Two state anti-drug groups are launching a series of town hall meetings that will be held in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties. The focus is on how each of the counties is addressing substance abuse.
Peter Komendowski is president and CEO of the Partnership for a Drug Free Iowa, which is working with the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy on the statewide effort. “One of the reasons we do it is that the governor’s office and our legislators actually like hearing what we find,” Komendowski says. “They’re interested in what’s going on in Iowa because at some point, the voters will speak out in the polls but the elected officials need to know what’s going on so they can be proactive while they’re in office. It’s not just about getting elected. It’s about doing a good job.”
These town hall meetings are an opportunity for Iowans to speak their minds, he says, and to have their concerns transmitted directly to the state leaders who may be able to make a difference. Komendowski says, “Knowing that these concerns are there and the community can rally together to work on these issues I think empowers them to put into play the kind of legislation it’s going to take to have strong and effective drug policy that gives the coalitions, the drug treatment people and law enforcement the tools that they need to keep our communities safe.”
The project, he says, is a blueprint for healthy communities for the state. The goal is to tour all 99 counties by the end of next year and present the information to state lawmakers in early 2016. Town hall meetings have already been held in Webster City and Jewell, with more scheduled in the coming weeks in Clinton, Shenandoah and Iowa City. Learn more at the website: www.drugfreeiowa.org
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)