Mike Gronstal, from Council Bluffs, has been the Senate Democratic Leader since 1997. First elected to office in 1982, Gronstal served one term in the Iowa House (1983-85), and is currently in his seventh term in the Senate. He is the State Democratic Leader in the Iowa Senate and has been a lifelong advocate for public education and smart politics.


We are fortunate to have Mike Gronstal represent us, our students, our schools and our profession. In the current political climate it is vital that you understand that we need YOU. Your time, your talent, and--eventually--your treasure will be needed to make sure that we reverse the trend of legislators who are willing to sell out our children for corporate tax cuts.

Iowa’s cultural and recreational opportunities support economic growth

Summer is when many Iowa families are out and about, looking for fun things to do.

Iowa has much to offer at our state, county and local parks, and at our numerous rivers and lakes. There are also many cultural attractions and events, ranging from small town celebrations to large music and art festivals.
Our efforts to make Iowa a great place to live, work and play have earned national recognition. Congressional Quarterly Press ranks Iowa second in the nation for quality of life. In fact, we’ve been among the top 10 most livable states for 18 straight years and placed in the top five for 13 of those years. In addition, Congressional Quarterly Press placed us ninth for number of state parks, recreational areas and natural areas.

Iowa’s image as one of the most livable states in the nation helps attract new residents and businesses, while keeping citizens and companies in our state.

We are continuing to invest in Iowa’s recreational areas and are helping communities promote their own attractions through:

** Iowa Great Places, which focuses state resources to help specific Iowa communities, regions and neighborhoods cultivate the unique and authentic qualities that make them special (

** Historic Preservation Tax Incentives, which help restore Iowa’s historic buildings and revitalize the surrounding areas (

** Community Attraction & Tourism and River Enhancement Community Attraction & Tourism. These programs help communities capitalize on local assets to develop attractions and increase economic activity (

** Resource Enhancement and Protection provides state funds to local groups investing in natural resources projects, historic preservation and cultural opportunities (

** Water quality and soil conservation programs are helping restore Iowa lakes and improve watersheds to increase outdoor recreational opportunities and boost local economic activity (

** Creating and expanding Iowa’s trail system to increase recreational opportunities for bikers, hikers, canoeists and kayakers, and snowmobilers and ATV enthusiasts, while helping grow businesses along the trails (

By responsibly building on our state’s legacy, we’ll draw more visitors to Iowa, while creating economic activity and local jobs. It all adds up to making Iowa a great place to live, work and play long into the future.

If you’re looking for fun and interesting activities this summer—or anytime—be sure to check out the Iowa Tourism site at and the State Parks site at

Protecting and enhancing Iowa’s natural resources

Iowa’s natural resources are the foundation for our state’s wealth and well being. Our land, soil and water support Iowa’s most important industries, including agriculture, renewable fuels and tourism.

A recent study by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources found Iowa’s natural resources are improving in a number of areas, including water quality and that more Iowans are active in the outdoors.

More than $100 million in state and federal funding was invested in 2009 to stimulate the economy and boost employment. In addition to the immediate economic boost, we’ll enjoy the environmental benefits for years to come. You can see the full State of the Environment report at

Here are a couple major efforts we’ve been working on in the Legislature that you may have heard about this year:

** Preventing future flood damage and improving water quality.

A new Watershed Planning Advisory Council, which includes a diverse group of stakeholders, will make recommendations for water quality and flood damage prevention, while also monitoring existing watershed improvement programs.

Watershed boundaries don’t end at the city limits or county lines. That’s why we also made it possible for local communities to create Watershed Management Authorities. These organizations will bring local governments together to coordinate efforts in a watershed.

To learn more, go to the Rebuild Iowa Office Web site at and click on “2010 Watershed Legislative Guide and Overview.”

** Establishing a dedicated fund to support parks, trails, fish, wildlife and agricultural lands.

Iowans will go to the polls in November to decide whether to create a fund to conserve our natural resources. If the Natural Resources and Outdoor Restoration Act is approved by voters, a constitutionally protected fund will be created to conserve Iowa’s natural resources.

Funding available for community-based energy projects

Dollar-for-dollar matching grants of up to $50,000 are now available for community-based energy projects.

Examples of qualified projects through the Power Fund Community Grants Program include:

** Promoting local energy efficiency and renewable energy.
** Establishing a community energy efficiency plan.
** Training or creating jobs in the energy area.
** Creating public awareness about energy issues.
** Helping community members understand how to identify and implement energy improvements.

The Iowa Office of Energy Independence is directing this program and the deadline is July 30. For complete details and an application, go to and click on “Iowa Power Fund Community Grants,” or contact Kristin Hanks at 515-725-0440 or


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