Beach closed

In 2010, my daughter Bailey and I voted together at the Polk County election office. It was her first election and since we lived in different precincts, it was an opportunity to vote at the same place and time. I distinctly remember her question that afternoon, “Mom, what’s this? Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund Amendment?” I explained to her that we had the chance to amend Iowa’s Constitution to permanently protect Iowa’s impaired streams, rivers and lakes and to invest in clean water for future generations. It’s also known by the acronym IWLL – Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy.

Since voters approved the 2010 measure by an overwhelming 67% with bi-partisan support, the legislature has not followed through.  Governor Terry Branstad and Governor Kim Reynolds made it clear that they did not support raising the sales tax by 3/8 cents, which is how the trust would be funded. The legislature and the governor have not been able to pass meaningful legislation to clean up Iowa’s water, despite the will of the people clearly stated in the voting booth.

To continuously mitigate Iowa’s water pollution problem, we have to commit to passing the IWLL (Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy) 3/8 sales tax increase. I support implementing the voters’ wishes, clearly expressed in 2010 and confirmed again in the latest Iowa Poll. Iowans care about clean water, and so do I.

In addition to supporting IWLL, I’m advocating for conservation farming practices such as planting cover crops and restoring wetlands that naturally filter agricultural runoff. I also support limiting CAFOs, (confined animal feeding operations) in the state of Iowa. The detrimental affects of polluted water negatively affects our quality of life and it’s very expensive to mitigate. The Des Moines Water Works is located in Senate District 21 – and the equipment needed to remove nitrates from our water will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. This cost will be borne by Des Moines Water Works customers in Central Iowa.

The financial impact of polluted water on tourism and recreation in Iowa is well documented. Every summer when nitrate runoff shuts down our lakes and beaches – businesses that depend on tourism and even state-owned properties lose money and Iowa gets negative publicity which further lowers tourism numbers.

As an advertising and public relations professional, one of my accounts was the Iowa Department of Tourism. I know how important outdoor recreation is to the promotion of our state. As Iowa prepares to invest millions of dollars into our rivers, trails and parks – we must ensure the that water flowing through these attractions is clean and safe.

Millions of dollars are at stake. We have to do better! I plan to be a leader in promoting water quality legislation that will truly solve the problem – not kick the can down the road for our children and grandchildren to mitigate.

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