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On Eve of Independence Day, Braley and Sen. Sherrod Brown Urge House Committee to Move on All-American Flag Act PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 09:51

Senate passed bipartisan bill year ago; House has not acted to keep flags made in USA


Washington, D.C. – On the eve of the Independence Day holiday, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) – the authors of the All-American Flag Act, which would require the federal government to purchase 100 percent made-in-America flags – urged the leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to move the bill forward to it can be brought to the House floor for a vote.


Braley said, “It’s just common sense: Americans’ tax dollars should be used to purchase flags made in the USA.  The Senate has agreed in a bipartisan vote.  Now, it’s time for the House to act.  I urge the Oversight Committee to protect America’s greatest symbol and support manufacturers right here in the United States by immediately considering this bill.”


Brown said, “Under current law, the American flags that fly from federal buildings—on July 4th and every day of the year—may be up to fifty percent foreign-made. Many American companies, including Annin and Company in Coshocton, proudly produce the American flag right here in the United States.  With strong bipartisan support in the Senate, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee should move to discharge the All-American Flag Act and send it to the House floor for a vote. We should do all we can to support American manufacturing and job creation, especially when it comes to our most treasured of patriotic symbols—the American flag.”


The All-American Flag Act unanimously passed the US Senate in July 2011, but the House has failed to schedule a vote for its companion bill, H.R. 1344, which was introduced by Rep. Braley. The bill must be approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in order to be voted on by the full House. Two years ago, the Braley-authored All-American Flag Act passed the House unanimously.


For more information on the All-American Flag Act, visit:


Braley and Brown made the request in a letter to Oversight Committee leadership.  The text of that letter follows:


The Honorable Darrell Issa


House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

2157 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable Elijah Cummings

Ranking Member

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

2471 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515


Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings:


As we approach the 4th of July, we are reminded of the importance of the American flag as the symbol of our nation.  Unfortunately, current law requires the government to purchase flags made of only 50 percent American-made materials.  We strongly believe that U.S. flags should consist of only American made materials.


That is why we introduced the All-American Flag Act.  This bill would require the federal government to purchase flags that contain 100 percent American-made materials.  In the 111th Congress, both of you supported this legislation when it was passed out of the Oversight Committee.  The bill was later adopted by voice-vote in the House.  Last July, the Senate unanimously passed the All-American Flag Act.


As the two primary authors of this legislation, we ask that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee discharge the Senate passed version of the All-American Flag Act so it can be brought to the House floor for a vote.  Given that this legislation has already been passed unanimously by both the House and Senate, we believe that now is the time to see that this legislation is signed into law.


American flags should be made in America using American products.  Allowing the government to purchase flags with foreign-made materials is disrespectful to our country.  We urge you to discharge the All-American Flag Act from the House Oversight Committee so it can be brought to the House floor for a vote.


Thank you for your attention to our request.  We ask that you please reply to our letter within 10 business days with an answer on whether or not the Committee will discharge this legislation.  Please feel free to contact either of us if we can provide further assistance.


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Navy's So-called Green Fleet a "Floating Government Boondoggle" PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ryan Houck   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 09:47

July 3, 2012, Washington, DC—Although traditional fuel costs $3.60 per gallon, the U.S. Navy has opted to power its so-called "Green Fleet" with a biofuel blend that costs $26 per gallon.   Apparently oblivious to staggering budget deficits, the Pentagon has funded the "Green Fleet"—which recently began its 6-week-long exercise in the Pacific—through its green fuels initiative.

"With our nation's defense budget set to lose hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years, this floating government boondoggle is a truly astonishing waste of taxpayer money," said Ryan Houck, executive director of Free Market America.  "It is seven times more expensive to fuel the so-called 'green fleet' than to fuel a traditional fleet, begging the question: What vital national defense programs are now on the chopping block thanks to the green agenda?  Members of congress and the Administration should note that when Americans express outrage over wasteful government spending, this is exactly the type of nonsense they are talking about."

The AP posted its story on the "Green Fleet" late yesterday afternoon.  It can read here.

Free Market America is a free market watchdog group that focuses on environmental issues.  In partnership with Americans for Limited Government, the group was launched earlier this year and is responsible for the viral video "If I wanted America to fail"—a runaway hit that scored over 2.4 million views on YouTube.


Gov. Quinn Threatens Job Creation in NW Illinois by Offering to Sell Southern IL Prison to Feds PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Monday, 02 July 2012 14:47

Tamms offer would compete with effort to open Thomson as a federal prison

[WASHINGTON]  – Governor Pat Quinn’s offer last week to sell a state prison in southern Illinois to the federal government could doom a two-year effort by Illinois’ Congressional delegation to create more than 1,100 jobs in northwest Illinois by opening the vacant Thomson Correctional Center as a federal prison.

In a letter to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons released Friday, Quinn said the 14-year-old Tamms supermax prison – which still houses state prisoners – would be a valuable addition to the federal prison system. Quinn’s offer to sell the Tamms Correctional Center comes on the heels of ongoing efforts by U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo (R-IL), Bobby Schilling (R-IL) and other members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation to ink a deal for the federal government to purchase the vacant state prison in Thomson, IL and open it as a maximum security federal prison, creating more than 1,100 much-needed jobs in northwest Illinois.

“With his new offer to sell the Tamms state prison to the federal government, Gov. Quinn may have doomed our efforts to open Thomson as a federal prison and create more than 1,100 jobs in northern Illinois,” Manzullo said. “In these very tight financial times, we have been working hard to find the federal money needed to buy Thomson, and now the Governor has thrown a new option on the table that will compete with our efforts. The federal government certainly doesn’t have the money to buy two state prisons in Illinois.”

"The Illinois delegation has been working closely to find a bipartisan way to advance Thomson Prison," Schilling said. "But to really move this forward, we need the Governor to focus in on and join us in our efforts. I remain optimistic that we can get Thomson opened, and will continue working to see it through."

The operation of Thomson as a federal prison is expected to create more than 1,100 jobs and provide $19 million in local labor income and $61 million in local business sales each year. Total local economic impact, both direct and indirect, is expected to be at least $202 million each year. That annual economic impact would provide more than $20 million in direct federal income tax revenue, $6.2 million in direct state income tax revenue, and $3.8 million in sales tax revenue.


Governor’s office releases list of all appointments made to boards and commissions since March 1 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Iowa Governor's Office   
Monday, 02 July 2012 14:34

(DES MOINES) – The governor’s office today released a list of all appointments that have been made to boards and commissions since March 1 of this year. The appointments are as follows:


Council on Agricultural Education

Michael Earll, Sibley

Crystal Jauer, Hinton

Larry Marek, Riverside


Architectural Examining Board

Emily Forquer, Afton


Iowa Arts Council

Linda Grandquist, West Des Moines

Kent Hartwig, Des Moines

Chawne Paige, Waterloo

Frances Parrott, Council Bluffs

Lisa Walsh, Burlington


State Banking Council

Surasee Rodari, Des Moines

Gina Sitzmann, Sioux City


Advisory Council on Brain Injuries

Thomas Brown, Pleasant Hill

Dennis Byrnes, Atalissa

Roxanne Cogil, Jamaica

Michael Hall, Coralville

Kendalyn Huff, Greenfield

Karen Jones, Norwalk

Jenifer Krischel, Havelock

Joseph Linn, Fairfax


State Building Code Advisory Council

Amy Infelt, Coralville

Kristin Mohr, Ankeny

Mark Reetz, West Des Moines

Barbara Welander, Mt. Pleasant


Iowa Centennial Memorial Foundation

Janet Metcalf, Urbandale


Child Advocacy Board

Elaine Sanders, Sioux City


City Finance Committee

Kent Anderson, Orange City

Randall Cook, Creston

Chris Ward, West Liberty

Michelle Weidner, Waterloo


College Student Aid Commission

Roger Claypool, Le Mars


Criminal Justice Information Advisory Committee

John Baldwin, Clive

David Heuton, Altoona


Dependent Adult Protective Advisory Council

Michael Owens, Waterloo


Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council

Frank Forcucci, Urbandale

Emilea Hillman, Independence

Paul Kiburz, Marion

Barbara McClannahan, Des Moines

Gary Sample, Pleasantville

William Stumpf, Dubuque

Lisa Yunek, Mason City

Aaron Anderson, Mason City

Tonya Fustos, Council Bluffs

Roger Girard, Marion

Koki, Nakagawa, Ames

Nathaniel Pierson, Marion

Alissa Underfer, West Des Moines


Iowa Council for Early ACCESS

Jodi Angus, Mount Ayr

Mary Butler, West Des Moines

Maria Cashman, Marion

Chad Dahm, Pella

Gary Guetzko, Dubuque

Julie Hahn, Des Moines

Shari Huecksteadt, Bettendorf

Martin Ikeda, Urbandale

Representative Kevin Koester, Ankeny

Aryn Kruse, Ames

Heather Moorman, Corydon


State Board of Education

McKenzie Baker, Forest City


State Board of Educational Examiners

Mary Overholtzer, Tingley


Interstate Commission on Education Opportunity for Military Children

Martha Kester, Des Moines

Heather Stephenson, Ankeny


Electrical Examining Board

Wayne Engle, Marion

John Marino, Clear Lake

Patricia Weese, Bedford


Iowa Emergency Response Commission

Robin Pruisner, McCallsburg


Fire Services and Emergency Response Council

Mike Bryant, Ames

Gerald Hoffman, Grundy Center

Reylon Meeks, Runnells

Rex Mundt, Ankeny


State Board of Health

Ted George, Rockwell City

Jay Hansen, Mason City

Cheryl Straub-Morarend, Coralville

Diane Thomas, Manchester


State Historical Records Advisory Board

Shelley Bishop, Council Bluffs

Michael Gibson, Dubuque

Larry Murphy, Ankeny


State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees

John Brown, Johnston

Alyse Hunter, Chariton

Jill Wanderscheid, Sioux City


Iowa Council on Homelessness

Allan Axeen, Iowa City

Zebulon Beikle-McCallum, Urbandale

David Boss, New Hampton

Ann Davidson, Fort Dodge

Carrie Dunnwald, Waterloo

Rebecca Falck, Oskaloosa

Mariliegh Fisher, Cedar Falls

David Hagen, Cedar Rapids

Kristine Harris, Cedar Rapids

Clifton Heckman, Grimes

Nancy Schulze, Council Bluffs

Timothy Wilson, Mt. Vernon


Hospital Licensing Board

Monte Neitzel, Creston


Human Rights Board

Mark Alba, Council Bluffs

Redmond Jones, Davenport

Karen Mackey, Sioux City

Sheryl Soich, Des Moines

Robert Tyson, Waterloo

Jennifer Upah, Cedar Rapids


Statewide Independent Living Council

Kristen Aller, Cedar Rapids

Joel Lightcap, Dubuque

Michael Cook, Des Moines

Gary “Joe” Sample, Pleasantville


Iowa Innovation Council

Gordon Neumann, Des Moines


Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System Board

Jason Leonard, Waverly

Sandra Morris, Des Moines

Rick Roe, Clive


Juvenile Justice Advisory Council

Jacey Bair-Waddell, Cedar Rapids

Morgan Dodson, Le Mars

Margaret Johnson, Sidney

Jeremy Kaiser, Eldridge

Bill Ockerman, Polk City

John Quinn, Urbandale

Shauna Soderstrum, West Des Moines

Zachary Thomas, Nevada

Jeralyn Westercamp, Cedar Rapids

Karen Jones, Glenwood

Tony Reed, Marshalltown

Carl Smith, Ankeny


Latino Affairs Commission

Ramon Rodriguez, Pleasant Hill


Medical Assistance Advisory Council

Julie Frischmeyer, Carroll

John Grush, Boone

Cecilia Tomlonovic, Des Moines

Mark Wiskus, Pella


Board of Medicine

Frank Bognanno, Des Moines

Ann Gales, Bode

Michael Thompson, Pella


Mid-America Port Commission

Daniel Wiedemeier, Burlington


Organic Advisory Council

Thomas German, Holstein


Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Examining Board

Susan Pleva, Woodward


Preserves Advisory Board

Kirk Larsen, Decorah

Leesa McNeil, Sioux City


Iowa Public Broadcasting Board

Mary Kramer, Clive


Real Estate Commission

John Goede, Spencer


STEM Advisory Council

Cameron Evans, Euless

Steven Leath, Ames

Bradley Woody, Monroe


Student Loan Liquidity Corporation

Daniel Clute, Urbandale

Scott Schneidermann, Rock Rapids

Adam Voigts, Indianola


Terrace Hill Commission

Deborah Hubbell, Des Moines

Kay Runge, Davenport

Eric Wieland, West Des Moines


Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Commission

Shirley Daniels, Des Moines

Chad Jensen, Carroll


Commission on Uniform State Laws

Rosemary Sackett, Okoboji

Teresa Wagner, Iowa City

David Walker, Windsor Heights


Vocational Rehabilitation Council

Curtis Chong, Des Moines

Sherri Clark, Red Oak

Jill Crosser, Ames

Nancy Cruz-Tretina, Ames

John Mikelson, Columbus Junction

Christopher Townsend, Davenport


Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service

Jordan DeGree, Dubuque

Ashley Farmer-Hanson, Alta

Patti Fields, Iowa City

Khayree Fitten, Mt. Pleasant

Gary Fry, Mitchellville

Michelle Gowdy, Des Moines

Daniel Weiser, Urbandale


Watershed Improvement Review Board

Larry Alliger, Gowrie

David Coppess, Urbandale

Larry Gullett, Center Junction

Susan Heathcote, Des Moines

Jane Weber, Bettendorf




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International Kidnapping Inspires PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:47
Parental Lessons
Estranged Spouses Must Put Children First, Father Says; Offers Tips

In his wedding pictures taken during the 1980s, Steve Fenton is on top of the world. He’s a handsome American newlywed with a sly smirk on his face, about to drink a toast with his beauty queen wife in a traditional wedding in Xalapa, Mexico.

Eight years later, the rising tension begins in this real-life, Hollywood-styled drama, detailed in his new book, Broken Treaty ( He became estranged from his wife Silvia, but allowed her to take their son, Stephen, 6, on a two-week trip to her native Mexico in December 1992. More than four, frantic weeks later, he found out Silvia had enrolled their son in a school there, quit her job in California and had no plans of coming back.

“I know a lot of mothers down here who have done this same thing with no problems,” she told him over the phone.

Fenton also spoke with his son during that call, and could tell the boy was close to tears.

“He wanted to come back home to his friends, his school and a model submarine project we were working on,” he says. “Silvia hung up the phone shortly thereafter.”

He pursued the Hague Convention Treaty, an international accord signed by Mexico the previous year, to return his son. A year later, although adamantly assured by both Mexico and the U.S. State Department that his son would be returned to his birth country, Fenton saw that his only hope would be to leave diplomats to their own devices. He began quietly engineering a complex plan to bring his son home to California.

Fenton grew his hair and a beard and donned sunglasses and a hat to disguise his appearance. He hired a pilot and others to help in the extraction of his son from southeastern Mexico. After spending tens of thousands of dollars and risking his life with no guarantee of success, he landed back on U.S. soil – with Stephen.

But while the action movie portion of the story ends here, another saga – single-parenthood – would begin. He offers tips that, despite his unique circumstances, apply to all divorced parents.

• It’s not about you. Although Fenton’s heroics to recover his son on foreign soil were life-changing, the mission’s purpose was to provide young Stephen with a better life. That meant giving his son the opportunity to continue his relationship with the mother who abducted him.

• “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.” That’s the second-to-last chapter title in Fenton’s book. Initially, he took his son to visit his mother at the border, where they two were separated by a tall chain-link fence. He asked authorities to reduce charges against her when she came back to the states, so that his son could continue to have a meaningful relationship with her. His reward – Silvia was perpetually taking Fenton to court for child custody and child support, though she was court-ordered to repay him $51,000 for the rescue mission.

• Forgiveness is ultimately rewarded. Fenton’s second marriage broke up because of the stress on his family from his first wife’s actions. He was reprimanded by his lawyer for putting himself in a compromising situation. But  the doting father got the affirmation he was looking for during a lunch with his then-22-year-old son. Stephen spelled out his gratitude for his father’s instincts and actions. “Fourteen years after brining my son home, he helped me understand that I could look ahead and realize that we’d both finally made it home,” Fenton says.

About Steve Fenton

Steve Fenton is a specialty building contractor. After his estranged wife spirited their son, an American, away to Xalapa, Mexico, the father decided he had to take action. With little to no help from the U.S. and Mexican governments after a year and a half, the determined father went on a clandestine recovery mission across the border. What ensued were life-changing events that have defined the lives of father and son.  His book was written with some technical assistance from Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who would later become a national hero after safely landing U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.

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