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Tom Latham visits Estherville

By Staff | Aug 30, 2008

Congressman Tom Latham

Iowa Lakes Community College president Harold Prior thanked Congressman Tom Latham Friday morning by calling him “a champion for Iowa Lakes” for his help in funding the wind turbine program.

Nearly two dozen Emmet County residents came to a question and answer session with Latham. Estherville’s meeting was Latham’s second-to-last meeting in the 28 counties he represents.

Latham spoke about the flooding in Iowa, renewable resources and education.

Latham said it was unfortunate that Congress adjourned before the floods in Iowa could be addressed. “I don’t want us to fall through the cracks and be forgotten,” he added.

The American Energy Act that Latham has been working with encourages the supply of American-made energy, improving energy conservation and promoting renewable and alternative energy technologies. A few ways these goals can be reached are through use of energy efficient vehicles as well as building refineries that are not in hurricane alley. Latham said he thinks refineries should be built on closed military bases because they are in large remote areas. He also said they could do the same with nuclear energy plants.

Latham believes nuclear energy is important for the future. “We need to go after resources we have in abundance in the U.S.,” said Latham. By doing so, the United States would become a more independent country.

When asked why Congress only reacts to problems rather than planning for the future, Latham responded by saying that the House of Representatives budget on an annual basis and think more short-term, while the Senate, whose members serve six-year terms, take a longer view.

He also said that the current Congress is disheartening because of the partisan bickering. With a new administration next year, Latham said he hopes it will give Congress a chance to start over and get past the bickering.

Prior mentioned how important federal student aid is, especially to first generation students whose parents didn’t attend college. Latham said that he was involved in passing higher education grants which increased the number of Pell grants given.

Latham also discussed the No Child Left Behind Act. Latham said if all schools were like Iowa schools, the policy wouldn’t even exist.

Latham ended his meeting by reminding those in attendance that he has a representative come to the Estherville Public Library the first Thursday of every month from noon-1 p.m.