New faces in the Legislature - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New faces in the Legislature

Des Moines (KWWL) - A historic year lies ahead for the Iowa Legislature as it reconvened Monday in Des Moines.

Not only do lawmakers have to manage the budget, but they'll have to figure out how to pay for flood damage at the same time.

While the session opened with a snow storm outside, inside lawmakers were dealing with a drout of money. It's a tough beginning for the 18 new members of the House. They took the oath of office first thing Monday morning. They're jumping feet first into a difficult job.

"The budget is the number one thing with trying to help all the people with the natural disasters, we've got our work cut out," Gene Ficken (D-Independence) said. "Everyone's been positive. It's gonna be tough, but we're going to do it and we're going to have a balanced budget, and have what Iowa needs."

Kerry Burt won a very close race in November for his new seat. He's part of a clear Democratic majority in both chambers this year. He says Monday was an eye opening experience.

"It's that surreal thing, you think in the back of your mind, I'm gonna be cool about this," Kerry Burt (D -Waterloo) said. "No it's real, it's deep."

While Burt and Ficken are new faces at the capitol, they'll have to adjust quickly, flood recovery is such a big issue. Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran was in the Chamber chatting with House Speaker Pat Murphy, hoping legislatures won't forget the damage her city continues to deal with.

New and old lawmakers agree this year will be a tough one, but they hope Iowa fares better than other states with budget problems.



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