The Iowa Extension Council Association hosted its annual Legislative Day in Des Moines on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Clay County, in-school program coordinator, Cheryl Hurst, took two 4-H Youth Council members to this educational event, Claire Christensen and Emma Schwarck, both senior 4-H members at Spencer High School. The girls joined nearly 100 other extension council members, 4-H members and extension supporters from across the state sharing how ISU Extension and Outreach connects the needs of Iowans with Iowa State University research and resources.
The Iowa Extension Council Association Legislative Day started with a general session at the Wallace Building on the Capitol complex where they were greeted by state extension member with huge smiles. During this time, the 4-H youth learned about the importance of County Extension and Outreach and the goals of IECA. Terry Maloy, executive director of IECA, gave the opening remarks and then introduced Mary Mosiman, Iowa state auditor. Mary then gave a presentation on the importance of extension councils and how they can help their counties. After these presentations, the Iowa House and Senate pages talked to the youth about their experiences and the opportunity to be a part of the Senate pages.
Then it was off for a short walk to the Capitol where Claire and Emma met with Iowa House Rep. Megan Jones, and they saw a few Spencer graduates and classmates working in the House as well. The girls enjoyed getting to know Jones and learning about how the House of Representatives operates. Christensen and Schwarck presented Jones with the Clay County Extension and Outreach Stakeholders Report. They were able to visit with her about the importance of IECA and 4-H for Clay County. Jones was very gracious with her time and took this opportunity to explain how the House of Representatives works and discussed some important legislation. Jones was excited to share that Bill Northey had just been confirmed as the new U.S. secretary of agriculture. Christensen and Schwarck also got to meet with a classmate, Maddie DeWitt, who is a page for the House of Representatives. Christensen stated, “Visiting the Capitol and talking to local pages and representatives was truly a great way to share our passion for 4-H and the necessity of funding agricultural education.”
Following a tour of the Capitol, it was time to head home. It was a great day at the Capitol and special thanks goes out to IECA for arranging this day and to Jones for making these youth feel welcomed and valued at the Capitol. Schwarck stated, “Overall, the experience was beneficial as a citizen of Iowa and especially as an Iowa 4-Her. I would like to thank the Clay County Extension for this opportunity and highly encourage more Clay County 4-H youth to attend next year and the years following!”
The Iowa Extension Council Association represents 900 elected extension council members across the state. At the local level, county extension councils function as the legal body and are the local partners with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the USDA. They represent the diverse populations, issues, and concerns of their counties and identify needs related to public and private organizations, families and communities.