Monday, January 08, 2007

Team ISEA's Annual Legislative Kickoff Meets January 5-6, 2007

Over 200 Team ISEA members and staff gathered at the Des Moines Quality Inn & Suites Event Center on January 5th and 6th to prepare for the upcoming state legislative session.

On Friday evening we heard from Team ISEA's Political Action Specialist and Administrative Lobbyist, Brad Hudson on the 2006 election overview; 2007 legislative priorities and the upcoming Iowa Presidental Caucuses. Team ISEA Research Analyst and Lobbyist, Jon Studer made a presentation on "What Iowans Think about Teachers and Pay for Performance" and "How to Make Your Message Matter".

As our Friday evening was nearing the close, Brad Hudson with the help of our professional staff... brought in bottles of champagne for each "toast" the great victories that Team ISEA was a part of in "Election 2006". Brad had made the promise at our Legislative Kickoff 2006 that if we had a new majority party and the Governor's office in 2007 he would personally provide beverages for the victory toast. Thanks, Brad for the "toast" and thanks for putting together the great conference!

On Saturday morning we started with a panel of state House and Senate members on their respective Education Committees**. Pictured at right is state Representative Roger Wendt (Sioux City) Chair, House Education Committee.

Also a part of the Education Legislative Panel were (on left, raising his newly broken hand) Representative Mike May (Spirit Lake), Ranking Member of the House Education Committee; and (on right) state Senator Daryl Beall (Fort Dodge) Member of the Senate Education Committee. Team ISEA is grateful that these members of the General Assembly gave up precious time away from their families on this last weekend before the legislative session begins.

**Representative Dave Mulder was invited to participate but declined the invitation.

Following our morning break, Team ISEA heard from Legislative Leadership about issues important to their caucuses this session. Pictured at left is Speaker-elect Pat Murphy visiting with DMEA member Karen Person. In the photo below with me are (on left) House Speaker-elect Pat Murphy (Dubuque) and (on the right) Senate Majority Leader-elect Mike Gronstal (Council Bluffs) **. Topping the legislative agenda in both chambers is raising teacher's salaries to 25th in the nation. Our members present were truly giddy in anticipation of the legislative session getting underway!

**Representative Christopher Rants and Senator Mary Lundby were invited to participate but declined the invitation.

The final speaker of the day before heading homeward was to hear from Governor-elect Chet Culver. Team ISEA was jubilant with the election of "one of our own" and to hear from Governor-elect Culver on Saturday. Chet Culver, a former Government and History teacher as well as a football and basketball coach at Des Moines Hoover High School, does understand the expectations placed upon educators. It was refreshing to hear that Governor-elect Culver will continue to reach out and seek input from educators as he makes decisions that impact us in schools and in our work places.

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