Des Moines Register: Cindy Axne: A little less politics, and a little more progress
By Representative Cindy Axne
I know what you’re thinking. After the Iowa caucuses and the constant onslaught of 2020 news, you’re probably tired of hearing about politics. And it is no controversial statement to say that, more and more, it seems like all we hear about these days is how divided our politics has made us.
But as we approach a solemn anniversary, I’m asking you to join me in taking some time to step back and see the progress we can make when we leave out the politics.
As the first-term congresswoman for Iowa’s 3rd District, I know that I seem like an unlikely messenger for this plea. But before I had this job, I spent a decade in Iowa state government, working under both Republican and Democratic leadership to make state services more efficient and transparent. And when I came to Washington, I saw firsthand the worst example of the dysfunction that partisan politics can produce.
My first day at work was the 13th day of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, a shutdown that made American workers miss paychecks and cost our economy billions of dollars until all parties agreed to end the standoff.
Only weeks later — one year ago next month — our state was hit by some of the most devastating flooding we’ve ever seen.
The floodwaters destroyed homes and businesses, buried livelihoods and wreaked havoc on planting schedules. And as I met those affected, no one cared if I was a Democrat or Republican — they just wanted to know how I could help.
I have sharp elbows when it comes to fighting for what Iowa needs — and I refused to back down when it came to getting flood victims the help they deserve. I chased down the speaker of the House and the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, fighting for changes in emergency disaster funding legislation to cover Iowa. In the end, Congress passed a bipartisan disaster aid bill that we’d amended to include $3 billion for Midwest recovery efforts.