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Lobbyists in basement look to Harkin

The Linn County Board of Supervisors ticked off a sprawling, ambitious federal wishlist Wednesday in a meeting with D.C. lobbyists in the basement of the Palmer Building, 123 Fifth St. SE.

The supervisors want federal help with a lot of things: domestic violence, dental care for veterans, stopping a post-flood spike in sexually transmitted diseases, the downtown steam system, juvenile detention, computers in police cars and Highway 100, to name a few.

The discussion, dominated by Linda Langston, rambled on for about 90 minutes, as lobbyists Mary Pat Lawrence and Mary Langowski jotted things down in big yellow legal pads. They’re lawyers by training, and work for the Chicago-based firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

“For our purposes, we have a deadline,” said Lawrence, in one of a few gentle attempts to bring the conversation into focus. “And that deadline is really the end of the month.”

Lawrence and Langowski will sharpen the supervisors requests for money, choose the ones they think will work and prepare them to be given to Iowa’s Congressional delegation. Their expertise is in knowing which pots of federal money can be tapped for which kinds of projects, and in how to present funding requests.

Lawrence and Langowski are also meeting with the city and the chamber of commerce on this visit, and they emphasized that all entities in the Cedar Rapids area should speak with “one voice” in Washington. This was also emphasized by several other people in the room.

One advantage for Iowa is Thomas Richard Harkin, 23-year veteran of the Senate and a high-ranking member of the appropriations committee.

When Auditor Joel Miller asked Lawrence what the odds are that Cedar Rapids/Linn County will get much federal money, she said it remains to be seen, but added this: “Your state is extremely blessed to have an appropriator.”

Filed under: County Government, Flood, , ,

10 Responses

  1. Brent Oleson says:

    It might of helped if the County had a prepared agenda for the meeting with the lobbyists and yellow pad of its own – for action items that were well thought out. It felt like I was helplessly watching a child suffering from ADHD who just inhaled all their Halloween candy trying to convey to an adult what they wanted – and that never goes well under those conditions.

  2. Seth says:

    Wow man, what a ridiculously insensitive analogy.. seriously? ADHD kid on Halloween candy?

    I just can’t wait til you are in involved in Linn County’s mental health operations. You obviously have quite a grasp on mental issues and the sensitivity surrounding them….

  3. “Your state is extremely blessed to have an appropriator.”

    If that’s the case and the job of our Congressional delegation is to represent Iowa, Linn County, and Cedar Rapids, then WHY do we need to hire lobbyists and pay them money to lobby our own Congressional delegation?

    Senator Harkin is on the Appropriations Committee and Senator Grassley is on the Budget and Finance Committees. Can’t we lobby them ourselves? Better yet, why do we have to lobby them? Are they out of touch with what happened to us?

  4. Brent Oleson says:

    Oh, Seth, please don’t be the PC policeman. This is a blog and it is supposed to be a lighthearted analysis of issues. My committment to mental health issues is not questionable, so don’t go there. And if you must know, I was diagnosed with ADHD, so I guess I am making fun of myself as well. Grow a thicker skin.

    You wouldn’t be the Seth (Moomey?) who is the very active liberal Democrat blogger who worked against my election would you? Just curious as it helps me evaluate your criticism of me.

  5. Seth says:

    Yeah Brent, and if I really wanted my last name out there I would have used it, but thanks. You got me.

    I understand that this is a blog, and if you want to make excuses for an elected representatives making jokes about ADHD (regardless of whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with it) go right ahead.. and I will continue to let you know how ridiculous you make yourself look. It not like you are joe shmo, i guess i expect more professionalism from my representatives.

    And how did I work against your election, anyway? My focus was actually on a couple of other races, but I guess if me voting against you constitutes working against you, I did do that.

    – Seth Moomey

  6. Brent Oleson says:


    You shouldn’t be ashamed to put your name on your opinion. It is called accountability. Good for you. Your finally free of anonimity. Out of the shadows. I am glad I could help.

    I know it seems ridiculous (to you) for an elected official to ACTUALLY say what he thinks. God forbid that. Wouldn’t it be better if you had some slick calculating politician telling you what you want to hear, instead of what he ACTUALLY thinks. Wouldn’t you say we have had enough of that in Linn County? I say what I think, whether it looks ridiculous or not. I enjoying blogging and won’t be chased away by the PC police or because I now hold office. I may not be Joe Schmo — probably more like “Joe the Supervisor.” I am sure it will take you some time to get used to, but since you didn’t support me anyway, I am not sure you ever will.


  7. Seth says:

    Its not about anonymity, its about a right to privacy, but hey would would ya know anything about that, right? Ha ha ha.

    And yet the lack of professionalism truly does surprise me Brent.

    Its not that I am surprised that a an elected official says what he thinks, It that I am surprised that an elected official thinks what you say..

    By all means, please continue to blog.. I wouldnt want to give the impression of trying to run you off.. quite the opposite, really. If the things you are going to say are along the lines of painting pictures of ADHD kids gone wild.. it wont hurt my causes any.

  8. Taxpayer says:

    Brent Olsen is an embarrassment to this community already and he hasn’t even been sworn in yet. Lets all do our part to make sure he doesnt get sworn in again in four years.

  9. Avid Reader says:

    Taxpayer – – you couldn’t have said it any better.

  10. […] 30, 2009 by adambelz The Linn County supervisors have voted to fire the federal lobbying firm that’s been working on the county’s behalf since […]

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