Northeast Iowa's freshman legislators ready for Des Moines - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Northeast Iowa's freshman legislators ready for Des Moines

WATERLOO (KWWL)-- The Iowa legislature will reconvene for the 2011 session in Des Moines Monday.  In the house, northeast Iowa will be represented by two freshman legislators.  Democrat Anesa Kajtazovic will represent the state's 21st district, while Republican Walt Rogers will serve the 20th district.  

Republican Walt Rogers won his first bid to the state legislature in November after a previous unsuccessful run.  Democrat Anesa Kajtazovic is a 24-year-old Bosnian immigrant, coming to the US with her family in the late 1990s.  While their backgrounds may differ, the two now share a common goal:  to be a strong voice in Des Moines for the Cedar Valley.

"I would like to see us focus on economic development, especially in this community, and also education," Kajtazovic said.

"Number one I think is jobs, looking at economic influence and what will help businesses.  And so I think taxes is the number one thing we can do to help spur an atmosphere for businesses to hire more people," said Rogers.

Since the election, the pair says they've been spent a lot time talking with constituents about those and other issues.  And they agree that tackling the budget will be one of this year's biggest challenges.

"When we were in caucus the first week, each one of us talked about the top five things our constituents wanted us to tackle.  And the top three or four were about the economy, taxes, spending and jobs.  So that's what I'm going to be focused on," Rogers said.

"I think we can make our government more efficient and work towards those ways and also prioritize things: what comes first, what's most important for the people, and what affects our communities.  And we should look at the whole picture," said Kajtazovic.

The two admit they still have a lot to learn about the legislative process.  But they hope to come together, across party lines, to do what's best for Black Hawk County.

KWWL will be in Des Moines Monday as the new legislative session begins.  Be sure to watch for reports on the news at noon, five, and six.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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