Iowa Senate Republicans remove only Power Fund director under 40

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Carrie La Seur

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Apr 15, 2009, 12:41:25 PM4/15/09
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Hello all,

Some of you have been following the drama of the Iowa Senate confirmation vote on my re-appointment to the Iowa Power Fund board of directors, an unpaid gubernatorial appointment that takes about 3 weeks' work per year.  The vote was taken off the en bloc confirmation list a few weeks ago and moved to an individual vote because of opposition to my confirmation by the Republican caucus and two Democratic senators from in and near Marshalltown.  My discussions with opposing senators confirm that they oppose my confirmation because of my work in opposition to the Marshalltown coal plant proposal.

This morning the vote was 30-20 in favor of confirmation, not enough for the 34 vote supermajority required to confirm.  With this vote, a minority of senators removed the only Power Fund director under the age of 40 and the only representative of the flood devastated Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor.  Ironically, they also removed a member of the negotiating team for a grant to Consumers Energy of Marshalltown for a plug-in hybrid car demonstration project.  As part of that team I've been working to expand the scope of the grant to include training opportunities for Marshalltown Community College students.  I sincerely hope the expanded project goes forward in my absence.  My sole intent as a Power Fund Board member has been to expand Iowa's clean energy economy in the most cost-effective way possible.

During two years on the Power Fund Board I chaired the Administrative Rules committee that put operating rules in place for the Power Fund Board within a matter of months, to meet targets set by the legislature. I've spoke frequently in Board meetings on behalf of flood-affected businesses (including my own, which was displaced for 2 months last summer), met with many local grant applicants to explain the workings of the Power Fund board, assisted staff in organizing a Board meeting and public forum in Mt. Vernon, and sought at every opportunity to expand clean energy economic development opportunities.  To my knowledge, nobody has criticized my performance on the Board, only my job-related activities outside it.  Several members of the Board, including Republicans, campaigned for my confirmation.  Governor Culver expressed his continued full support of my confirmation at a press conference yesterday. 

Fortunately I have many other projects underway and now have three more weeks a year to work on them.  Serving on the Power Fund Board has been a great experience and opportunity.  I greatly appreciate all the support people have expressed to me in the last few weeks.  My only regret is the message this vote sends to other young professionals interested in public service.

Sincerely yours,

--
Carrie La Seur, Ph.D., J.D.
President and Founder
Plains Justice
100 First Street SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
Work: 319-362-2120
Fax: 866-484-2373
http://www.plainsjustice.org

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