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Iowa Future Caucus Tackles the Partisan Divide

James Q. Lynch/The Gazette

Some of Iowa's youngest state lawmakers have made a plan to break through partisan gridlock and foster cooperation between Democrats and Republicans. On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Emily Woodbury talks with two members of the Iowa Future Caucus, Senator Zack Wahls and Representative Joe Mitchell, about their priorities at the capitol and why they feel they are well equipped to tackle the partisan divide.

The Iowa Future Caucus is part of the Millennial Action Project, a national nonpartisan organization that seeks to support similar Caucuses across the country. Iowa is the 28th state to become involved with this initiative.

As freshman legislators, both Wahls and Mitchell are new to the Iowa Statehouse. Mitchell says they've been met with a lot of support for the new caucus. 

"Sometimes from an outside perspective you think that there's no way that a Republican and Democrat can go out and have a drink or go out to dinner or something. Once you get in there you realize that it's a lot more of a different environment than the news might portray," he says.

Wahls cites a number of issues important to Iowans that don't have a partisan affiliation, such as fostering population growth and reversing brain drain, that the Future Caucus is committed to addressing. 

"The thing that brings us together is not our partisan affiliation but the fact that we both are deeply invested in the future of our state," he says.

This hour, we also hear from Ann Selzer, president of polling firm Selzer and Co., about recent Iowa Poll results showing Senator Joni Ernst's approval ratings at an all-time high. Then, IPR's Eastern Iowa Reporter Kate Payne joins to talk about groundwater pollution in Sioux City and Cedar Rapids Gazette Reporter Erin Jordan gives an update on the lack of regulation of lake pollution in Iowa. Witek Krejewski, Director of the Iowa Flood Center, discusses whether heavy snowfall this year may lead to increased flood risk.

Later in the hour, Radio Iowa News Director Kay Henderson gives an update from the Iowa Statehouse. Then, Robbie Sequeria, Staff Writer for the Ames Tribune, shares details from a recent meeting in Story County about the proposed development of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in the county.

Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa