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1 year anniversary of government shutdown PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Lance Coles   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:13

One Year Later: A Vote for Steve King or Joni Ernst is a Vote for Another Government Shutdown

Des Moines, Iowa – One year ago, Congressman Steve King and members of the Republican Party shut down the federal government at an enormous cost. Their actions roiled the country as federal workers were furloughed, national parks were closed, and Social Security checks were delayed. Now, with Joni Ernst is running for Senate, and Steve King is running for re-election.

Ken Sagar, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor issued the following statement:

“It’s despicable that Steve King is running for re-election to the House after he voted to shut down the government and supported the government shutdown last year.

Does he think that’s a qualification for public office? Will he assume that an election victory is a vote for another government shutdown?” Rather than demonstrate responsible leadership, Steve King supported Republicans when they inflicted a serious wounds on our economy and punished federal workers and American taxpayers.

“This November, voters in Iowa have a clear opportunity to reject Steve King’s style of hostage taking and elect Jim Mowrer, a responsible veteran leader and a champion of working people. This November, it’s time to hold the Republican Party accountable.”

If Joni Ernst is elected to the Senate, she will join King in attacking workers and our economy.

Ernst Said “We Must Stand Firm In The Fight Against” The Affordable Care Act On The First Day Of The Government Shutdown. According to a Facebook post by state Sen. Joni Ernst, Ernst said, “LIKE if you believe that on this first day of Obamacare exchange signups, we must stand firm in the fight against this damaging, job-killing legislation. #standfirm.” [Sen. Joni Ernst – Facebook, 10/1/13]

The government shutdown cost our economy $24 billion. Our economy created 120,000 fewer private sector jobs. Federal workers lost 6.6 million work days while food safety inspections, small business loans, life-saving medical research, and investigations into wage violations all ceased to take place.


Cedar Rapids Iowa, International Traders of Iowa Joins President Jimmy Carter for 70-City Live Program on China PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Deanna Freeman   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:38

Former President Jimmy Carter will join audiences in 70 locations nationwide for a live “town hall” meeting on the U.S.-China relationship.


Some of the world’s most critical issues, including economics, climate change, security and trade, will require the United States and China—the two largest economies, energy users and greenhouse gas emitters—to cooperate to achieve lasting global solutions. To help Americans understand the dynamic U.S.-China relationship and answer questions on issues that touch their daily lives, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations in collaboration with The Carter Center is conducting the eighth annual CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections program at more than 70 locations nationwide featuring a live webcast and Q&A with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on October 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. President Carter’s discussion and responses to questions submitted by the nationwide audience will be moderated by National Committee President Stephen Orlins.

Location and time:

University of Iowa – Tippie School of Management

Cedar Rapids Center- 221 2nd Ave SE, Suite 300, Cedar Rapids IA

Registration 5:15 pm CST                            Cost: $15

Program 5:45 -8:00 CST                                        Register at

Refreshments will be served                                      Prior to October 13th

In addition to the national portion of the program, each venue will have a prominent China specialist on site to address topics of interest to the local community, including economics and trade, energy and the environment, security and other issues.  Dru E Finley, China Gold Solutions. Dru E. Finley is an entrepreneur and innovator who has worked with China for more than 25 years, successfully founding, building and selling companies in both China and the United States. An interactive list of program locations nationwide will be available at:

Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.) was the 39th President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981. Under Carter’s leadership, on January 1, 1979, the United States established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. In 1982, he became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and founded The Carter Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that addresses national and international issues of public policy. Since leaving office, President Carter has visited China 12 times, including most recently in September 2014.

The National Committee on United States-China Relations is the leading national, non-partisan public affairs organization devoted exclusively to building constructive and durable relationships between the United States and China

Braley Continues to Work for Resolution After Decorah Couple is Prevented from Finalizing Congolese Adoption PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:24

Congressman pushes Secretary John Kerry after Hougen family nears final step in adoption process

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today continued his strong advocacy for those facing unfair delays in finalizing adoptions between the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Braley is writing Secretary of State John Kerry, after a Decorah couple submitted the final documents for visas for their two children, but remain prevented from uniting their family due to the DRC’s continued moratorium on ‘exit letters’—the final step in the adoption process.

“Linda and Ron Hougen have fought to provide their children with a loving home—and the fact that they’re unable to unite their family is both heart-breaking and unfair,” Braley said. “This needs to be a priority for the United States government and I plan to keep doing everything possible to shed light on the plight of these families.”


Nearly one thousand families have had their adoptions suspended. Many of these families, like the Hougens, are near the end of the lengthy adoption process. However, the DRC has refused to issue exit letters, which is the final step allowing families to bring their children to the United States.


Recently, Braley along with a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators sent a letter to the President urging him to bring up the issue of stalled adoptions with the Congolese Prime Minister.


In early July, Braley wrote a letter to Speaker John Boehner asking him to bring up H.Res 588—a resolution that the week before passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—to the House floor for a vote. Days later the resolution was passed on the House floor.


Braley has previously met with Erin Peat and families from Clear Lake, Bettendorf, and West Des Moines who are facing delays with their adoptions.

Braley has previously urged action on this issue with the Congolese Prime Minister, the Congolese Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary of State John Kerry.

A copy of Braley’s letter to Secretary of State John Kerry is available online HERE.


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Simon kicks off cell phone drive to benefit domestic violence survivors PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ken Lowe   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:33

Simon kicks off cell phone drive to benefit domestic violence survivors;

Verizon-sponsored drive to benefit domestic violence shelters


CHICAGO — Lt. Governor Sheila Simon Tuesday will launch her office’s annual cell phone drive, a partnership with HopeLine by Verizon Wireless that benefits survivors of domestic violence. Simon will be joined by representatives of the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, Verizon Wireless and elected officials in Belleville.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Office of the Lt. Governor will partner with HopeLine from Verizon during October to conduct a Domestic Violence Awareness Month cell phone drive. Collected cell phones will go to Verizon’s HopeLine Cell Phone program to be refurbished and resold. After the drive, which will run from Oct. 1-24, Verizon will issue up to $5,000 each to the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois and Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) in Chicago.

Based in Belleville, the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois provides shelter and other services to domestic violence survivors in the East St. Louis area. CAWC aids domestic violence survivors in the Chicago area and is a member of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Metropolitan Chicago Battered Women’s Network.

For more information about the HopeLine Cell Phone drive, visit



How to Be a Whiskey-Drinkin’, Harley-Ridin’ & Rock ‘n’ Rollin’ Christian PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 26 September 2014 07:50
‘I’m a Christian, Not a Monk,’ Says Serial Novelist

The times, they are a-changin’ indeed.

Bob Dylan’s third album about social change not only epitomizes the zeitgeist of the mid-60s; it also accurately depicts the shifting landscape of religion in the United States today.

The social forces that have created the vast, religiously unaffiliated populations in Europe and other first world countries seem to be having an effect on Americans, according to the Pew Research Center. Twenty percent consider themselves “spiritual but not religious,” and young adults, including millennials, are generally far less devout than their parents and grandparents.

“Pew also shows that 78.4 percent of Americans are Christian, and I’m one of them,” says Eli Just, a former physics teacher, musician and author of two serial novels, “Manny Jones” and “The Eddy,” (

“I think too many people, including youngsters, have a boxed-in concept of what it means to be Christian.”

Just, who continues to live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle as a guitar-pluckin’, whiskey-sippin’, hog-ridin’ baby boomer, talks about how Christ fits in with all souls with good hearts.

•  The Tiger Woods of compassion. Certainly, there have been unfortunate ambassadors of Christ, including scandal-ridden, judgment-prone and hypocritical televangelists who’ve once been able to claim millions of followers. That, however, is not a fair encapsulation of he who inspired countless believers to lead better lives, inspired the world’s largest empire to change its ways and who is the most renowned historical figure to champion compassion – to truly love one’s neighbor as oneself.

“No matter your spiritual affiliation – and no matter your lifestyle – it should be pretty clear that Jesus’ example was a game-changer for the moral compass of humanity,” Just says.

•  “I’m a Christian, not a monk.” At the core of Christ’s message is love for others, and he practiced what he preached. That means helping the neediest, including lepers, and forgiving sinners, including prostitutes.

“Am not I a little angel – far from it! I’ve played in rock bands for decades, and though I’m a happily married man now, I’ve had a weakness for firm-feeling blond women,” he says. “Imperfection is what makes us human, which is fully addressed in the Bible.”

•  You’re free to be your own Christian. Centuries ago, the various denominations were not only much more restrictive in individual liberties for followers; Christians also killed each other for not being the right kind of Christian. Through endogenous and exogenous social, technological and economic progress, however, followers are free to embrace Jesus’ message on a more personal basis.

“This doesn’t mean Christians are free to do whatever they want,” Just says. “It just means that one’s own conscience in the best tool for how to live a good life.”

About Eli Just

Eli Just is the author of several books including the popular “Manny Jones” series and “The Eddy,” ( He has a master’s in history from Southeastern Louisiana University and is a self-taught student of physics, which he taught at the high school level. He is currently working on several projects, including his newest novel, a graphic comic book and a rock-blues album. As a Christian, Just enjoys exploring themes involving physics and its relationship to religion. He lives in northern Georgia.

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