It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often: a chance to give the governor your two cents in person. More then 100 people from all over the state showed up Wednesday night to do just that. But the majority never got their chance.
“I had wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to speak here today, but when I see what has transpired, and I see the front row, mainly the room frankly, full of business and corporate interests while concerned citizens are sitting outside that very door, prohibited from peacefully attending this meeting, when it’s supposed to be a public meeting,” said Deborah Bunka from Ames.
Only 10 people were allowed into the room at a time, while the rest chanted loudly outside the door.
The governor’s office says there wasn’t enough room to accommodate everyone, instead, for the first time, they offered live streaming of the hearing.
Those that made it in within the hour allotted were given 3 minutes to speak. Some came with concerns, others came to thank the governor and commend him, and still others came with requests.
Sue Huppert, representing Des Moines University, was one of those people with a request.
She asked the governor to fund a bill passed last year created to encourage physicians to stay in the state of Iowa.
“This was a very open process. We walked in and the chief of staff was there, the budget director as well as the governor and Lt. Governor, so we had a chance to make a personal request of them,” said Huppert.
In addition to hearing from the public, Lieutenant governor Kim Reynolds says the public hearing also gives her a chance to clear up any misinformation she hears. Reynolds says the event shows where her office can do a better job of explaining policy or legislation to the public.