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New coalition ‘Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future’ to highlight the critical energy issues facing Iowa

Published: Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 10:48 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES – A group of Iowa-based leaders have joined together to form Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future, a new coalition that will help drive an ongoing discussion and debate around the energy issues that will impact families and businesses across the state in the years to come. 

“Iowans are seeking effective and meaningful solutions to ensure energy in our state continues to be reliable, safe and affordable,” said Kraig Paulsen, former Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives and volunteer co-chair of Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future. “Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future is designed to spark further discussion among industry leaders, policymakers and consumers on the types of innovative approaches necessary to deliver that energy future across all of the state’s diverse communities.” 

Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future will be comprised of members with diverse backgrounds and experiences representing communities across the state. As part of the announcement, the organization is naming its initial group of statewide volunteer co-chairs. Additional members will be announced in the weeks and months to come. 

“By investing in local communities, energy and utility companies here in Iowa are able to help create new jobs and drive economic growth,” said Bill Gerhard, president of the Iowa Building and Construction Trades Council and volunteer co-chair of Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future. “In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, these types of investments are more critical than ever. Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future will work to identify how we can continue to utilize the state’s premier network of businesses and our talented workforce to deliver meaningful economic benefits across Iowa.”

The volunteer co-chairs of Iowans for a Reliable Energy Future, who will make up the organization’s leadership team, are as follows:

Kraig Paulsen: Paulsen served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2003 until 2016 representing portions of Linn County. He held a variety of leadership positions including Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives and chair of the House Judiciary Committee. 

Bill Gerhard: Gerhard is the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council in the state of Iowa. 

Andrew Wenthe: Wenthe served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2007 until 2013 representing Fayette County. He was vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. Wenthe currently serves as the mayor of Fayette and is currently vice president for external affairs at Upper Iowa University in Fayette. 

Bob Felderman: Felderman served as the United States deputy director and principal advisor to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command director of plans, policy and strategy directorate. Additionally, Felderman served as a brigadier general with the U.S. Army and Iowa National Guard. 

Mary Kramer: Kramer served in the Iowa Senate from 1990 until 2003 representing West Des Moines and served as president from 1997 to 2003. In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Kramer to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and Eastern Caribbean. 

Brian Quirk: Quirk served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2001 until 2012 representing all or portions of Chickasaw, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Howard and Winneshiek counties. Today, he is the general manager of New Hampton Municipal Light Plant. 

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