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LETTERS

Letters to the editor: Vote to retain Iowa justices and judges, and our state's impartial system

Letters to the editor

Vote to retain Iowa justices and judges, and our state's impartial system

No matter your political leanings in this highly divided world, there is one thing all Iowans should agree on: We don’t need politics in our courts. Iowans depend on the courts to rule fairly and impartially, based solely on the facts and the law.

Iowa judges are routinely called upon to make difficult and sometimes controversial decisions. Judges are not, however, politicians who cater to the concerns of special interest groups, campaign donors, or otherwise pander to political partisans who pressure them to rule a certain way. Iowans are fortunate our state constitution provides that Iowa judges are to be selected on merit, after a rigorous process that evaluates their background, knowledge of law, and ethics.

A judicial retention vote should not be a referendum on the popularity of a judge’s decisions. If we vote “no” simply because we disagree with a decision of a judge, or because we align with a political party not in power when the judge was appointed, we unfairly politicize our court system. A retention election very simply asks whether the judge has done his or her job with competency and integrity.

We urge all Iowa voters to visit www.judicialfacts.org for information about Iowa’s merit selection process and the qualifications of the judges and justices on the 2020 ballot. A performance evaluation by the attorneys who appear before the judges and justices is available on the website for voters who do not know these judges personally. All Iowa judges and justices on the ballot this year scored high marks.

Vote “yes” to retain the justices and judges this November to ensure Iowa’s fair and impartial courts remain.

— Jerry Schnurr III, President, Iowa State Bar Association and Guy Cook, Chair, ISBA Fair & Impartial Courts Committee

No candidate should ever 'concede' an election

Why? An election is not a game or a fight between the candidates, in which one contestant “cries uncle” when defeat seems likely. An election is an expression of the voters’ choice of representation in the government. Reporting the outcome is the responsibility of the state auditor’s office. Of course, in the case of a presidential election the Electoral College votes must be cast and counted before there is an official winner.

At first glance concession seems like a gracious gesture on the part of the candidate who appears to be losing the race. However, it suggests that the outcome of the race is the candidates’ choice to make, not the determination of the will of the people. In the current climate, with doubt being cast on the legitimacy of the election process, it is imperative that the voting public have faith that the election results are determined only by a complete count of the eligible ballots.

Voting in the COVID-19 pandemic adds an additional complication to the election process. I am grateful for Secretary of State Paul Pate’s efforts to make voting safer for all of us by mailing out absentee ballot requests to every registered voter in Iowa. However, counting the large number of mail-in ballots may take longer than in a normal year.  We, the people, may have to squelch our desire for instant gratification and allow ample time for the auditors to complete a full and accurate count. We should refrain from speculating about who won until the official results are made public.

Candidates, please let the auditors complete their work and announce the results.  Then offer each other congratulations on a race well run. As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”

— Janet Dixon Ames

Faisal would move Story County forward

Experience, knowledge, vision, and results. These words perfectly describe Latifah Faisal, candidate for Story County Board of Supervisors. They are why she will be getting my vote. I encourage you to consider a vote for her too.

Experience. Latifah developed and implemented the Fines Recovery and Driver’s License Reinstatement Program in 2008 working closely with the board of supervisors and the county attorney. Her work history in grant writing, victim services, and restitution recovery give her a wide range of background she can bring to the job as supervisor. A volunteer with several organizations for over a decade, she has a genuine understanding of the challenges facing many residents.

Knowledge. With 15 years of service to Story County residents as a county employee, Latifah is versed on procedures and policies already in place that are needed to get the job done as our supervisor efficiently. She’ll be able to hit the ground running to improve the quality of life for our citizens.

Vision. High quality mental health and disability services, broadband access in our rural communities, innovative transportation services and affordable housing, not to mention clean water and green energy are all priorities she’s campaigned about for a better Story County.

Results: Over 2.2 million dollars has been deposited into the county’s general fund from the Fines Recovery Program she developed, and nearly 1 million dollars has been returned to victims of crime.

Regardless of how you choose to vote this election year, please vote and consider Latifah Faisal for the Story County Board of Supervisors. It’s OUR Story and I believe she’s the candidate to move us all forward to a prosperous future.

— Michelle Fullerton, Nevada

Ernst has changed

Due to the Trump administration’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant I worked at closed permanently. What is Senator Joni Ernst doing right now? She’s working on ramming a Supreme Court nomination through instead of working to get a coronavirus relief package sent out to the many people that are currently facing a similar situation.

It is true what those ads say, Joni Ernst has changed. When she went to Washington she said she was going to “make ‘em squeal.” The only ones “squealing” are the families back here in Iowa who are trying to make it to the end of the month.

Joni Ernst is much more concerned with a Supreme Court appointment to take away the ACA, the health care millions are relying on, reversing Roe vs. Wade, and attacking same-sex marriage. Ernst cares more about that than she does about helping the families back in Iowa who are hurting. Whether it be because they have found themselves unemployed, or hurting because one of their loved ones is gone from the deadly virus that she and her party have politicized and cast doubt on the severity of since day one.

— Sue Buckley, Boone

Support UWSC's Live United campaign

Thank you to the United Way of Story County for the crucial support they provide to our non-profit organization, All Aboard for Kids. We offer an inclusive 4-week summer day camp that brings autism spectrum disorder children (grades K-8) and their peers together in a fun, structured learning environment.

Due to this year’s extraordinary circumstances, like so many other summer programs, we were unable to hold camp. Both our participants and our dedicated staff were extremely disappointed but so very understanding. We are all looking forward to Summer 2021, when — with the continued support of United Way — we can continue providing unique summer opportunities for children and families facing the challenges of autism.

Please support United Way of Story County’s 2020 LIVE UNITED campaign, and help them continue creating positive impact in our community!

— Lisa McCarty, executive director of All Aboard for Kids