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PRESSURE PUSH: Looming Deadline Means Battle for Face Time

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Friday brings one fo the most significant deadlines to the Iowa Statehouse. It is the first funnel day. Most non-appropriations bills must pass through at least one committee or risk getting killed for this legislative session. Tuesday afternoon in the statehouse rotunda, it was standing room only for Iowans wanting lawmakers to take a stand: theirs. This is the week of pressure that calls for a day of patience. Carol Sipfle, Greater Iowa Chapter Alzheimer’s Association Executive Director, said, “This has been a work in progress since 2007.”

Sipfle has pushed for changes in the state’s care for the growing number of Iowans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She leads of a group of the persistent purple. Her group of 75 volunteers dressed in purple t-shirts, continue their push for change. She said, “We’re advocating for a new full-time position within the department of health and also the creation of an advisory committee to guide and direct that person as the state takes on this Alzheimer’s epidemic that we’re facing.”

Their push for lawmakers’ attention faces a color war with a group in green. Several dozen people wearing t-shirts with a rural electric cooperative want to see how lawmakers will stop stray voltage from zapping milk cows. Realtors also walk the floor, curious how property tax reform affects the home market. And then there’s Lon Kammeyer alone in blue, the only person in a blue t-shirt that reads “We Are One.” Kammeyer said he is a retired union worker who wants to make sure lawmakers properly fund education. He said, “I want my kids and grandkids to have the education they deserve.”

Representative Lance Horbach, a Tama Republican, talked with people from different groups all day. He said, it’s kind of like payday at home and all the kids come in and want their allowance.”

And just like his kids, everyone there learns there’s only so much of lawmakers’ time and taxpayers’ money. He said, “We’re going to make a lot of people unhappy this weekend and it’s part of the job.”

But until then, the motivated mass keeps on moving. Sipfle said, “We have to be patient. We’re doing our best.