Conversations with Your Congresswoman Finkenauer makes infrastructure tour

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Congresswoman Abby Finkenhauer

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

Northeast Iowans last week had an opportunity to meet one-on-one with Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer during an infrastructure-focused tour that also included small group meetings with constituents. In addition to a stop in her hometown of Dubuque and a tour of a storm-damaged school in Waterloo, Congresswoman Finkenauer spent an hour at the Guttenberg Public Library listening to concerns of residents there.

Finkenauer, who represents Iowa’s first congressional district, serves on the committee of transportation and infrastructure. Her “Conversations with Your Congresswoman” events are designed to highlight the important work being done and still needing to be done with flood mitigation and aging infrastructure.

“Every year that we wait, especially when we’re talking about our locks and dams, the more that’s going to cost us in the long run,” Finkenauer told reporters during her Dubuque visit. “And those locks and dams are 30 years out of date and if one of them goes down I mean what that costs our economy here in Iowa, our farmers, we just cannot afford the hit.”

Finkenauer says it is her goal to bring attention to structurally deficient bridges and dams like those she saw in Dubuque because she says Iowa does not get enough attention from the nation’s capitol.

“For a long time, Washington hasn’t listened to the heartland,” she said. “My whole job is to listen to my constituents and to give Iowans a seat at the table in Washington. That’s why I’m visiting Guttenberg and towns across the district to have individual, face-to-face conversations with folks about what they care about. It’s also why I had a small business owner from State Center come to Congress to talk about how we can help entrepreneurs like her grow their businesses and why I had a Farm Service Agency employee from West Union join me at the State of the Union. My job is to listen and work together with Republicans and Democrats to fight for those priorities. It’s what I did for my first bill, which I co-sponsored with a Republican colleague, and it’s what I’ll keep doing.”

Finkenauer last fall unseated Republican Rod Blum becoming the second-youngest member of the U.S. Congress. Her campaign slogan “It’s personal,” which resonated with voters, continues to provide focus for her work.

“I was a state representative for three years when I decided it was time to step up for my neighbors all across eastern Iowa in Congress given the policies happening on both state and federal level that personally affected me, my family, and folks all across our state,” she said. “I saw education being underfunded, attacks on workers like my dad who could get hurt on the job, on farmers like my sister and brother- in-law where politics has been played with their livelihoods, on neighbors with pre-existing conditions afraid they were going to lose coverage. Often times, the politicians in DC aren’t close enough to see how their policies could really impact their constituents, with me, it’s still personal every day and quite frankly it should be for more representatives.”

Finkenauer will continue her “Conversations with Your Congresswoman” events. She said it’s important for constituents to hear from her directly about how she is working on their behalf in Washington. “Often times, we just hear about the controversy and big headlines,” she added. “I carry a lot of hope we can find common ground and move states like Iowa forward by hard work and determination.”

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