Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 ISEA Legislative Conference Held in Des Moines Over the Weekend

In preparation for the 2008 Iowa General Assembly convening, Team ISEA held its annual Legislative Kickoff on January 11-12 at the Quality Inn & Suites Event Center.

Over 200 members and staff gathered to hear from Team ISEA lobbyists, NEA staff and state Legislative leaders about the issues we can expect the Iowa General Assembly to take action on this session.

The presidents of the Large 8 Locals met prior to the start of the conference over dinner; Unit Presidents gathered for an early morning breakfast on Saturday; Higher Ed held a caucus over their Saturday breakfast; and AEA members met both Friday evening and again Saturday morning--all taking advantage of the opportunity to visit about issues important to their constituency.

ISEA Chief Lobbyist, Brad Hudson, shares with Team ISEA members gathered the priorities for the upcoming session.

Team ISEA Executive Director, Jan Reinicke, shared background information on what is now Iowa's voluntary core curriculum and set the stage for "Table Talk" discussion on voluntary vs. mandatory standards. Members were given the opportunity to begin the discussion with colleagues from across the state.

The conference opened on Saturday morning with participants hearing from Team NEA policy person, Joel Packer. Joel Packer has been the lead staff person for Team NEA in the reauthorization effort for the No Child Left Behind law.

The first of two legislative panels included Representative Mike May of Spirit Lake (on the left), Ranking Member on the House Education Committee; and Representative Roger Wendt of Sioux City (in the center), Chair of the House Education Committee. Both Rep. Wendt and Rep. May are retired educators.

Our second set of panelist are legislative leaders (having invited both House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders). State Senator Mike Gronstal, Senate Majority Leader from Council Bluffs (on the left); and Speaker of the House Pat Murphy (on the right) from Dubuque both willingly came before Team ISEA members on their last weekend prior to the start of the session on Monday.

Throughout our Legislative Conference Team ISEA professional staff union (NSO) and ISEA Executive Board and Unit Presidents worked to raise funds for ISEA-PAC. UniServ Unit leaders donated lovely gifts for a drawing that was held Saturday right before our lunch break. The totals raised are phenomenal!

Friday evening: $2,350
Saturday morning: $ 836
Blue Light Special: $544

Total raised for ISEA-PAC: $4,717.50

Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-CD3) was able to join us on Saturday (pictured at right) and served as our auctioneer!

Lt. Governor Patty Judge (pictured on left) topped off our Legislative Conference as our keynote speaker at lunch on Saturday. Team ISEA members had the opportunity to not only thank Lt. Governor Judge (and Governor Culver) for their leadership in the 2007 banner legislative session for Iowa's students and educators, but to hear a few of their priorities for the 2008 session.

It was another terrific gathering of our Team ISEA family. Members headed to their home communities with a purpose--that of staying connected to state policy makers and to have their voices heard on issues that impact students, educators and our profession!

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