Legislators get to work
2021 brought Emmet County a new member of Congress, a new state representative, and returned state and U.S. Senators to their posts
U.S. Representative Randy Feenstra, Republican of Hull unlocked his office at 1440 Longworth in Washington D.C for the first time this week, and was sworn in to the 117th Congress with his wife, Lynette at his side. Due to social distancing requirements, freshman members of Congress were allowed just one guest at the ceremony. Feenstra was seated for the vote for Speaker of the House, where Nancy Pelosi won what she says is her final term as Speaker.
Feenstra signed a letter to House leadership, along with 80 other members of Congress, asking them to continue allowing representatives to carry firearms with a permit on Capitol grounds.
“I will always fight for every American’s constitutional Second Amendment rights,” Feenstra siad.
In a statement, Feenstra said, “I’m truly humbled that Iowans in the 4th District have elected me to represent them in Congress. For me, it’s all about helping others. I’m here to be an effective congressperson for Iowans & to make sure that we’re delivering results for #IA04 (Iowa’s fourth district, of which Emmet County is part.) Feenstra was a state senator for three terms, running unchallenged each time. He was assistant majority leader and chair of the Ways and Means committee, which overhauled the state’s individual income tax system and produced the largest tax cut in state history.
Feenstra said on a typical Congressional session week, he will fly out of Sioux City or Sioux Falls Monday morning to attend a work week through Thursday and return home Thursday evening for family time and constituent meetings over the weekend.
Feenstra said in a statement that he looks forward to finding conservative solutions that will create a booming economy for taxpayers. He has said unlike his predecessor, Steve King, he is not going to be aas quotable nor approach the job in a way that’s as emotional. “I’m strictly a policy person,” Feenstra said.
Feenstra and his wife of 28-years, Lynette, reside in Hull. The couple have four children, Taylor, Erika, Dawson and Savannah.
An avid runner, Feenstra likes watching sports and attending theatrical musicals.
Feenstra said, “Guided by faith and family, it is my solemn promise to Iowans that I will defend the Constitution of the United States and faithfully discharge my duties as a United States Rep.”
Henry Stone, Republican of Forest City won in November the seventh district post vacated by Rep. Tedd Gassman, who retired. Stone begins work Monday, Jan. 11. He was assigned as Vice Chair of the Economic Growth Committee, and as a member of the Education, Veterans Affairs, Labor and Admin & Regulations subcommittee under the Appropriations Committee.
“I am honored to be appointed to the Economic Development Committee to help serve Iowans as we move our great state forward and to get the needed resources into the hands of our business owners and entities,” Stone said in a news release.
Stone said, “We need to champion our small businesses here in Iowa. Reducing burdensome regulations and making it easier to start and thrive as a small business should be something that needs no explanation. There are over 270,000 Iowa small businesses which make up over 99% of total Iowa businesses and they employ over 651,000 Iowans. Iowa small businesses suffered enough during this pandemic and need our help navigating through the rest of it.”
Stone, a 22-year Air Force veteran, and is only the second individual of Asian-American descent to serve in the Iowa legislature. Stone has described himself as Amer-Asian, half Caucasian, half Asian, but has yet to comment on the significance of his win as a person of color. More people of color than ever ran in the 2020 legislative election in Iowa, eight Democrats and eight Republicans.
Stone and his wife, Pennie, are the parents of three sons, a daughter and have three grandsons. They have served as foster parents as well. They established through the Forest City Education Foundation a Memorial Scholarship in the name of their son Daniel, which funds music education for local high school graduates who go on to seek a degree in music. Daniel died in 2015 at age 22 in a motor vehicle accident.
Stone said, “As a Veteran myself, I understand the sacrifices that Veteran’s make for their family and country. Too many nights spent on foreign land. Too many birthdays missed. Too many anniversaries spent apart. Too many holidays celebrated without family. Through all these sacrifices, Veterans continue to serve without complaint. Giving back to them in the form of proper physical and mental healthcare is the least we can do. Working with our VA system and making sure our Vets get what they need will never fall by the wayside on my watch.”