January 18, 2022

Sorensen focuses on broadband, other key issues as green flag flies on 2022 session

The 89th General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature opened at the Iowa Statehouse on Monday.

Rep. Ray Sorensen II (R-Greenfield) said that now that most of the legwork of session is complete and it is here, he’s excited to get started.

“I always look forward to going up and working with the many great colleagues from around the state. Just getting to work in that building, that is absolutely gorgeous, is a blessing,” Sorensen said. “I just got done meeting with some constituents, and getting to take some of our small town ideas up to Des Moines and push them through the process. When I’ve eventually ran a bill that becomes law, it’s an exciting thing to affect the state of Iowa in a positive way.”

At the top of a short list of priorities for Sorensen is gathering more information on how previous efforts lawmakers have made to enhance broadband access in the state are going because he sees that as important in economic growth for the state.

“As funds continue to be released via the grant program, we’re excited to get back and audit that a little to make sure the money and everything is going into the right areas, and to work out some interesting tech bills that will be coming through IT,” Sorensen said. “There’s ever-changing technology in how to deploy broadband internet so it’s making sure our Iowa Code is not in the way of progress in that area.”

Another area is tax breaks and getting money back to Iowans. Sorensen explained the taxpayer relief fund is “well over $1 million” and the state of Iowa has “taken in more money than it needs at this point.”

Addressing the workforce shortage is another issue begging for immediate answers. Sorensen pointed out that there are 64,000 Iowans unemployed and 110,000 unfulfilled jobs, so focusing on creating jobs isn’t the solution right now, in his eyes.

“We need to get people back to work and get our economy revving up again with the small businesses and all those who are struggling to find workers,” he said. “There’s no silver bullet piece of legislation that’s going to hit that. It’s going to be coming from a lot of different areas and we’re gathering a lot of ideas right now.”

Sorensen said vaccine mandates, COVID-19 and other issues are also on the table for discussion in the session.

Legislators have been writing bills leading up to session and they can continue to do so up until the first funnel, when bills have to make it out of subcommittee and committee by in order to survive.

“The bills jump over to each chamber and after the second funnel you whittle it down to the handful of bills compared to how many you’ve started with,” Sorensen said. “If they pass, they eventually become law.”

Senator Jake Chapman (R-Adel), who represents this area, did not return phone calls or text messages requesting an interview for this story.

Sorensen said legislative coffees will likely be held in Adair County periodically during the session.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.