The Cities | Iowa Lawmakers| Project NOW | WQPT

The Cities | Iowa Lawmakers| Project NOW | WQPT


– [Announcer] Public
affairs programming on WQPT is brought to you by The
Singh Group at Merrill Lynch. Serving the wealth management needs of clients in the region
for over 25 years. – Iowa lawmakers end their 2018 session with landmark decisions. Where does the state go from here? And a half century of Project Now, trying to help those who may
go forgotten in the cities. (inspiring music) It is the second of two
years in the Iowa legislature completely controlled by Republicans. Democrats lost control
of the House in 2012. Republicans won control
of the State Senate and the entire legislature in 2016. This week, Senate Majority
Leader Jack Whitver told his colleagues the
legislature adjourns with members able to go
home to their districts and then tell their constituents
that they kept their word, honored their commitment to them, and produced historic results. And joining us are the heads of the two major political
parties in Scott County. We have Linda Greenlee, who’s the Chair of the Scott County
Republican Central Committee. Thom Hart is the Chair
of the Democratic Party in Scott County. Thank you both for joining us. – Thanks for having us. – Thanks for having us.
– I would assume we have very different takes on what the Iowa legislature did. Let me start with you. As a Republican, were all
the promises fulfilled? – Well, I think so, or to
the best of their ability. And you never get everything perfect. – Was the most significant
issue, in your mind, the tax reform bill that the
Iowa legislature approved, or would you say it was
the Fetal Heartbeat Bill that came down toward the
very end of the session? – Well, I think it would be the tax bill because we’re just trying to even it out. The federal bill would, of course, if you deducted that
federal tax from your state, you would be paying higher
taxes because of that. So I think that’s my major one. I was surprised with the Fetal. I’m happy with it because, you know, a heartbeat is a heartbeat. I think it’s alive. My husband just went
through a heart surgery. They took him off of it and put him on a temporary heartbeat. So if that’s the case he could have been dead for the time
being or killed him dead. So I just feel that that was a good way of putting it, solving the problem in some respects on the issue. – Tom, as Democrats, you weren’t standing on the sidelines, but when you don’t have control of either house of the legislature or the governorship there is a whole lot that you cannot do. – Right. I think one of the Republicans described this session as historic and I would agree with that. But I think it’s historic
in a very negative way. The hole that they’ve blown in the budget. There are three times in the last 25 years that we’ve had to borrow
where we missed estimates. It was 2008 with the recession
and the last two years. We have a huge budget problem, they’ve made it worse with this tax cut. They are underfunding education. The average family will get less than two dollars a week in tax relief. This is crazy. – Now the second part of
course is the social agenda and the fetal heartbeat bill that was passed, has been signed into law. You’re expecting that totally to be challenged by the courts and perhaps what, upheld or dismissed? – Well under current law it’s illegal. The Supreme Court is very clear on this. What they’re trying to
do is play to their base. They never campaigned on it. You didn’t see it in any of the brochures two or four years ago. Never campaigned, but they’re trying to serve it up
to the Supreme Court. It’ll cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, I just think it’s so inappropriate, and it’s the most radical legislation in the country. – Is it the touchstone issue though for November for Democrats? I don’t think it’s the touchstone, I think that the budget is a huge one. 32 million they gave
additionally to education, over 60 million for the tax program. The hole in the budget in five years by their own estimates in five years is three quarters of a billion dollars. That is just nuts. – And where do you go from there? Tax cuts are very popular and the Republicans are pointing out that it is a $2.7 billion cut over the next six years. Expecting an average 10 percent average tax reduction, that’s the way the Republicans are selling it. But the question is, we’ve seen the budget constraints, we’ve seen how difficult it is to
balance the budget in Iowa. Is this a responsible move? It’s a popular move, but is it responsible for state government? – Well, if you put more money in Iowa pocketbooks, they’ll spend more money and then when they spend money they get taxes from the state, your state tax so, that’s got to put some
more money in the coffin. I don’t understand if Iowa is rated number one by US News in education, healthcare, infrastructure which I was surprised at, and some other areas, So if we’re rated number one we must be doing something right? – And is that going to be pretty much the republican statement as you’re going into the election. Don’t change the course,
look how good things are. – Yes, I’m sure they’ll
probably be saying that. We’re going in the right direction, let’s keep going that way. – The latest budget bill though, has once again targeted
the public universities. They’re taking a large hit once again. Iowa State, Iowa, Northern Iowa. Does it concern you about the future of postgraduate education in
Iowa which used to be stellar? If you think about it in the Midwest: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, so well known for their public universities. And they seem to be getting hit a lot. – Well, look at the public universities and see how much building
they are doing on there. If you’ve been to Iowa City lately, it’s been a whole different ballpark than it was maybe 10 years ago. The other thing that I
would just think about is Future Ready program
that is coming up too. That is working with community colleges and schools so that we can get more people working in areas that maybe don’t need college education. They’ll be given a certificate which if you’re somebody young and you’ve got a certificate that will get you a job that’s awesome to me. – Well Thom Hart, the Future Ready program got strong bipartisan support. The goal is 70% of Iowa workers get post high school education by 2025. Democrats though has said “What, where is the funding for this whole thing?” – Well, that’s right, the rhetoric is good on water quality,
on mental health, on community college, but
the funding isn’t there. So it’s good rhetoric, but I believe your priorities ought to match the budget and the dollars aren’t there. You know, you want to talk about ratings Linda, US News and World Report we’re rated 49th on
delivery of mental health. We have abandoned the mentally ill in this state and our jails, our prisons are full of people that are mentally ill because we’ve basically cut off services. – Well let’s talk a little bit more about that because one of the things the legislature did approve was mental health reform with six regional access centers spread throughout the state and more community treatment teams, almost like first responders
for mental health. You see that as a success, I mean the Republicans are saying look,we are moving towards a better mental
health system in Iowa. – Well it’s a process with mental health and with health issues too. The tell all health that’s coming in should help ’em too because if you can get on the computer and you can read the symptoms, you’re better able to predict what’s
going to be happening. I think opening the doors so that people can get to the
right areas they need to, I think some people probably haven’t got any place to go because they live in a small community way out in Timbuktu and to
get to service is tough so being able to use something like the telehealth or being able to have a facility available to them in their area instead having to go clear across the state to get to something that woud help them. – Well Thom, you’ve seen Obamacare all but gutted in Iowa, I
mean are you worried about- – Systematically and strategically gutted. – And where do you see, see- – The huge impact to that is on the more rural areas of the community. A community like the quad cities, we have excellent health care. It has an impact here, but it’s really on smaller communities. You know, 40 years ago I was on the Board of Supervisors in Scott County. We won national awards on
our mental health delivery. We still have a better mental health delivery system than much
of the rest of the state. But in other parts of the state this is a disaster and we have the jails full of the
mentally ill to prove that. – Let’s talk about the
state of Iowa itself. You guys are both political animals, you know what is going on throughout the state,
especially in our area. Thom, let me start with you,
is Iowa still a purple state? It seems very republican right now. – Significantly republican
with democratic spots but significantly republican in 2016. But Iowans are usually pretty open and fair, we’ll see where this goes. When I started out in this 50 years ago, it was a very republican state. We had decades of republican governors. So I think Iowa is a swing state, continues to be a swing state. – Do you see that Republicans
are overly comfortable? I mean when you take a
look at what’s going on, 59 Republicans in the
House to 41 Democrats. The Senate, 29 Republicans
to 20 Democrats. Those are pretty healthy
majorities for Republicans. – You never go that way, you always think of winning, what
you have to do to win. You never look back at your
successes all the time, you look forward to your
possible future successes. Never rest on your honors, your
glories type thing, always. – So what’s it going to take for you to rebuild the republican party even stronger or are you pretty satisfied? (Linda laughing) Well I don’t want to say you’re satisfied with the way it is, but every race is contested. – Well, and that’s good,
competition is always good. It makes you sharper, and keeps you appraised of everything
that is going on. If you rest on your laurels, sometimes you get too confident, overly confident and sometimes you lose that way. – It is an issue of qualified candidates for the Democrats cause we now, like you said, or like I said is both houses of the legislature, the Governor, both U.S Senators, a vast majority of the
Congressional delegation? – Remember 12 years ago we had both houses of the legislature and the Governor’s mansion in Iowa. So this swings, Iowa’s a
swing state, it swings. There are good eras for Republicans, bad eras for Republicans. Good eras for Democrats and bad. This went heavily against us in ’16. And I think much of what was enacted in this legislative
session is an overreach. They enacted stuff they
never campaigned on, they had very little public
access, public hearings, did it often in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning. I think it’s overreach, and I
think people don’t like that. – What are the extent do you think that national politics will play coming up in November
for the Iowa elections? Thom, what’s the Trump factor? – Well, I think there is a factor, but you know, Tip O’Neill said many years ago, “All politics is local.” And I believe that, I think
ultimately it is all local. The national scene is always a factor, but ultimately I think it’s on a local. Which is why you see Scott county more blue, more democratic than much of the rest of the state. – Well Linda, the same
question for you as well. I think some people thought that you would see more candidates running away from Donald Trump, but you take a look at some of the primaries that were going on
nationwide earlier this week, is there a Trump factor in Iowa? – Well, there is to a certain extent. He’s doing things that people in the back of their mind
have said I wish they’d do. And, he’s accomplishing things that most of the candidates or politicians haven’t done before so it makes a difference. I think that Iowa is going to be a race that we should watch because I think more money’s coming in from the Democrats than there is from the Republicans from what I’ve heard. – Let me ask you about
Scott county in particular. Because Clinton won
Scott county of course, but only 48 to 46 percent. That was a pretty narrow victory for a democrat in Scott County. Do you think that was
more of a swing towards a swing for Republicans in Scott county or just more people “I
don’t want Hillary Clinton.” – Well, that’s partially true. When I was door knocking, I was hearing, it was “I don’t want Hillary.” I’m not sure that’s the answer for your reason to voting right, but that is what I was hearing. – But Tom do you see, I’m sorry? – I’ll tell you something else when I was doing door knocking. People that normally said to me, “I never vote, but this time I am.” So it was like really, you know, why didn’t you vote before and maybe we wouldn’t be in this
situation that we are in. – So Thom, is 2016 just an aberration or do you think that people were just upset with Hillary Clinton? – Well I think it goes way
beyond Hillary Clinton. I do think that was a factor, but I think people are upset with the political process and the
inability to solve problems. We have a different
approach to politics today than 30 years ago when I
was in elective office, where you try to forge consensus, you try to bring your peers along to what the community wants. Today, its much more about division. How do we divide this,
how do we conquer this, which is really what I think
the fetal heartbeat bill is. It’s all about division, it’s not about bringing people together. – I’m going to have to leave it at that. Linda Greenlee from
Scott county Republicans. Thom Hart, Scott County Democrats. Thank you both for joining us, it’s going to be an
interesting political year. But name a political year
that isn’t interesting, right. – Thanks. – Thank you. – Still ahead, marking a half-century of helping our neighbors in need. But first, Laura Adams takes a look at events around the area
in this first week of May. It’s time for Out and About. – [Laura] This is Out and About for May 7th through 13th. Hi, I’m Laura Adams. Join WQPT for a free sneak peak at the new Masterpiece
production of Little Women. Adapted from the beloved
Louisa Mae Alcott novel, coming May 12th to the
Moline Public Library. Or join the celebration at the 65th Beaux Arts Spring Fair
at the Figge Art Museum. Admission to the fair
and the museum is free. Come visit the Broadway Historic District for their annual Mother’s
Day Tour of Homes and the German American Heritage Center’s opening a new exhibit titled Steam Circus: The Colorful World of Carousels. Or, help the East Moline library raise funds for the new library building by attending a family friendly evening of bingo with prizes, food
and a silent auction. Schwiebert Park is the
location of the Bike Rodeo. It includes a bike inspection station, safety checks, and a slow race. Faith Lutheran Church in Moline hosts 50 vendors at their Spring Craft and Vendor Show on the 12th. It’s a Mystery presents the last two shows of their season. Five card Murder and Teach Me How to Murder at Skellington
Manor, reservations required. While The Quad City Wind Ensemble performs pieces by Bernstein,
Copeland and others at Galvin Fine Arts Center. And The Speakeasy is holding a fundraiser titled It’s a Girl Thing:
A Feminine Perspective benefiting Winnie’s Place and Bethany Home for Children and Families with vendor booths and free appetizers. For more information, visit wqpt.org. – Thank you Laura. Tony Hoeppner is a mainstay in the music scene in the cities. Tony joined us at the Black Fox Theater in Moline to perform another of his many original songs. Here is Tony with “Chasing Memories”. (soft guitar music) ♪ Heading down to New Orleans ♪ ♪ Searching for a warmer dream ♪ ♪ Winter months are way too hard on me ♪ ♪ Nothing keeping me around ♪ ♪ Besides I’m wearing down ♪ ♪ Perhaps a change would do me good ♪ ♪ All my friends have gone away ♪ ♪ I guess they’re still okay ♪ ♪ I’ll be leaving sometime next day ♪ ♪ Driving down to Champaign ♪ ♪ Catch the late night train ♪ ♪ I’ll be on the bayou when
the sunrise comes again ♪ ♪ Just chasing memories of you ♪ (soft guitar music) ♪ Was a time I loved it here ♪ ♪ Somehow it’s disappeared ♪ ♪ Just like the leaves of summers’ past ♪ ♪ Wondering why those days are gone ♪ ♪ Somehow I can’t go on ♪ ♪ Knowing there’s nothing here for me ♪ ♪ All my friends have gone away ♪ ♪ I guess they’re still okay ♪ ♪ I’ll be leaving sometime next day ♪ ♪ Driving down to Champaign ♪ ♪ Catch the late night train ♪ ♪ I’ll be on the bayou when
the sunrise comes again ♪ ♪ Just chasing memories of you ♪ ♪ Chasing memories of you ♪ (soft guitar music) – Tony Hoeppner with Chasing Memories. It was a turbulent time in the nation and in the Quad Cities. In 1968 the social fabric was being stretched in dramatic ways, protests against the war, assassinations of Martin Luther King Junior
and Robert Kennedy. And Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society legislation was just starting to mature. Well that’s the era when Project Now was born in the Quad Cities and now 50 years later Project
Now has itself matured and joining us is the Executive Director of Project Now, Maureen Hart. Thank you so much for joining us. – Thank you, Jim. – Kind of a novel idea in 1968, it was all part of that social fabric, social programs trying to help our neighbors who are less fortunate. – Absolutely, and the community really came together and really demanded change and with the legislation in 1964, the
Economic Opportunity Act, then the Community Action Agencies sprung up across America, and every county in America, I think 99% of the counties have a community action agency that works on their behalf. – And 50 years later though, you’re needed more than ever before, so one would say wait a second, this great experiment hasn’t worked. – I disagree, I think it has worked. It’s still working, I think society would be way worse without these programs. And sometimes you don’t even recognize it because people take it for granted. And they don’t know what it would look like without programs to help people. People who are reaching
out for help, people that want to improve their situation. And that’s critical too. – We’re talking about how important it is for society to have a safety net for people, either they’re elderly or they’re of lower income, or they’ve just hit bad breaks right now. I mean that safety net is something that I think that America’s really learned that there is a role to do this. – I absolutely agree. – I mean, when we’re looking at how you guys started, in the 1970s Head Start, senior meals, LIHEAP, all of that was coming together. Low Income Heating
Energy Assistance Program is LIHEAP which works for both winter and summer, which I always think you want to point out. That is where you really did start, senior meals, Head Start,
kids and the elderly. That was really an important thing to launch in the late 60s, early 70s. – Correct, definitely, so
working on multiple fronts. So poverty isn’t just
a one issue, you know, this is what’s wrong, lets fix it. It’s things on multiple fronts sometimes that need to come together to help a family really succeed. – And then in the 1980s
it kind of expanded then, then you got into small businesses, I’m sorry, that’s the 90s, homeless assistance, employment training. You can just see the expansion
for other people in need. – That’s exactly right, you know that entrepreneurial spirit, working with small businesses and loan programs and that was very
successful for a long time. – And it was really critically important too because as we now know so many jobs are created
through the small businesses. – That’s right. – You really do sometimes need it. Not every idea gets funded easily and so you do need a little boost there every now and then. – Definitely. – 1980s we go to and then we have homeless assistance,
wait I did that again. 1990s, day care, housing rehab, affordable apartments in the 1990s. You really went into the housing area in the 1990s did you not? – Yes, affordable housing
is still a critical need. It was then, it is now, people don’t have the income to pay
the market rate rents. And they can be working full time, working hard, and they can’t afford that. So we offer apartments at affordable rates and there’s more of it needed of course than we can provide. We provide maybe around 90 units. Well there’s a lot of people that need housing, affordable housing. – And then since then, I know you just keep adding decade after decade, but now weatherization is such a huge deal because once these
people get into housing, I mean it’s such a huge chunk of your paycheck if you’re getting a good paycheck anyhow. – Right, so the housing stock around here is old, right. Insulation needs to be, houses need to be tightened so the utility bills can be kept in check. And furnaces break, and people have trouble with that so the weatherization component, that actually
started I think in the 70s but it’s become much more sophisticated. – It has. – Yeah, and it’s really neat what you can do with a home
these days to tighten it. – So when you look at Project Now over the last 50 years,
what are you most proud of? – I think it’s just so community based and its close to our customer, and doing our best to meet the needs, so I think the breadth of
services is just unparalleled. – And your ability to have expanded, cause I think a lot of people might just think it’s a Rock Island County agency and it’s not. – No, it’s Rock Island,
Henry, and Mercer counties. And another thing we started offering within the last eight years or so is Rim Rural Public Transit, so kind of the Metrolink of the rural areas and we’re the operator of that. So that’s been a new venture too. – Cause lets be honest, rural poverty is sometimes one of the great things that people ignore or don’t even know exist and so that was really critically important for you was it not is to get out of the city and into the country area? – Well I think what’s important to us is to address issues of poverty and that’s not just found in the cities, that’s found in
the rural areas as well. – And because of the
distance, you don’t go there. And to be able to provide that service is a big benefit to like you said, Mercer, Henry county. – Right. – Let me know a little bit about what you’re planning to do to celebrate because 50 years is worth a celebration for Project Now. – Right so in May, May is Community Action Month across America, and we’re taking proclamations declaring May Community Action Month to the cities and counties we work with so that’s been fun to do and we’re planning a broader, community-based celebration in September, the first
part of September, the 7th. And that will be an outright celebration. But right now, we’re just bringing awareness to the programs and to the issues surrounding
poverty in our area. – And we had a great deal of problems for Project Now and other social agencies when the State of Illinois government wasn’t funding and you had to suspend programs for a short period of time. What do you see for the future there, because Illinois isn’t in that much better of a financial shape. It really showed how tenuous the funding can be too when the state government can pull back like that and how it impacts you almost immediately. – Right, and we came through that. But what was most troubling then was just the uncertainty and the timing of things because how long can you offer services when
the money doesn’t flow? So we made it through that phase, and as long as there’s people voting on your money, it’s never clear cut. – It’s not a sure thing, but you think things are better now than they were in 2015, 2016,
some of your worst years? – You know, I don’t tend to put it in terms of better and worse because as soon as you say that (laughter) maybe I’m superstitious, – Knock on glass, right? – Knock on glass, and sometimes you get used to dealing
with the dysfunction so I’m not sure how much things change or how much you
become more immune to it. – Well congratulations on 50 years. I know that you want to celebrate with your workers and
many of the volunteers. It really is a people organization obviously and you’ve
got an incredible staff. – I agree, I couldn’t agree more. – Maureen Hart, thanks
so much for joining us. – Thank you. – We appreciate it, Happy 50th. Such a nice organization. Now if you’re a college student, or if you know one who loves television, make sure they contact us very soon. We’re taking applications for our summer-long WQPT volunteer
ambassadors program. Since 2004, the program has provided students with a hands-on
television experience in event planning,
education, marketing, public affairs, a whole lot more. To apply, just go to WQPT.org and complete the application. The deadline is coming
up, Friday May 18th. You can check out the
details now at WQPT.org. On the air, on the radio, on the web, and on your mobile device, thanks for taking some time to join us. We talk about the issues on The Cities. (light upbeat music) – [Announcer] Public
affairs programming on WQPT is brought to you by The
Singh Group at Merrill Lynch. Serving the wealth management needs of clients in the region
for over 25 years.

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