‘Conversation with your Congresswoman’ in Cresco
Fri, 03/29/2019 - 4:23pm admin
—Abby Finkenauer finds concerns on infrastructure, SS
Sara Stromseth-Troy TPD Staff
CRESCO - Abby Finkenauer (D-IA1) who represents Iowa’s First Congressional District, visited Cresco last week, hosting ‘Conversation with Your Congresswoman.’
An audience of approximately 25 people gathered at the Cresco Public Library Meeting Room for the event. Finkenauer began by addressing the crowd about her duties and what she hoped to glean from the ‘Conversations with Your Congresswoman’ sessions. Following her talk, Finkenauer met with constituents in small groups.
“It is my honor to get to be your representative in Washington, D.C. the last couple of months, Finkenauer said. “There is a lot of work to be done. I want to give you an update on the committees I sit on, what we are focused on and then have some one-on-one conversations with you and get to hear from you. Oftentimes, folks in D.C. do a lot of talking and not a lot of listening, so that is why I’m excited to be here.”
“The committees I ended up on are Transportation Infrastructure and Small Business. Transportation Infra- structure was incredibly important for me, because Iowa has the most structurally-deficient bridges in the entire country. We are looking at our lock and dam system, which is currently about 30 years out of date. We are seeing where there are cracks that they are just now patching instead of fixing what needs to be done and putting the investment on our river, which we desperately need for a number of reasons, but very specifically for commerce in our country and farmers. Another part of it is the desperate need for Broadband (Internet). The big issue we’re seeing is that we’ve got Brandband service in certain areas but we’re not getting that last mile. The other issue because of the ways the rules are written, we don’t necessarily know where that needs to be. That is something I’m working on with Congressman Dave Loebsack to update the rules of how we’re knowing where the signals are and making sure we are investing in the right way so we have Broadband Internet all across the state of Iowa.”
She continued, “This will help with the other committee I am on, the Small Business Committee. I am the chairwoman of Rule Development, Agriculture, Trade and Entrepreneurship Subcommittee, which are very important to the state of Iowa. When I was walking around talking to folks over the last couple of years in the First District, one of the things that just kept coming up over and over again was that we are losing people in the state of Iowa, young people are leaving and we are also struggling to bring folks back home. That is one of the things I want to make sure we make inroads on because the fact is I’m 30 (years old) now, and a couple of months after the election I was known as ‘The Other 29-Year-Old.’ I am 30 now and I will take all of the years I can get.”
“I graduated with kids at Hempstead High School (in Dubuque, Iowa) who have moved to Austin (Minnesota), Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis but they’ve left because they are trying to find better paying jobs and opportunities so they can also pay off their student loans. So, I want to figure out how can we bring folks back home and make sure they don’t leave after high school or college.
She said, “We just brought an Iowan to Washington, D.C. last week who testified in front of the entire sub-Small Business Committee about her rural business. She makes paper flowers and wedding flowers that she sells all over the world. She is a young mother who is able to do this because she has Internet access. These are the types of things we should be bringing up to try to create opportunities in our smaller towns. This is a huge focus for me and I’m excited to do this every single day, to bring Iowans to Washington, D.C. and to make sure their voices are heard.
Addressing her audience in Cresco, Finkenauer said, “It truly means the world to me to get to do this. I am excited to get to hear your stories today about what we can do. The reality is that my job is to serve you. That is why I am here. I have quite a few concerns after seeing the President’s recent budget with proposed cuts to the USDA that we absolutely need to stop. We can’t cut $26 billion out of profit sharing. We can’t cut $9 billion out of conservation programs. These are things we have to make sure we are protecting and I will do everything I can do to be able to do that. I am incredibly grateful to all of you for being here and to be willing to have conversations and tell me your stories and talk about how we can make Iowa better and our country better.”
Following her discussions with constituents, Congresswoman Finkenauer summarized some of their concerns in a follow-up conversation with the Times Plain Dealer:
“There is a lot of concern making sure we protect and strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard. That’s incredibly important for our state and there are some concerns now about steps the administration has taken giving waivers for refineries which hurt us here in Iowa,” she said.
“Another issue is making sure folks who work hard for their Social Security benefits are able to get their full benefits and not have them cut because they also might have a public pension. That’s incredibly important as well and we have to make sure we are fixing that. I signed onto a bill that would address that.”
Finkenauer said, “Investing in our transportation infrastructure is huge. There is a lot of work to be done there for the commerce here in our state. Our farmers rely on it, our truck drivers and residents all over the state rely on it. That is why I am on those committees to make sure we can bring these things home and start making sure people (in Washington, D.C.) are paying attention to states like Iowa.”