suggested contributions were $35.00 per participant. Iowa was one of two of the nine Midwest states to have 100% of our group contribute! In addition, we were extra proud of the grand total collected from Team ISEA, $ 4,923.23! We averaged $44.36 per participant! You are most generous, Team ISEA! Contributions at the 2006 MW Regional Conference were $24,789. In 2007 (with several hundred more participants) NEA Fund contributions were $41,228.43. Nice work, Team NEA!

At one of our caucus meetings, ISEA Executive Director, Jan Reinicke (pictured at right), shared with Team ISEA members the priorities delegates to the 2006 NEA Representative Assembly approved as Congress moves towards the reauthorization of the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2007.

The first evening was topped off with a great meal and a powerful message from our keynote speaker and Team NEA Vice President Dennis Van Roekel. Vice President Van Roekel is orginally from Manson, Iowa and his first teaching position was in Muscatine, IA. Pictured here (from left to right) Randy Naber (a former student of Vice President Van Roekel's); Kathy Haltmeyer; Vice President Dennis Van Roekel.

Enjoying the dessert reception following Vice President Van Roekel's speech are Donna Phipps, Middle School Art teacher from Burlington; Cookie Clapper, Intermediate Behavior Disorder teacher from Council Bluffs; Mary Canty-Merrill, NEA Midwest Regional staff (and liaison to Iowa); ISEA Vice President Chris Bern, a High School Math teacher in Knoxville; and Kathy Stangeland, a 2nd grade teacher from Dubuque.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Team ISEA members Visit Terrace Hill

On Saturday afternoon following the Inaugural Ball, Team ISEA members took advantage of the Open House at Iowa's Governor's Mansion, Terrace Hill. Pictured here on the left is the home provided the Governor of Iowa and their family.

The Carriage House pictured here on the right is just west of the Governor's mansion on the grounds of Terrace Hill. Team ISEA members explore the grounds on the snowy January afternoon.

Once inside the Governor's mansion, Team ISEA members asked our newly installed Lt. Governor Patty Judge to pose with them for a photo. Pictured here (from left to right) are Carol Hammill, Maquoketa EA; Cindy Fitzgerald, Boyden-Hull EA; Lt. Governor Judge; and Roberta Rosheim, Maquoketa EA.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Happy 10th Anniversary NEA’s Read Across America!

Happy 10th Anniversary NEA’s Read Across America!
Ten years ago, NEA and its members started a reading revolution. From a one-day celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2nd, "Read Across America Day," to a year-round literacy campaign reaching nearly every home, school, and community, NEA's Read Across America is building a nation of readers. Find out 10 ways you can get involved in the 10th anniversary.

Dreaming of Reading
Dreamgirls star Anika Noni Rose is joining the cast of millions reading on March 2, NEA's Read Across America Day. Anika's favorite reading heroes: her father and her grandmother, a former special education teacher in Hartford, Connecticut. Her message to kids? "I want them to know that reading is fun. It's not just homeWORK but can be home FUN. It doesn't matter how fast or slow your do it, or how big or small the book is. It allows you to take yourself to places you've never been or even dreamed of."

10th Anniversary Resource Kit
Check out the 10th Anniversary resource kit beginning in January. You'll find new tips for your events and programs, posters, certificates, and bookmarks, plus sample press releases, invitation letters, and more.

Take the Pledge
To make NEA's Read Across America Day the best celebration ever, dream up your biggest, most creative plans to get your schools and communities involved, then tell us about it through our pledge pages. We'll be highlighting your reading projects throughout the year.

Vote for Your Favorite Books
We're creating two new "Educators' 100 Favorite Books" lists for children and teens. Share your favorites by completing our poll. The deadline for voting is February 10, 2007.

Get Connected
NEA's Read Across America e-newsletter will provide the latest news in reading from Read Across America and its partner organizations. You'll also find links to grant information, classroom and parent materials, and more. To join, NEA members should send a blank e-mail to

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Magical Night for Team ISEA Members at the Inaugural Ball

The finishing touch of a full day of the formalities of swearing in Iowa's 40th Governor was the evening at the Inaugural Ball. As an Honorary Colonel, I was a part of the "Grand March". We each had our name announced when we walked across the stage. Here I am waiting my turn!

We all had fun fussing for weeks as to what we would wear to the Inaugural Ball. Here I am pictured with my pals from back home, Kim Kazmierczak (on left) my school principal at Carter Lake Elementary and Cookie Clapper (on the right) our Intermediate Behavior Disorder teacher at Carter Lake Elementary.

Joining us at our table are Team ISEA leaders from Dubuque; Tammy Duehr (on the left), Dubuque EA president and 1st grade teacher and Kathy Stangland (on the right), Dubuque EA Grievance Chair and 2nd grade teacher.

Administrative Lobbyist Brad Hudson and his wife Becky connected with Team ISEA members during the evening's activities.

Joining us at our table were Team ISEA Vice President Chris Bern (on the left), High School Math teacher in Knoxville; NEA Director Jim Young, 4th grade teacher at Hansen Elementary in Cedar Falls; and Team ISEA Communications Director Lana Oppenheim (on the right).

Team ISEA leader and Nationally Board Certified teacher from Johnston, Melissa Keeney is pictured here with her finance Michael Johnson.

Friends of Education in the Iowa House that I ran into at the Inaugural Ball are Rep. Pam Jochum, Dubuque (on the left); Rep. Cindy Winckler, Davenport (center); and Rep. Mary Mascher, Iowa City (on the right).

Team ISEA leaders from eastern Iowa catch up with Governor Culver. Pictured with Gov. Culver are (from left to right) Fred Stark, retired teacher from Washington; David Rosheim (spouse of Roberta); Kathy Williams, Middle School teacher from Davenport and Chair of ISEA's Multicultural Commitee; and Roberta Rosheim, elementary teacher at Briggs Elementary in Maquoketa.

Team ISEA members connecting with EA leader Roberta Rosheim (on left) are Karen Person (2nd from left), Des Moines EA member and teacher; and Al and Pat Bode, ISEA members from Charles City.

Governor Culver poses for a photo with Team ISEA leaders Cindy Fitzgerald (on left), 2nd grade teacher from Boyden-Hull and Carol Hammill (on right) Middle School teacher from Maquoketa.

And as the day long of fun and festivities comes to a close, Team ISEA leaders put on their winter coats to head out into the frigid Iowa winter. Pictured here (starting on the left) are Roberta Rosheim, Maquoketa; Tom Wolfe, retired ISEA member from Davenport and Nancy Porter, Title I Reading Teacher at Hills Elementary in Iowa City and ISEA Executive Board member representing East Central UniServ Unit.

Honorary Colonels Recognition Ceremony With Governor Chester J. Culver And Lt. Governor Patty Judge

An Honorary Colonels Recognition Ceremony With Governor Chester J. Culver And Lt. Governor Patty Judge was held on Friday, January 12th, 2007 in the Wallace Auditorium in Des Moines, IA. I, representing Team ISEA, was one of sixty to be commissioned at this ceremony. What follows is the history of the Iowa Honorary Colonels:

From Iowa’s inception as a territory in 1838 to today, being commissioned an Iowa “Honorary Colonel of the Militia” is fitting appreciation to those who diligently and steadfastly serve the state of Iowa.

In the military, the rank of Colonel is the highest field rank below General Officer grades. It is one of the oldest in existence, dating as far back in time as the Roman Empire. The rank of “Honorary Colonel” recognizes individuals who selflessly offer their talents for the enrichment and greater good of Iowa and Iowans. While the commission of Honorary Colonel is strictly ceremonial, it does convey a heritage of duty, commitment, and service.

Honorary Colonels are part of an institution with a proud history of dedication and service to this great nation.

It really was an extra special event and just one of the many great opportunities I've had representing you as president of ISEA. As a part of the Inaugural activities the Honorary Colonels were a part of the "Grand March" at the Swearing In Ceremony and again at the Inaugural Ball.

A New Governor for One Iowa

Friday, January 12, 2007 was Inauguration Day for Iowa's 40th Governor, Chester J. Culver. I had two friends drive in from Council Bluffs on Thursday evening to join me for the celebration activities. We arrived at the ISEA office before 7:30 a.m. (and here I'm pictured at my desk--ready to check emails!) so we would be on time for the first of the day's activities.

I was one of sixty Iowan's to be named "Honorary Colonel" (I would represent Team ISEA) and we had two responsibilities for Inauguration Day. The first was to be a part of the "Grand March" at the swearing in ceremony at Wells Fargo Arena. Here I'm pictured (at left) with former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell as we awaited our duties for the Grand March. Bonnie Campbell was co-chair of Chet Culver's campaign for Governor.

Pictured at right is Iowa's first family as they entered the Wells Fargo Arena for the swearing in of Iowa's 40th Governor. With Governor Culver are his wife, Mari, and their two children Clare and John, Jr.

One of highlights of the ceremony for me was the Poetry Reading by students from Waverly, Iowa. The students are pictured here at the left.

Here the first family of Iowa enjoys the festivities of Inauguration Day!

Following the swearing in ceremony at Wells Fargo Arena (right across the street from the ISEA Headquarters building) we walked through the skywalk to HyVee Hall where we participated in "A Taste of Iowa". The following food vendors provided food products (for free!):

Blue Bunny Ice Cream; Delaware County Meats; Great Harvest Bread Co.; Hy-Vee Hall; Iowa Beef Council; Iowa Bison Association; Iowa Egg Council; Iowa Goat Meat Association; Iowa Pork Producers; Iowa Sheep Industry; Iowa Turkey Federation; Java Joe's; Kramer's Specialty Foods; Maid-Rite; Mars Cafe; Niman Ranch; and Windy Hill Orchard.

As we headed toward Hy-Vee Hall we ran into long-time friend and state Representative from Keokuk, Rep. Phil Wise. Pictured with Phil and myself are my Council Bluffs friends, Kim Kazmierczak (on the far right)--my school principal at Carter Lake Elementary and Cookie Clapper (2nd from right) long-time friend and Behavior Disorder teacher at Carter Lake Elementary. Rep. Wise is a retired Social Studies teacher. It is always great to reconnect with my pals from my days in the state legislature!