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Bender deserves credit, too

9/17/2014

In the Sept. 11, 2014, issue of Cityview, Civic Skinny wrote a great article on our outgoing senator, Tom Harkin. Although Tom had the vision and the caring to help Iowans and many many others throughout his career, I think it is important to note that it was a great staff that put the “pedal to the metal” and made things happen. Although I found a number of staff were very good over the years, none were as good, bright or hardworking and understood the inner workings of Congress — and specifically the Senate — as well as Richard Bender.

As far as I could tell, I never knew he had a title but he sure knew how to get things done. He was probably the best strategic thinker I have ever encountered. He knew every play in the book. He knew the arcane rules of the Senate, he knew the players and he played it like a game of chess. The results were those accomplishments that were outlined in the column regarding Tom. I was in and out of D.C. for various reasons over a 30-year period, and I never met anyone better then Richard Bender. The Senator will be sorely missed for his values and his bringing home the bacon, but for quiet, behind the curtain work, Richard will always be remembered.

By the way, if memory serves me right he was the one who developed the Iowa Caucus.

Dick Goodson
–Des Moines

House Republicans’ vote against ‘Dreamers’ was a vote against jobs

Jim Duncan’s “American Dreamers,” (Sept. 11) reminds us that historically we all owe our heritage to immigration, and our future is dependent on immediately fixing a broken immigration system.

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Duncan profiles several immigrants in Iowa who demonstrate the huge contributions they have made to our state due to their amazing entrepreneurial skills. One only needs to look at the number of new immigrant-founded businesses sprouting up all over Iowa to confirm the powerful impacts these new immigrants have made to Iowa job growth.

The corporate world understands the critical need to foster immigrant entrepreneurs because they are twice as likely to start new businesses. Tech giants like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, AOL, Microsoft and others are lobbying for immigration reform because their businesses require these new immigrants to create new start-ups.

Agriculture understands the importance of immigration reform to provide needed new farm workers confirmed by the Farm Bureau Federation’s ads demanding passage.

However, head-in-the-sand House Republicans not only refused to fix immigration in an act of reckless defiance, they voted to deport the “Dreamers.” That irrational vote was a vote to deport the very type of immigrants Duncan profiled as future leaders in Iowa.

Rick Smith
–Urbandale

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