My simplest piece of advice for Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand: Quit while you're behind.
We see ourselves as a community newspaper first, county/state resource second. We know that for several of our readers, this is their only print resource — and their most trusted.
Therefore, we try to also put a good mix of both county and state news in our product in order to better inform our readership and customer base.
Last week, we presented stories and an editorial on Rob Sand's special investigation into the "Step Up, Stop the Spread" campaign last fall during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sand's report said that $500,000 of CARES Act funds were used for the campaign, $152,585 of which was for paid ads including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' likeness.
The governor's office quickly responded to the report, citing a section within the Iowa code that Sand noted, saying during a disaster emergency, it's allowed.
Sand fired back and said she never suspended the law in any of her many COVID-19 press conferences. Confused yet?
As a registered Independent who leans to the left politically, I found this comical and unnecessary. What are you doing, Sand? Was this your coming out party to run for governor on the Democratic ticket?
Please don't; you'll lose.
This perfectly demonstrates my problem with the Democratic Party. Please don't get into the weeds on finite details like this. That's not where the electorate is.
Can Reynolds be vulnerable due to the pandemic? Absolutely. But is it because her face and voice were used in advertisements? BIG NO!
They weren't calling her COVID Kim because she took part in a "Stop the Spread" campaign. When that launched in November, this state had been brought to its knees in the midst of this pandemic. I was one of the many in this state dealing with the virus at that time. In our little town, I'm not sure there was a small business not closed or dealing with sick employees.
Please wake up. You want to do battle with Reynolds on how she handled the pandemic, fair game. But this ... please visualize me shaking my head.
Remembering Sharon Bowers—I was saddened last week upon receiving a phone call from Matt Bowers of the Muscatine County Sheriff's Office, letting me know of his mother Sharon Bowers' passing. Matt ran for Cedar County Sheriff in 2020, which allowed us to spend a bit of time together in interviews.
And while I didn't know Sharon all that well personally, I certainly did professionally. How could you not? She was a staple at the Wilton Public Library for decades, serving as its head librarian. She was instrumental in helping people in our communities get information. She was also a crucial part of the new library/community center project, resulting in a remarkable building here in Wilton we've been enjoying for years.
I found her to always be soft spoken, yet always thinking and promoting the library as a key tool in people's continued quest for knowledge from the time they're children through adulthood. I'm sad she won't be able to see the new Reading Garden completed. May she rest in peace.