Republican Leaders are encouraging all 150 Iowa legislators to meet with local officials to review what’s being done to prepare for an outbreak of bird flu.
Representative Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Garner who is a nurse, says it’s best to be prepared. “I don’t want to be a drama queen here today…but I think we would be viewed very poorly if we weren’t addressing this issue and preparing for it,” Upmeyer says. “If it never happens, great. I mean, that’s a wonderful thing.
But if it does happen and we were unprepared, that would be a horrible thing.”
Upmeyer has set February 17th at the target date for the county-level meetings. House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says he’s been assured that the state’s Department of Public Health is ready. Gipp says one of the lessons of Hurricane Katrina is that local governments have to respond first to any emergency, including the bird flu, and need to be prepared. Gipp says businesses need to be thinking about how they’d respond if there’s a pandemic, too.