Civic News & Info
Harkin Announces $5 Million for Iowa Public Transportation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 12:17

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that the Iowa Department of Transportation received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Transit Administration’s State of Good Repair Grant Program. Harkin is a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds transportation initiatives.  The funds will be allocated to local transit agencies across the state as listed below based on a mileage formula.

“These funds will help transit agencies provide safe and efficient transportation for people, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, get to work and around their communities,” Harkin said.

Individual grant recipients are listed below.

Des Moines ($161,020)
2 buses

Fort Dodge ($526,220)
3 buses

Iowa City ($777,150)
3 buses

Sioux City ($345,600)
1 bus

Waterloo ($896,400)
3 buses

Region 1 (Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties; and Sioux counties) ($107,900)
1 Minivan
1 bus

Region 4 (Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, Woodbury, and Southern Union Counties; and South Dakota counties) ($112,847)
2 buses

Region 5 (Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties) ($353,580)
4 buses

Region 6 (Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama counties) ($204,180)
1 Minivan
3 buses

Region 9 (Cedar, Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott; and the Illinois Quad Cities area) ($302,950)
5 buses

Region 10 (Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties) ($95,450)
1 Minivan
1 bus

Region 11 (Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story, and Warren counties) ($434,090)
6 buses
1 Minivan

Region 12 (Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie, and Sac counties) ($62,665)
1 bus

Region 13 (Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties) ($255,640)
4 buses

Region 14 (Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Ringgold, Taylor, and Union counties) ($125,330)
2 buses

Region 15 (Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne counties) ($195,880)
4 buses

Region 16 (Des Moines, Henry, and Louisa counties) ($73,040)
1 bus

 
Analysis of House Republican Budget Cuts on Employment and Training in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 11:49

February 17, 2011

This week, the U.S. House is considering a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011.  The current funding proposal expires on March 4, 2011.  Analysis released today shows that the budget proposal will have a detrimental impact on job training and assistance to workers who are trying to lift up their families in the fragile economy.

Harkin’s full statement on the budget proposals before Congress can be found here.

“Imagine the struggle of a worker facing a layoff who then learns the job training or assistance he needs to recover is not available.  The same can be said of at-risk youths who are looking to improve their opportunities.  Under the House budget proposal, the door is closed to both of them,” said Harkin.  “There is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while continuing to take steps to strengthen the Iowa economy.”

Below are some specific cuts Iowa will face in job training if the House budget is enacted.


Job Training Programs.
The House plan would eliminate Federal funding – currently totaling $3 billion – for Adult Training, Dislocated Worker Assistance and Youth Training programs.  These programs provide job training and reemployment services to about 8 million Americans every year, including workers who have lost their jobs as a result of plant closings or mass layoffs, and disadvantaged youth, particularly those who have dropped out of school.   

•   Estimated Impact on Iowa:
Under current funding levels:
Funding Available in 2010: $13,967,648
Participants: 35,985
One-Stop Centers: 50

Under the House Proposal:
Funding Available: $0
Participants: 0
One-Stop Centers: 0


Dislocated Worker National Emergency Grants (NEGs).
The House plan provides $29 million for NEGs – a cut of $200 million (87 percent) below the current level of funding.  NEGs are used to respond to significant dislocation events such as industry wide layoffs and disasters by offering targeted training, affordable health insurance and income supports to displaced workers.  For example, when the John Morrell plant closed in Sioux City, an NEG assisted the 1400 workers and their families impacted by the closure.

•    Estimated Impact on Iowa:
Under current funding levels:
Funding Available in 2010: $16,367,015*
Estimated Participants: 4,685

Under the House Proposal:
Estimated Funding Available: $1,318,360
Estimated Participants: 377

*This includes $6 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act


Job Corps.
The House plan provides $1.02 billion for Job Corps – a cut of $691 million (41 percent) below current levels.  These cuts would mean the closure of more than half the 125 existing Job Corps centers and the loss of about 27,000 training slots nationwide.  Iowa has one Job Corps center currently and is slated to have a second open in Ottumwa in 2011.  The cuts proposed in the House bill make the continuation of either center uncertain.


Youthbuild.
The House’s proposal would eliminate Youthbuild – terminating the education and job training opportunities the program offers to about 6,500 disadvantaged students nationally each year.  Youthbuild is currently funded at $103 million.

•    Estimated Impact on Iowa:
Under current funding levels:
Funding Available in 2009-2010: $1,388,669*

Under the House Proposal:
Funding Available: $0

*This includes funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act


For more information, please call Kate Cyrul or Bergen Kenny in Senator Harkin’s press office at (202) 224-3254.

 
In Iowa’s Interest: How My Office Can Help You PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 February 2011 11:32
When Cliff, a veteran from the Vietnam War, sought assistance from my office, his claim had been pending with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for more than three years.  He was suffering from cancer, yet the VA had not approved him for service-connected disability benefits from exposure to Agent Orange.  Due to his declining health, my office asked the VA to expedite his claim.  Cliff received a significant back-payment and was approved for monthly benefits as well.   

Debbie contacted my office because her son Jason was experiencing difficulty getting on the Section 8 housing assistance program waiting list in Des Moines.  Jason lives with a disability and unfortunately applied for the wrong housing program during the application period.  The housing authority told Debbie that Jason must wait until the next year to get on the list.  My office inquired with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – the agency that provides the funds for the Section 8 program – and asked them to consider Jason for their waiting list.  HUD contacted the housing authority, which determined it would be reasonable to add Jason to the waiting list because, due to his disability, he may have been confused about the application packet he picked up.

For nearly 200 years, members of the Senate have been assisting constituents like Cliff and Debbie when they need help dealing with the federal government.  I believe this is one of my most important duties as your Senator.  During my time serving Iowa in the Senate, my office has worked to resolve more than 90,000 cases for Iowans.  The importance of this role cannot be overstated.  

If you are seeking information from the federal government and have not been able to find an answer, my staff may be able to help.  Members of my staff can answer common questions that arise when fellow Iowans apply for benefits or seek services from our government.

Keep in mind, a U.S. Senator and staff cannot force a federal government agency to decide an issue in one’s favor or overturn a decision that is within the law and final.  In both the examples above, the outcome was favorable not because my office intervened, but because these Iowans were due the benefits and services they sought.  My office helped facilitate the processes involved in these cases and thankfully a favorable outcome was reached.  It is also important to note that a U.S. Senator cannot intervene in a matter before the courts, or any decision made by a judge.  If you are experiencing legal difficulty, consulting with an attorney is the best way to assure that your interests are well-represented.   

In most cases, my office will need a signed privacy release form from anyone seeking assistance with a federal agency.  Once the appropriate caseworker on my staff has been engaged and this privacy statement is signed, my office can begin to work on your case.

For more information, or to access a privacy release form online, visit my website at harkin.senate.gov .

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Harkin, Grassley Announces Nearly $775,000 in Funding to Support Driver Safety in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Iowa Senators Grassley & Harkin   
Thursday, 17 February 2011 08:25

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 15, 2011 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that the State of Iowa will receive $773,175 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The funds are a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) State and Community Highway Grants to support state highway safety programs.  Harkin is a senior member of the Senate panel that funds transportation initiatives.

“Iowans should feel safe when they travel on our highway system,” said Harkin.  “These funds will allow Iowans to continue to drive comfortably and safely across our state.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a division of the U.S. DOT and oversees all safety initiatives on the nation’s highways.  Their mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity.

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WASHINGTON – February 15, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley said today that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded a $773,175 grant to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the funds will be used to support state highway safety programs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out safety programs previously administered by the National Highway Safety Bureau.  The agency is charged with improving motor vehicle and highway safety.

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Governor Quinn Names Director of Illinois Emergency Management Agency PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Kara Beach   
Monday, 14 February 2011 15:14

Names Illinois State Police Director Jon Monken to Head State’s Disaster Preparedness Agency

CHICAGO – February 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today named Jonathon E. Monken as director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). Monken is a decorated military Veteran who since 2009 has been charged with protecting the public’s safety as director of the Illinois State Police (ISP).

“I salute and thank Jon Monken for his service to the Illinois State Police, which he has led with honor and distinction – most recently during a major winter storm,” said Governor Quinn. “His strong leadership on the battlefield and in keeping Illinoisans safe makes him perfectly suited for preparing our state for disasters, and helping us recover from their aftermath.”

A former U.S. Army Captain with the Multi-National Corps-Iraq Civil-Military Relations, Monken served as Executive Officer for the Corps’ staff that coordinated all Civil-Military Operations nationwide in Iraq. As a Tank Platoon Leader, Monken led more than 100 combat missions in the “Sunni Triangle” of Iraq without losing any soldiers. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device for valor. Monken graduated in the top 1 percent of his military class at West Point.

Most recently, Monken led the ISP as they worked around the clock during a major winter storm that affected most of the state. The ISP worked alongside the IEMA, the Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Military Affairs to rescue thousands of of motorists stranded on roads and highways throughout Illinois.

Patrick Keen will serve as the interim director of the ISP. Keen is a more than 25-year ISP veteran and currently serves as Deputy Director for the Division of Administration.

Current Interim IEMA Director Joseph Klinger will resume his role as the agency’s assistant director. Klinger has served as the agency’s interim director since May 2010, when Andrew Velasquez III was appointed by President Barack Obama as regional administrator for FEMA Region V. Klinger has served as the agency’s assistant director since 2007 after working for the state’s nuclear safety program for more than 20 years.

“I thank Joseph Klinger for his strong commitment to ensuring the safety of the people of Illinois, particularly his work to coordinate the state’s response to the recent winter storm,” said Governor Quinn. “I look forward to his continued service to the people of Illinois.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is responsible for preparing the state of Illinois for response and recovery from any natural, manmade or technological disasters or acts of terrorism. During disasters, IEMA coordinates with state and federal agencies on response efforts. IEMA, through the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, develops and implements the state’s homeland security strategy and administers federal preparedness funding.

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