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Branstad, Reynolds invite Iowans to ‘Celebrate Iowa’ Gala PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 14:05

Celebration of Iowa’s art, history and culture

Featuring legendary Hollywood producer and Honorary Iowan Norman Lear  

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today invited Iowans to attend the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs’ (DCA) 3rd annual ‘Celebrate Iowa’ Gala in Des Moines. The Celebrate Iowa Gala is a showcase of Iowa’s most iconic experiences in art, history, culture, entertainment and food.

“I have a tremendous interest in Iowa art, history and culture, so I am pleased to serve with the First Lady as the honorary chairs for the third annual Celebrate Iowa gala,” Gov. Branstad said today during his weekly press conference. “I invite and encourage all Iowans to join us on December 12th at the State Historical Museum.”

During the gala, Norman Lear will be recognized for the 45th anniversary of his movie, “Cold Turkey,” being filmed in Greenfield, Winterset and Des Moines. He also produced television shows, including “The Andy Williams Show,” “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” and classic films such as “The Princess Bride” and “Stand by Me.” He recently released a new memoir entitled “Even This I Get to Experience.”

“The Celebrate Iowa gala offers attendees a wonderful opportunity to support and enjoy Iowa arts, culture and history,” said Reynolds. “As we travel across the state, Governor Branstad and I often hear from business leaders and young professionals about the importance of the arts, culture and quality of life initiatives in their communities.  That’s why, we believe it’s important to continually showcase the many opportunities that are available everyone.”

The Gala menu includes cuisine and cocktails from across Iowa, including Ames, Burlington, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Indianola, Knoxville, LeClaire, Milton, Newton, North Liberty, Norwalk Pleasant Hill and Prairie City. Entertainment will be provided by 45 RPM Quartet, Jive for Five, Bob Dorr and The Blue Band, and a special performance by The Revival Center Church Choir to honor Norman Lear.

Gala attendees are encouraged to post photos on Twitter using hashtag #CelebrateIowa with Donna Reed and ‘American Gothic’ impersonators, and with a living Oscar statue in conjunction with guided tours of the State Historical Museum exhibition “Hollywood in the Heartland.” Guests will also get a sneak preview of a new exhibit, “Making Art Public,” commemorating the 35th Anniversary of Art in State Buildings, and the refurbished “Dream of Arcadia” painting by Gerard H. Nollen will be unveiled in the Museum’s “Saving Our Stuff” exhibition.

“We traveled to all corners of the state this summer, listening to Iowans and experiencing our state’s culture,” said DCA Director Mary Cownie. “This year’s Gala is a celebration all things Iowa and supports art, history and cultural initiatives in our state. We are so pleased Governor Branstad and the First Lady are serving as honorary chairs again this year, and we are thankful for their generous support.”

DCA’s ‘Celebrate Iowa’ Gala will be 7-11 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Visit or contact DCA at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 515-281-8352 for additional information.

Gala proceeds and donations through the Iowa Historical Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization, supports exhibitions and programs offered by the State Historical Society of Iowa and the State Historical Museum of Iowa.


Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds issue statement on passing of Rep. Dwayne Alons PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 13:50

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released the following statements after learning of the passing of Iowa State Representative Dwayne Alons:

“As a retired Brigadier General in the Iowa National Guard and a member of the Iowa Legislature since 1998, Iowa lost a true statesman with the passing of Representative Dwayne Alons,” said Branstad. “I offer my deepest condolences to Dwayne’s wife, Clarice, children, family and friends.”

“As a former state legislator who also grew up in rural Iowa, I admired Representative Alons’ commitment to service and passion for working for rural Iowa,” said Reynolds. “You would be hard-pressed to find a better advocate for Iowa families, agriculture and rural economic development than Dwayne Alons in the Iowa Legislature. My thoughts and prayers are with the Alons family during this difficult time.”

Alons represented House District 4, which is in Sioux County. House District 4 includes the cities of Sioux Center, Orange City, Rock Valley, Hull, Hawarden, Alton, Maurice, Granville Ireton and Chatsworth.

Branstad will set a date for a special election for House District 4 at a later date.


Iowa Constitution Does Not Provide Any Right to Abortion PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tom Ciesielka   
Monday, 01 December 2014 15:03

Thomas More Society Files Amicus Brief Opposing Planned Parenthood's Unfounded Claims

DES MOINES, Iowa, Nov. 26, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Thomas More Society-Omaha attorneys have filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the Iowa Supreme Court supporting the Iowa Board of Medicine's decision to ban webcam abortions. Contrary to Planned Parenthood's claims, the Thomas More Society brief demonstrated, using Iowa precedent, that abortion is not a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution. The brief was filed on behalf of the national Catholic Medical Association, Des Moines and Quad Cities Guilds; Iowans for Life; and Women's Choice Center, Quad Cities.

"The history and tradition of Iowa's constitutional jurisprudence demonstrates that there is not a fundamental right to abortion, and Planned Parenthood did not provide any evidence to the contrary," said Matt Heffron, attorney with the Thomas More Society-Omaha. "The real issue is that Planned Parenthood does not like the Iowa Board of Medicine's decision to essentially outlaw webcam abortions."

In August 2013, the Iowa Board of Medicine voted 8-2 that a physician must be physically present when administering abortion drugs, rather than simply pushing a button at a remote location to provide the drugs after only a video consultation. The new rule prohibited the practice of webcam abortions, which allowed a woman to take abortion-inducing drugs without being physically examined by a doctor before or after the procedure.

Planned Parenthood appealed the Medical Board's ruling, but in August 2014, Polk County District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell upheld the ban on webcam abortions.

Planned Parenthood has appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, arguing that the rule promulgated by the Iowa Board of Medicine should be found unconstitutional, and that abortion should be considered a fundamental right under the Iowa constitution.

ACLU submitted an amicus brief supporting Planned Parenthood, declaring: "The rights of...abortion are recognized throughout the Iowa Constitution." That statement was demonstrably false.

The Thomas More Society brief, authored by Heffron and attorney Christine Delgado, contests Planned Parenthood's and the ACLU's claim, demonstrating that:
  1. Abortion is not mentioned in the language of the Iowa Constitution nor in its constitutional debates.
  2. Neither the Iowa Legislature nor the Iowa courts have ever recognized a right to abortion under the Iowa Constitution.

The Thomas More Society attorneys also were assisted by Omaha attorney Rob Black and Des Moines attorney Patrick Smith.

The Thomas More Society brief also explains that Planned Parenthood's assertions that webcam abortions are "exceptionally safe" ignore the extensive evidence presented at hearings before the Board concerning the dangers of drug-induced abortion. These dangers are also documented expansively in the amicus briefs submitted by Americans United for Life and Alliance Defending Freedom.

Thomas More Society-Omaha attorneys previously assisted the Iowa Assistant Attorney General with constitutional research that the Medical Board's ban is both constitutionally sound and in keeping with Iowa's history of regulation of abortion in the interest of women's safety.

Read the Thomas More Society amicus brief, filed with the Iowa Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. and Dr. Jill Meadows, M.D. v. Iowa Board of Medicine, here.

About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society is a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends and fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Thomas More Society Omaha branch opened in September 2012.

Governor Quinn Statement on President Obama’s Visit to Illinois to Discuss Immigration Reform PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dave Blanchette   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 09:42
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement on U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Illinois to discuss his recent executive action to start to fix our nation’s immigration system:

“I applaud President Obama’s initiative in taking key steps to fix our broken immigration system.

“Our President understands that we are a nation of immigrants and it is our diversity that has made our country so great.

“No family should live in fear of unjust separation from their loved ones especially in our country and especially in Illinois.

“In Illinois we want everyone to have an opportunity for success. That includes access to education, healthcare and employment. Our Welcoming Centers are just one of the many ways that we are helping immigrants get access to the simple rights they deserve.

“We are a diverse state in a diverse nation and passing comprehensive immigration reform is the moral and compassionate thing to do for the millions of individuals across our country.”

The Governor today greeted President Obama at O’Hare International Airport and attended his roundtable with community leaders and his speech on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center in Chicago.


Governor Quinn Statement on Abner Mikva Receiving Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katie Hickey   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 16:27

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today made the following statement regarding Abner Mikva, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama:

“There are few people in our nation’s history who have served the public for as many years and in as many ways as Abner Mikva.

“As a former state lawmaker, U.S. Representative, federal judge and key White House aide, he has always served the public with integrity, dedication and hard work.

“Through his historic career and his Mikva Challenge, which helps engage young people in politics, he has helped ensure that everyone has an opportunity to get involved in the political process, and our country is better for it.

“I join the people of Illinois in congratulating Abner Mikva on receiving our nation’s highest civilian honor.”


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