One legislator has found an unusual way of commemorating committee work in the Iowa House of Representatives.
It’s a bit of a tradition for committee leaders in the Iowa House to do something for committee members during the panel’s last meeting of the year. Most bring treats. But House Appropriations Committee chairman Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, decided to do something different. “I wanted to do something that would be significant for everyone,” Raecker says.
This is the first year Raecker has led the Appropriations Committee, and during trying days when things looked bleak he would think of the plight of the nomadic yak herders in the far southwestern part of China. Raecker and his wife have gone on three mission trips to the area. Raecker and his wife decided to donate $10 for every bill that cleared the House Appropriations Committee this year. So, the Raeckers are writing a check for $300 to the Shining City Foundation which will use the money to help buy solar generators and pigs for the nomadic yak herders who live in the Himalayan Mountains.
Raecker got a bit choked up when he told the committee about the donation that will benefit the nomads. “It’s very exciting because these are people (who) live in huts that have no electricity,” Raecker says. Raecker’s been there when new generators have been delivered and the nomads see their homes illuminated by a light bulb for the first time. “I’ve gotten a very positive response from the committee,” he says.
Raecker says he saw no connection between the yacking among statehouse politicians and the yak herders. “Although now that you mention that, that probably would have been pretty good to say ‘Now that the yacking’s over we’re going to help the yak herders,'” Raecker says. “I may use that next time.”
Raecker hopes to return on a humanitarian mission to southwest China sometime in the next couple of years.