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Make sure your voice is heard by our elected officials

Published: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 11:32 a.m. CDT

Monday morning, the Iowa General Assembly will convene for its 2014 session. This is your cue as a citizen to become engaged with our elected officials, to let them know what we expect of them.

In general, this session, which will serve as a prelude to the 2014 General Election, is expected to be “uneventful.” But, of the few issues that are expected to be discussed by the Iowa House and Senate, almost all of them will have an impact on the residents of Newton and Jasper County.

One of the benefits of being an Iowan is the grassroots nature of our state’s form of governance. If you want to go to the Iowa Statehouse and talk to your legislator, all you really have to do is go there and have him or her paged.

Of course, it’s usually better to have an appointment scheduled ahead of time. That’s where engagement becomes so important.

Whether you voted to elect Rep. Dan Kelley and Sen. Dennis Black, or Rep. Greg Heartsill and Sen. Amy Sinclair (who represent the southeast corner of Jasper County), or not, their job is to represent your interests. To help them do their job, you must share your opinions and thoughts with them.

Hearing from even a handful of concerned citizens may cause a legislator to pay attention to a particular issue and encourage him or her to rethink how he or she intends to vote.

There are a number of different ways to lobby your legislators. You can call, write, email or schedule a visit at the Statehouse. But remember: in general, the more personal your lobbying contact is, the more effective it will be.

You don’t have to be an expert on a particular issue to make your voice be heard. You just need to speak up and speak out often.

• • •

The preceding constitutes the opinion of the Daily News Editorial Board. Readers may respond with letters to the editor sent to P.O. Box 967, Newton, IA 50208, or at newsroom@newtondailynews.com via email.

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