Politics & Elections
Braley-A Hard Working Iowan that Gets Results PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Friday, 17 August 2012 14:34

Most Iowans know that U.S. Representatives write laws that affect many Americans. However, it is less known that Representatives provide assistance to their constituents every day of the week. Representative Braley has helped thousands of Iowans cut through red tape, fight for federal assistance, and improve their personal situations.

Rep. Braley’s proudest accomplishments include helping Iowans and ensuring their needs are met. Many of Rep. Braley’s legislative accomplishments have been inspired by these constituents, and he works hard every day to ensure that Iowans get what they need from the federal government.

Helping Iowans is incredibly important, and the following includes just a few examples of the thousands of Iowans that Rep. Braley has assisted.

With that, here are a few examples of Bruce Braley’s Constituent Assistance Cases:

Getting Results for Iowa Businesses and Workers

Helped Russell Electric keep its doors open, Bettendorf:

  • Jeff Lanum is the CEO of Russell Electric, a local electric company in Bettendorf. The company was on the verge of closing the doors because the Department of Labor had not paid almost $500,000 to the company. After Braley pushed the DOL, it paid Russell Electric, which was able to save jobs and keep the business open.

Job Training at Community Colleges in Eastern Iowa:

  • Rep. Braley created the New Era Rural Technology Grant Program when he passed the first bill he introduced, the New Era Act, into law.  Then, he helped get grant funds for Iowa community colleges to train the next generation of biofuels technicians.  Rep. Braley secured job training funding for Hawkeye Community College (Waterloo), Eastern Iowa Community College (Quad Cities) and Northeast Iowa Community College (Calmar) to provide the job skills that Iowans will need to fill the biofuels workforce.

Getting Results for Iowa Veterans

Accessible Housing for the Connolly Family, Dubuque:

  • Andrew Connolly was an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who served in the Iowa National Guard 1-133rd.  He lost the use of his legs due to cancer near his spine, and the cancer then spread.  Andrew and his wife, Jenny, have a severely disabled young son, Brody, who will need medical care his entire life.  When Andrew’s son was born he and his wife knew they would need a home that could accommodate his needs.  That need became more urgent after Andrew’s disease progressed.  Rep. Braley helped Andrew get an upgraded VA disability rating, and secured a special VA housing grant to build a new home for the family, which is fully handicapped-accessible.  Andrew passed away in August 2011, though Jenny and Brody now have a fully accessible home to live in.  Braley also passed into law the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act, to ensure that more disabled veterans have access to these important housing grants.

Secured Overdue Pay and GI Bill Benefits for Hundreds of Members of the Iowa National Guard, 1-133rd, Statewide:

  • There are roughly 800 Iowa Guard soldiers who are now getting the pay they earned because of Rep. Braley’s work on their behalf, when the Pentagon tried to deny these benefits.  In addition, Rep. Braley made sure that nearly 600 Iowa National Guard soldiers could take advantage of the GI Bill, and some of those have since gone to college thanks to those benefits.

Helping Iowa Veterans get the Medals they’ve Earned – For Example: Zane Thorpe, Dubuque:

  • Zane Thorpe is a WWII veteran who was eligible for several medals including the Purple Heart. He had not received any of the medals for his service. Braley worked with the National Personnel Records Center and Thorpe was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and several other medals. Braley presented the medals immediately following Zane’s 89th birthday.

Fighting for the Well-Being of Iowa troops – For Example: Jennifer Short, Winthrop:

  • Jennifer disagreed with the findings of the Formal Physical Evaluation Board regarding her PTSD as not being combat-related and other discrepancies with the findings of her other medical issues. She contacted the Braley office for help with having the Air Force take a careful look at this and ensure a fair decision based on the evidence submitted. Rep. Braley worked closely with the Air Force on her behalf, and in May 2012 she received a favorable outcome.

Getting Results when Iowans Need it Most – Disaster Relief

Replaced the Iowa Northern Rail Bridge in Waterloo and Cedar River Rail Bridge in Cedar Rapids:

  • These two major rail bridges collapsed in the 2008 flooding, and Rep. Braley was immediately in touch with the rail companies and government officials.  Due to Rep. Braley’s work, Iowa Northern gained access to federal funds which enabled them to quickly rebuild the Waterloo bridge, and CRANDIC railroad received new funds for the Cedar Rapids bridge.  These bridges are critical transportation arteries for Iowa businesses including John Deere and Alliant Energy, and they were rebuilt quickly due to Braley’s prompt action to secure disaster funding.

Secured Replacement Computers for Waverly-Shell Rock Washington Irving Elementary School, Waverly:

  • After the Disasters of 2008, Rep. Braley worked with the Library of Congress to replace 16 destroyed computers at Waverly-Shell Rock Washington Irving Elementary School. Braley presented the computers to the school about four months after the flooding, and they were immediately put into use in the classroom.

Got Results to Clean Up after a Massive Fire, Maquoketa:

  • After a severe fire destroyed many buildings in downtown Maquoketa, the building owners were underinsured so the city was facing huge cleanup costs, coupled with concerns that debris was contaminated with asbestos. Braley helped secure and expedite an Environmental Protection Agency grant to assist with the debris removal, which allowed the city to recover much faster than without that assistance.

Getting Results for Iowa Families

Secured Benefits for the James Family following Tragedy, Dubuque:

  • Dubuque native Holley Lynn James was murdered by her husband while serving in the Armed Forces, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  After she was killed, Rep. Braley helped her father, Jesse James of Dubuque, secure Holley’s benefits so they could be put in a trust for her children, which was completed in 2010.  In 2011, the family again faced problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Rep. Braley was able to secure Tricare coverage for Holley’s children.  Rep. Braley has also introduced the Holley Lynn James Act, and passed legislation into law that will help prevent military sexual assault and domestic violence in the future.

Helped the Craig Family Adopt a Child, Des Moines & Waterloo:

  • In 2011, Rep. Braley was contacted by the Waterloo parents of Jonathan and Kayla Craig.  Jonathan and Kayla were trying to adopt a baby boy from Nigeria, and were being told by the US Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria that their son Joseph’s adoption was not legal. After several weeks of late-night phone calls and emails with the US Embassy and State Department, Braley was able to obtain an IR-4 visa for Joseph. This was the first time an IR-4 visa had ever been issued in Nigeria, and Joseph arrived at his new home in Des Moines in late 2011.  Inspired by Joseph, Rep. Braley introduced the Making Adoption Affordable Act, to improve the adoption tax credits so that more families are able to provide homes to children in need.

Secured Funding for the Mobile Mammography Unit in Northeastern Iowa, West Union:

  • This traveling unit, based in West Union, goes to rural communities to provide free mammograms for Iowa women.  Braley secured the funding for this unit, which was provided to Gundersen Lutheran hospital, who now runs the mobile mammography unit.  As of mid-2011, the Unit had provided over 2,700 mammograms, and found 11 benign and 4 malignant tumors to women in Northeastern Iowa and the other states in the region.

Fought for Increased Pay for Iowa Doctors and Hospitals, Benefiting Seniors:

  • Rep. Braley secured a 5% Medicare pay increase for Iowa doctors in 2010 and 2011, and $33 million in payments to historically-underpaid Iowa hospitals in 2011 and 2012.  These bonus payments, which help make up for years of underpayments due to a flawed Medicare equation, have helped make sure more providers accept Medicare patients, which improves both access and quality of care for Iowa seniors.

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Governor Pat Quinn Statement on Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Erin Wilson   
Friday, 17 August 2012 14:00

Urges Republican Leaders and Legislators to Rise to Occasion, Vote for Nekritz Proposal to Eliminate Unfunded Liability

CHICAGO – August 16, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn issued the following statement on Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

“Today, as Illinois republicans rally at the State Fair, I urge them to rise to the occasion to pass comprehensive pension reform in Illinois.

“At the end of the spring session, republican leaders, who have long advocated for fiscal responsibility, supported a similar proposal that is now being sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz. To ease republican concerns, we have extended the phase-in period to allow school districts and universities to assume their own negotiated salary costs over 12 years. This extended phase-in period will ensure that school districts and universities are responsible for their compensation packages, while preventing property tax increases.

“The statutorily-required pension payments guaranteed under the 1995 ramp make it very clear:  inaction on pension reform is the greatest threat to property taxpayers.

“This fiscal year, the General Assembly cut education by $210 million. These cuts impact our students, while placing tremendous pressure on our school districts, universities and property taxpayers.

“Universities have indicated, in a public letter, that they support the Nekritz proposal and are willing to accept the phased-in cost realignment.

“Without comprehensive pension reform, Illinois is on track to spend more on pensions than education by fiscal year 2016. This is an unsustainable path that will not only shortchange our children when it comes to quality education, but also make the problem worse. Illinois’ unfunded liability will grow to $92 billion next year without bold action.

“Tomorrow, republicans and democrats have an opportunity to be honest with the taxpayers of our state. I urge them to put politics aside, rescue Illinois from empty promises that led to skyrocketing pension costs and pass comprehensive pension reform.”

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Obama for America Releases New Television Ad: “Get Real” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Stephanie Palla   
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 13:31

CHICAGO -- Obama for America released a new television advertisement today titled “Get Real” that highlights the clear choice for voters between Mitt Romney and President Obama’s plans for higher education. Mitt Romney thinks that students should “borrow money” from their parents to help pay for college or start a business, and under the Romney-Ryan budget, college aid would be cut for nearly 10 million students and the tax deduction for college tuition would be eliminated. President Obama, on the other hand, understands that a college education should be in reach for as many students as possible – and that’s why he has overhauled higher education financing by eliminating bank middlemen from college loans and used the savings to double funding for Pell Grants.

“Get Real” will air in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia.

Please click HERE to watch the new ad.

 
The Romney-Ryan Position on the Wind Energy Tax Credit is Publicly Rebuked in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Stephanie Palla   
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 10:40

CHICAGO -- With President Obama continuing to campaign in Iowa today, it’s important to note how local editorial boards have publicly rebuked Mitt Romney’s opposition to the Wind Energy Tax Credit, which is set to expire at the end of this year. Unlike President Obama, who supports extending the tax credit, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to let the credits expire, which would put thousands of jobs at risk in Iowa and other states. The Romney-Ryan plan isn’t just bad for jobs in Iowa – it’s also deeply unpopular with voters and Republican officials in Iowa, who strongly support extending the tax credit and continuing to support the state’s growing wind energy industry.

 

Below is just a snapshot of local coverage from Romney-Ryan’s opposition to the tax credit:

 

Romney should revisit wind tax issue

Cedar Rapids Gazette // Editorial

Romney opposes an extension of the federal wind energy tax credit when it expires this year. That stand is at odds with the entire Iowa congressional delegation, including Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King and Sen. Chuck Grassley, all Republicans, as well as Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who says Romney just needs a little more education on the topic.  ...We agree with the governor.

 

Our opinion: On wind energy, Romney blows it

Dubuque Telegraph Herald // Editorial

Romney reveals a lack of understanding of the importance of wind energy. …Among the flaws in this logic is that subsidies give wind an unfair advantage. Over coal? Over natural gas? These industries have the infrastructure built over a century of being consumers' only option. As wind energy attempts to make inroads, the subsidies are merely helping it gain footing.

 

The Register editorial: Wind tax credits should be extended

Des Moines Register  // Editorial

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, may have tilted at the wrong windmills when he said he would allow wind energy tax credits to expire. The incentive for erecting wind generators is very popular in Iowa and other Midwestern states that are harnessing the clean power of the prairie zephyrs. ...Iowa is especially big on wind. This state is ranked No. 2, behind only Texas, in wind generation capacity, and it employs more people than any other state building and maintaining wind towers and turbines.

 

Turning up the heat on renewable fuels

Spencer Daily Publisher // Paula Buenger, Publisher

Add to the conversation the Romney campaign's pledge to do away with the wind energy tax credits if he is elected. Without support for ethanol or wind energy, the US suddenly becomes much more dependent on foreign oil and, as a result, more interested in the affairs of state in countries we really would rather not be in. I have a feeling the heat will stay high on this issue for a long time to come.

 

Editorial: Wanting more details on Romney’s PTC position

West Branch Times // Editorial

Staff members of the likely Republican candidate have recently said that he would favor ending the PTC, but they did not state whether he would favor phasing it out or ending it immediately. The PTC directly benefits Acciona Windpower in West Branch because it provides tax credits of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour from wind facilities in service before Dec. 31, 2012. Both Republicans and Democrats from Iowa’s Congressional caucus support the PTC because it helps support 6,000 to 7,000 jobs here.

 

Wind energy tax breaks are bipartisan in Iowa

Ames Tribune // Editorial

The Iowa Republicans are right. Wind is important. It’s big business here, and Iowa is a leader in the industry… But wind energy is also a young industry, competing with the deeply entrenched fossil fuel industry — which also receives billions in government subsidies every year. Wind needs a help a little longer to get established.

 

 

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Pro-life Bus Tour Aims to Expose and Defeat Obama & his Extreme Team PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Politics & Elections
Written by Jameson Cunningham   
Monday, 13 August 2012 14:15
“Women Speak Out: Abortion is Not Health Care” Travels through Five Swing States

Washington, D.C. ─ Today, the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced a five state “Women Speak Out: Abortion is Not Health Care” bus tour through swing states, August 20 to 30.  The bus tour will draw attention to President Obama’s extreme record on abortion and be led by former Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and pro-life nurse and whistleblower Jill Stanek, who exposed then state-senator Barack Obama’s refusal to protect live children who survived the abortion procedure.

The bus tour will travel to 30 cities throughout the key swing states of Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.  National and local pro-life women leaders will call for the defeat of President Obama and pro-abortion House and Senate candidates including Christie Vilsack (IA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Tim Kaine (VA), and Bill Nelson (FL). A tentative schedule is available at www.SBAbus.com

Local and statewide pro-life women leaders will join up with the bus at various stops, including: Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH-02), Dr. Alveda C. King, Star Parker, Polly Jordan, wife of Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04), and Melissa Ohden, pro-life speaker and abortion survivor.

“President Obama began his term in office speaking about 'common ground' on the abortion issue, however, Obama has repeatedly shown that there are no limits to his abortion extremism.  From expanding taxpayer funding of abortion under the guise of ‘health care’, to forcing taxpayers to underwrite the nation’s #1 abortion business, Planned Parenthood, refusing to defend baby girls from the deadly discrimination of sex-selective abortion, to exporting taxpayer funding of abortion overseas, President Obama’s record on abortion is nothing but extreme,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List. “President Obama and his team of fellow abortion extremists in Congress do not represent the interests of American women and families. We aim to see them defeated come November.”

“President Obama’s extremism on abortion is completely out of line with mainstream Americans. As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama refused to protect born children who survived the abortion procedure, preferring to allow them to die abandoned in hospital closets” said Jill Stanek, nurse turned pro-life activist who witnessed newborn babies left to die at Christ Hospital in Illinois. “Americans deserve to know that President Obama has no limits when it comes to abortion before heading to the ballot box in November.”

For a complete list of bus tour co-sponsors, tour schedule, as well as to learn more about President Obama’s record on abortion, visit www.SBAbus.com

The Susan B. Anthony List, and its connected Political Action Committee, the SBA List Candidate Fund, are dedicated to electing candidates and pursuing policies that will reduce and ultimately end abortion. To that end, the SBA List will emphasize the election, education, promotion, and mobilization of pro-life women.

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