A statehouse veteran will be paid $77,000 to lobby legislators on disaster relief issues. Susan Judkins has been hired as "director of intergovernmental affairs" for the Rebuild Iowa Office. Judkins had been lobbying legislators on behalf of the Iowa League of Cities.
State Senator Steve Kettering of Lake View is the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee and he’s not happy about the hire. "There’s no reason to have expended taxpayer money to lobby — if that’s the right word — for more money for afflicted Iowans," Kettering says.
A spokesperson in the Rebuild Iowa Office says the lobbying contract will be covered with federal money, but Kettering says whether the tax dollars come from the state or federal treasury isn’t the issue. "It’s money that could be used to help afflicted Iowans and it’s not necessary," Kettering says.
According to Kettering, lawmakers don’t have to be convinced of the need. "I think Republicans and Democrats alike are committing to devoting the resources to help Iowans in the flood-devastated areas," Kettering says, "so I just simply view this as an expenditure which could have been used to help people who are in trouble and (it) is a misguided use of funds."
Governor Culver created the Rebuild Iowa Office last summer to manage state disaster recovery efforts.