The Dickey Dispatch by Senator Adrian Dickey



Hello Senate District 44,

For being the second funnel week of the session, this week seemed less hectic than expected. There was no debate this week, but instead a focus on governor appointees. In the Workforce Committee, we have 17 appointees this year. The committee will research, interview, and ultimately make a decision on whether we recommend the appointment of these individuals or not. In previous years, Senate Democrats have blocked the appointment of high-quality candidates. However, with a supermajority this year, Senate Republicans will have full ability to appoint candidates that we deem fit for the role.

With no floor debate this week, I do not have any passed legislation to speak on. However, with this being said, a piece of legislation that many have reached out to me about is HF 565 – Eminent Domain. The House passed this legislation late last week and unfortunately it did not make it to the floor for Senate debate this week.  I was asked about the issue at a forum last week in Oskaloosa and I replied:

“A year ago we passed a bill for ethanol … I wasn’t a huge fan of that bill. I voted for it because most all of you asked me to, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it. However we were told that it was needed to save the farming industry. Now this year, it’s about the pipeline. We are being told by the [Iowa] Corn Growers Association ‘Oh, you’ve got to do it to save the ethanol industry.’ To be honest, I’m a little ticked at this reoccurring narrative of being told every year that we’ve got to do something to save the ethanol industry. That’s not an anti-farmer statement, that’s not an anti-Iowa statement. It just seems like every year it’s ‘Oh, we’ve got to have something else now to save ethanol.’”

There are many reasons for me to be against the pipeline, however that one really upsets me. I don’t know what the plan is, if there is one, for eminent domain. However I will, just as I did on the ethanol bill last year, vote according to what is best for my constituents. There is a lot of talk around this bill, and I appreciate everyone who has voiced their opinions, both for and against the legislation.

On Wednesday I was fortunate enough to be able to visit with 3 different local groups of students. The Pekin FFA chapter, the Fairfield FFA chapter, and a group of seniors from Mount Pleasant. It was GREAT listening to their concerns and plans for the future. It was very fun to be able to visit with these bright young individuals and show them around the Capitol.



Speaking of students and education, a sad announcement was made this week where Iowa Wesleyan University (IWU) announced it will be closing at the end of this semester. IWU was established 181 years ago and has been a pillar in the Mount Pleasant community. For everyone in the area, this is sad news. In reading the press release from IWU, I was disappointed that they stated that part of their reason to close was the “lack of state support”. I attended a round-table forum Friday morning in Mt. Pleasant on the issue and was told that request was “only to make sure that no stone was left unturned.” If so, I understand the request. However, to issue a statement that suggested that the school was closing with any suggestion that it was because of a decision of the Governor, or the State was wrong. Recently IWU requested $12 million of ARPA money (federal COVID money) from the state. After learning the request would not be covered under the federal guidelines and Iowa taxpayers would be on the hook to reimburse the federal government for the payout, and the $12M would NOT solve the grave financial issues that IWU is facing, rather it would only “kick the can down the road for a short period of time.” Governor Reynolds made the difficult decision to deny the request.

In the forum, some individuals suggested the legislature was partly to blame “because we were not aware as to how grave IWU’s financial troubles were.” No one from IWU has ever reached out to me for assistance. No one from IWU has ever contacted me. I am not suggesting if they did the result would be any different, but to even suggest that any part of their closing was due to the lack of state involvement was sad to hear. The first I ever heard about their situation (which was from the Governor’s office, not IWU) was 1 day before IWU announced it to the public.

Governor Reynolds stated that her office endeavors are “not to spend one-time federal dollars on ongoing expenses.” She said that to better understand Iowa Wesleyan’s financial health, her office engaged an independent, third-party accounting firm that found the school’s $26 million loan from the USDA “could be recalled in full as early as November 2023.” In addition, Governor Reynolds said Iowa Wesleyan’s own auditors had expressed “substantial doubt” as to the school’s ability to stay afloat and had pointed out that while enrollment had grown over the past three years, the school’s financial health continued to deteriorate.

Gary Steinkie from the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, stated, “Let me tell you something: That was an unbelievably dumb request (from IWU). The governor was never going to provide $12 million in COVID money to a private, not-for-profit college that was on the verge of collapse… To blame the governor is absolutely, 100 percent preposterous.”

I am very sad to hear the IWU will be closing. EVERYONE is. They have been a huge part of Mt. Pleasant for 181 years. The transition moving forward will be difficult for the community, however I am committed to helping the community and the campus to find the best possible solution moving forward. The very day that I learned of this unfortunate news, I started to reach out to see if the ownership of the campus could be transferred to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, or even one of our local community colleges to act as a satellite location. I called others to see what the process would look like to redevelop the campus for a new housing development or an array of other opportunities. I made calls to the Iowa Workforce Department to make sure they had personnel on staff to assist the displaced employees. I looked into ensuring processes were in place so the transition for students that would be relocating to other schools would not lose earned credits and their tuition levels would remain comparable. I want to help where I am able to and to make the best out of a very unfortunate situation.  This is a moment in the Mt Pleasant community for everyone to stop placing blame and to become unified to find the best solutions for the students, the staff, the campus, and the community.

As always, I appreciate the support and hearing your concerns and opinions. Have a GREAT weekend Senate District 44!

Best Regards,