Sunday, January 23, 2022

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Library should buy local


In the “paid for by taxpayers in Des Moines” column last week, it appears Eurest Services of Illinois was paid nearly $5,000 for janitorial services for the Public Library of Des Moines and AmSam of Florida picked up another $500 for bath tissue and other sanitation items for the library. Are they really cheaper than a local or at least an Iowa supplier? I hope so. If not, let’s shop local first.

Mike Rowley

Welcome the immigrants

Considering the fact that Iowa’s population is aging and not increasing, it would seem practical for us to welcome immigrants, including refugee children. We already have a shortage of both skilled and unskilled labor in the rural areas. Who is going to take care of the seniors in their homes, assisted living and nursing homes when our present caretakers retire?

Because of declining enrollment, rural schools are either closing or have slashed their budgets. Should we not invest in the education of immigrants to grow our workforce? Iowa would have a negative population growth, instead of a small increase in growth, if it were not for the immigrant population. Rejecting immigrants could lead to a loss of state tax revenue as well as a worker shortage.

Gov. Branstad should be leading Iowans in accepting the Central American refugees like Gov. Ray did in the 1970s.


When did it happen that Americans have become so scared that they are afraid of Central American refugee children? When did it happen that we are willing to waste millions of tax dollars on photo opts?

The image of Gov. Perry sending the National Guard to protect us against 7-year-olds is appalling. It is more frightening to watch a Texas lawmaker lead a charge against a school bus full of American children because they thought the bus carried Central American refugee children.

Instead of focusing on being afraid of children, can Americans instead move toward feeling empathy for these children in life-threatening circumstances, as well as any child from a different culture? Surely America has enough resources to care for children in need.

Julie Stewart Ziesman

Branstad’s tragic failure in moral leadership

“A tale of two Governors” Duffy (July 24) reveals the sharp contrast in the way two Republican Governors faced a humanitarian crisis. In the 1970s, when former Governor Ray faced the humanitarian crisis of southeast Asian refugees fleeing violence and chaos in their home countries, he offered a helping hand. He rallied Iowans to demonstrate their moral values, and Iowans responded by assisting these refugees to find new homes in Iowa. Ray was quoted later on his brave leadership, “I didn’t think we could just sit here idly and say, let those people die.”

Gov. Branstad was challenged with a nearly identical humanitarian crisis by Central American children fleeing violence, sex trafficking and death threats in their home countries.

However, Branstad tragically failed his moral leadership test by callously turning away innocent children seeking safety. Branstad refused to answer the door to the knock of these helpless children by claiming it might encourage others.

Branstad’s insensitive refusal is yet another example of today’s ultra-extreme Republican Party that piously claims the religious high ground on life and morality but ducks their responsibility with excuses when asked to exercise those values.

Apparently, Branstad’s answer to the pleas of these refugees is, there’s no room at the inn.

Rick Smith

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