Happy Summer!

June 20th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Happy Summer!  It’s been interesting this year for me.  Usually, I have a rather protracted break right after the legislative session that gives me time to chillax.  Not this year.  Here is a summary of my session:

You can click on the Iowa Association of Christian School’s newsletter link to see their take on our work this session.  I was very proud of the Board and member schools for supporting me so well this year and getting some amazing things done for private schools and parental choice in education.

The results on the pro-life front weren’t as laudable.  We were attacked by the Personhood-only crowd, undermined by groups claiming to straddle the fence between pro-life groups and hateful personhood-only groups, undercut by legislators that had last minute demands on the webcam abortion bill minutes before it needed to be moved to avoid being killed by the funnel deadline, etc. etc.  The biggest enemy of progress on the life issue isn’t the abortion industry.  It’s “pro-life” groups and legislators that refuse to save any baby unless they save them all…their way.  We have plans to overcome this.  It will take some time but we’ll prevail in order to save lives and end the practice of elective abortion in the U.S. for good.

On a spiritual note, I’ve been reading through a chronological reading plan on YouVersion’s iOS app.  I’m loving it.  It’s interesting to see the character of the books come out in the prophets as they often describe the same king’s stories with emphasis on different aspects of the events.  I’m also really learning more and more about the intersection of wisdom and holiness.  My job makes it a constant challenge to be shrewd and innocent, positive and resolute.  How do I check emotion while maintaining passion?  I have been diving in to God’s character on this.  Sovereignty and the fruits of the Spirit.  It’s fascinating.  Ask me about it sometime.  I may not shut up for 30 minutes.

That’s it for today.  I’ll try to post from my adventures this Summer.  There is a trip to Colorado with the in-laws and extended in-law/out-law family, RAGBRAI, and a trip to Florida on the horizon.  Fun times!  Hope you have an amazing Summer.

My Information Workflow

April 22nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

My information workflow gets me up-to-speed every morning.  I’ve had a number of people ask me what apps I use, what websites I check, and how I stay on top of things at work.  The answer: I don’t stay on top of things like I would like…there is simply too much information out there.  But with a few good apps and websites, you can get a good big picture for whether the world is still spinning each morning.

Here is a short list of apps and sites I check each day to make sure I’m on top of things and as in-the-know as possible: » Read the rest of this entry «

Action Alert From The Iowa Association Of Christian Schools

March 22nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Action Alert From the Iowa Association of Christian Schools:

IA Assoc. Of Christian Schools

March 21, 2013 – House Study Bill 225 would increase the amount of tax credits for school tuition organizations to $12 million (currently at $8.75 million). The credits are made available for those who donate to scholarship funds for nonpublic school students through School Tuition Organizations (STOs).

Last fall more than 10,400 low-income students received a grant through the program to attend the school of their choice. More than $11.3 million in scholarships were awarded.

We support the bill because it helps parents get assistance in choosing the school that best fits their child’s learning needs.

Please send a message to your member of the Iowa House asking him or her to support HSB 225 by clicking here.  We are partnering with the Iowa Catholic Conference to send out emails and encourage you to do so today!

Very happy to see school choice get such bipartisan support in Iowa.  Click the link above and help keep it that way!  I highly encourage you to sign up for their email list at www.iowachristianschools.org.  They don’t spam, only send out action alerts when big things are happening at the Capitol, and they are a great resource for information on education, education reform, and private school choice.  They are there every day during the legislative session and have a great Board of Directors.

Why Christian Radio?

February 28th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Radio is a powerful medium for communication.  In the U.S. alone there are over 550 million radios in use including more than 170 million in vehicles as standard equipment.  That amounts to almost six radios per household! Additionally, a huge percentage of Americans have access to streaming radio through Apple TV, Roku box, a browser, or apps on smartphones and iPods.  Americans utilize radio more than any other medium during the workday, averaging over 2 hours per day listening in their cars alone!  Granted, the average commute varies greatly from metro area to metro area, but those listening averages are mind blowing! An incredible 96% of adults age 25-54 listen to radio on a regular basis with the 12+ demographic not far behind!

Why is radio so compelling that most every American family has six radios and spends hours per day listening to it?  It is, like broadcast TV, a free and over-the-air medium.  Unlike TV, however, it is a more “psychological medium.”  It draws out the listener’s imagination, emotion, and sets a creative stage in the theatre of the mind more than TV because we feel the need to picture what we are hearing, to guess at the DJ’s face, to respond to the spirit of the music, and react to advertising messages that beg us to intersect our lives with the advertiser’s product.

So one obvious question is how best to utilize this powerful medium for the Kingdom of God.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Senator Rozenboom’s Senate Speech This Week

February 22nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Senator Rozenboom delivered a great speech on the floor of the Senate this week about their adopted son, life, adoption, policy priorities, and hope!  You can click here to see the whole thing!  This is how the pro-life message is to be spread.  Compassionately and lovingly.  Well done, Senator!

A Great Place For Random Iowa Facts

January 13th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The Iowa Legislative website is improving quite a bit lately.  When I started working at the Capitol the website was horrible (you can still click the link to the old website).

Since then, the redesign and added content is much more user friendly.  I get emails from the LSA occasionally called “Pieces of Iowa’s Past.”  I really enjoy the history lesson.  You can see these and other Iowa tidbits by clicking here.

I AM looking for a good website on Iowa’s history. Anyone have a suggestion?  I’m specifically looking for unique stories like the conflict known as the “Honey War” between Iowa and Missouri.  Let me know if you have any good links with great stories.

January Antlerless Season in Iowa

January 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Doe in the snow.

Does it get any more majestic than observing wildlife in solitude?

I’m going to miss January Antlerless season in Iowa this year for the first time since it was instituted.  I’ll miss crunching on the snow (Maybe!  What a warm year!) and freezing my tail off hoping to get one more chance at filling the freezer this year.

There is something about being alone in the woods.  At times, I hunt in groups during the January season and I love that too but you can’t beat the alone time while hunting deer.  The first day I’m out hunting, I hate myself.  Alone.  With my thoughts.  It’s frightening.  I spend half the day shaking my head that my brain is so full of garbage and base-ness and the rest of the day praying, asking God to clear my mind.  The next day or two or three are beautiful.  I love the serenity, the listening for that “still small Voice.”  I love the wildlife, the possum that walks over your feet as you sit so still it never knows you were there.  I love the turkeys as they noisily leave their roost.  I love the occasional rare treat of having a coyote or bobcat pass by so close you feel as though you could almost reach out and touch them with your shotgun or rifle.

It is in these times that I am truly amazed at how beautiful and how intricate Creation is.  How such a tight web of interdependent relationships and ecosystems can evolve is beyond me besides being mathematically impossible.  Our Creator is amazing.  Imagine how much more amazing it will be when the earth is restored to what it could have been without sin.  Imagine our new physical bodies being able to lift more and run faster than ever though possible.  Imagine racing the mountain lion for fun instead of carrying a firearm in the woods to protect yourself from one.  I can’t wait.

Although we probably won’t have hunting on the New Earth, I relish every chance to sit out in the woods and dream dreams, listen to His voice, and observe without words.

My Thoughts On The 2012 Iowa Caucus

January 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Photo of 2012 Iowa Republican Candidates for PresidentEvery four years Iowa becomes the center of the political universe for a short time as Iowans, along with the citizens of New Hampshire and South Carolina, get to vet the candidates for President in a way the rest of the nation doesn’t.  We get to see them in person, shake their hands, and ask tough questions.  Any Iowan can meet any candidate, often many times, as they criss-cross the state.  Iowa is uniquely qualified to retain its important role as the first in the nation caucus State for two main reasons: Iowa voters are smart, informed, and skeptical.  If you can win over enough Iowans to generate significant momentum, you are ready to campaign in larger States.  It’s a true test of the candidate’s ability to demonstrate their readiness face-to-face and it is a test of the campaign’s organizational strength to mobilize people to show up for 2-3 hours on a cold January night to support a candidate.  In addition, Iowa is small enough that potential candidates don’t have to have Mitt Romney’s deep pockets to come here and be competitive.  Rick Santorum proved this year that working on a relatively tiny budget can get you success if you work hard, capture volunteers, and resonate with the base.  If any State larger than Iowa or New Hampshire were to get the kind of important early role we have, it would severely limit those able to test the waters of a Presidential race (the establishment in the Beltway would love this!).

I’ve had time to process last night’s Caucus and thought I’d share a few of my thoughts here:

1. Chairing a precinct caucus is the best way to ensure you get home at a reasonable time.  Although our precinct has never been one to get out of control or waste terrible amounts of time, I thought we could be more efficient.  Four years ago I was asked to be temporary caucus chair and convinced my caucus to elect me permanent chair (the first order of business is electing the person who will run the rest of the meeting) after I promised “fairness and a record short caucus.”  I had a few older ladies hug me afterward for getting us out by 8:25PM.  This year I was re-elected caucus chair and got us out of there by 8:30PM.  I didn’t beat the record we established last time but we can awfully close.  I also had the unique opportunity to have Frank Luntz (Fox News pollster), the Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and a few others storm into the room before the event started and grill me on the campaigns, the caucus process, and my thoughts on Iowa’s role.  It was very interesting.

2. Same-day voter registration is unwise and needs to be changed.  It was very clear to my wife (who checked everyone in) and me that many disaffected Democrats and Independents showed up and switched party affiliation simply so they could cast a protest vote for Ron Paul or participate for Romney simply because they could.  I’m grateful more people are getting involved in the Caucus process, but it has become increasingly clear as the morning news rolls out that there were plenty of spoilers out there trying to distort the outcome.  It is also clear that Mitt Romney would not have won by 8 votes if we didn’t have same-day registration.  Mitt Romney and Ron Paul rode to impressive finishes in Iowa because Democrats and Independents were able to crash an official Republican Party event…not because they resonate with the the party faithful.  I suggest doing away with same-day registration and closing the window on registration changes one month (or however long it takes to create and print new lists for use on Caucus night) prior to Caucus night.  This still allows anyone remotely engaged in the process to think a few weeks ahead and get registered.  Campaigns can still identify potential supporters ahead of time and get them registered.  But it eliminates one political Party from spoiling the results of the other and keeps the process honest.  I’m sorry, people, but if you can’t decide you are going to exercise your civic responsibility a few weeks out from Caucus, you don’t need to be there.  Eliminating the same-day registration may not make a huge statistical difference, but it would add piece of mind and a sense of decorum and control as well as give outsiders the sense that this really is Iowa Republicans choosing their candidate.  We must stay way above board if we are going to keep our role intact.

3. The big winners: Santorum and Ron Paul.  Ron Paul has made it clear over the last 12 hours that he won the youth vote.   It is also painfully clear that he won the same-day voter registration vote too.  So basically Ron Paul was successful on the backs of the inexperienced, the noncommittal, the Democratic spoilers, and  the chronically disaffected protest voters.  There is no doubt he resonates with the Libertarians and Republicans with Libertarian leanings.  I also think he has some good ideas on domestic policy and love the idea of eliminating many Federal departments.  He is, however, the candidate that attracts the tinfoil hats, liberal spoilers, peaceniks, and the youth vote (which are generally poorly educated on what it is to be an American and are protesting a system they have no confidence in).  Santorum, however, proved that if you work Iowa correctly through hard work and retail politics, you can be successful!  Congratulations to him and his campaign.  Very impressive.

4. Bachmann goes all in and loses.  I was undecided about Bachmann other than questioning some of her personnel choices and the fact that she can come across a bit shrill as late as last Summer (She did hire Drew Kline, however, which I think was a great move as he is a great guy who I hear did great work for her).  As I participated with the American Principles Project on the Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour, I was able to see the Bachmann campaign in action the first part of July at a rally in Des Moines she participated in with us.  Her national campaign staff was haughty, unaware of what each other was doing leading us to feel lied to about a number of things, and she was allowed to be seen as a rock star too good to interact with supporters or other organizations there.  Her failure to engage in retail politics until late in the primary cycle was a big mistake and cost her dearly.  Her failure to capitalize on the Straw Poll win and mitigate the excitement about Perry when he jumped in the race further hurt her campaign.  They did the right thing in hiring Eric Woolson late in the game (he’s the best in the business) but it was too late.  She announced she’s done today and Santorum and Perry will probably divide up most of her supporters.

5. The race is still wide open.  Like Huckabee and Robertson (among others) before them, Santorum and Romney could be yesterday’s news at any time.  Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and even Rick Perry still have a shot at an upset.  Let’s hope New Hampshire chooses someone other than Romney (or makes it close like Iowa).  If Romney fails to break away and South Caroline and Florida fail to anoint the establishment’s heir-apparent, there is hope for Santorum, Gingrich, and Perry.

6. I have my phone back.  I have a landline at home for Rachel’s business.  After weeks of 20-35 political calls per day, I’m happy to hear the phone ring and think it might actually be someone we want to talk to.  I think the “Do Not Call” registry should be expanded so we can have the option to opt out of political and charitable calls.  I’m especially annoyed if the call does not originate from the actual campaign headquarters by a human being or from the physical location of the charity by a human being.  These massive call centers and robo-call services are offensive.  I’m ready to donate to any cause that puts an end to the abuse of my home phone line should I choose to opt out.

What are your thoughts and takeaways?