Editorial: In 2014, talk to the Bobs
Op-Ed · January 17, 2014

Last year’s U.S. Congress was, by some news accounts, one of the least productive in American history. We do not wish to see that said of the Iowa legislative branch, so we have a suggestion: Talk to the Bobs.

We don’t want to equate doing little with failure. Change for the sake of change is not helpful. Will Rogers noted that the difference between death and taxes is that “death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”

But doing little when we know Washington is rife with conflict strongly suggests gridlock. Yet voters, taxpayers and constituents at large want compromise. So talk with the Bobs.

State Sen. Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat, and state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican, are actually pretty good at working together. Kaufmann, like his father, Jeff, whom he replaced in the Iowa House, both like — even prefer, if you can imagine — the state House and Senate be controlled by opposing parties. They suggest that will force the sides to compromise, that no one party can blame the other when legislation adversely affects the state. We’re all in this together, baby.

So call the Bobs.

Both Dvorsky and Kaufmann visit West Branch from time to time. Both have opinion pieces in our newspaper that close with their contact information — e-mail, phone and address. Kaufmann visited the West Branch City Council last week to bring them up to date on legislative issues and give them a chance to ask questions.

It may be hard to believe, but legislators agree on a lot of things. Many bills that pass the state Congress cause little controversy and pass with large majorities and little discussion. So don’t assume that if an issue bothers you, it will bother them as well. Many times, elected officials have no opinion either way and would love to hear a citizen’s opinion to give them guidance.

Let us be the ones who help them out, especially if people in other towns do not bother to pick up the phone or zip along an e-mail.

The state legislative session just recently got under way, so … let’s talk to the Bobs.

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