From the Desk of Senator Giddens

State Sen. Eric Giddens (D-Cedar Falls)

Happy November, friends and neighbors! Hope you’re all doing well as we begin to experience the first hints of winter that will soon be upon us.

Last Saturday was Veterans Day, so I want to begin by thanking all of our Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. I am the proud son and grandson of wartime veterans, and I will always do all that I can to honor and serve those who have worn the uniform for our great nation. Let us all take time to thank our veterans not only on Saturday, but whenever we have an opportunity to do so.

I’ve had another great month in Senate District 38, including meetings with the Hudson Chamber of Commerce, the Iowa Communications Alliance, the Grout Museum and our public libraries, the Joining Community Forces event at the Waterloo National Guard Armory, the Judicial Branch to hear about their legislative priorities, and volunteering at the IMOM Dental Clinic event in Waterloo. I’ve also continued to visit constituents at their doors throughout the district, and have really appreciated hearing about the issues they’re most concerned about as we prepare to begin our next legislative session on January 8, 2024.

On a personal note, last week was my 50th birthday and this past Monday was my mom’s 75th birthday, so our family is enjoying time together to celebrate these two milestones.

I hope that you all are able to enjoy time together with family and/or loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday in a couple of weeks. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at eric.giddens@legis.iowa.gov, or (319) 230-0578 if I can ever be helpful with anything or if you have any issues or concerns you want to share with me.

Honoring our Vets, on Veterans Day and Always

Veterans Day is an opportunity to celebrate veterans for their service and pay respect to the sacrifices they and their families have made for our country.

Across Iowa and especially in the Capitol, there’s more we can do to support veterans – particularly those facing emergency needs. That’s why I have supported legislation to fully fund the Veterans Trust Fund, so that no veteran goes without access to emergency medical care and equipment, home and vehicle repairs, or counseling.

The majority party in the Senate should follow the House’s lead this coming session and work across the aisle to advance support for veterans in their times of need. Without action, veterans could be turned away due to underfunding for this critical service.

Broadband expansion in our community

The La Porte City Telephone Company will receive $4.5 million through the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant to expand access to high-speed internet in Black Hawk County. The grant was made possible through funding from the federal American Rescue Plan.

More funding for roadway safety

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau has announced $11 million in new federal grants to improve roadway safety through new traffic equipment, education, and enforcement projects. Funding will be distributed to law enforcement agencies as well as partners including the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Iowa Restaurant Association, and Lutheran Services in Iowa.

Find an Affordable Health Care Plan

An open enrollment period is now underway in the ACA marketplace. This is an opportunity for ACA members to review and potentially change their health insurance plan – and for those in need of insurance to find an affordable plan. You can visit https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage/ to view available health insurance options. The open enrollment period for full 2024 coverage will be open until Dec. 15th.

Student Loan Payments

Many student loan repayments were put on hold during the Covid pandemic but are resuming this month. It’s never too early to understand how student loans may affect your financial future by learning you how much you owe and the terms of repayment. Filling out the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement (https://studentaid.gov/asla) can help you better understand your responsibilities as a borrower and helps you plan to repay any student loans you may have once you finish your degree.

State Senator Eric Giddens represents Iowa Senate District 38 including Cedar Falls, Hudson, Traer, Dysart, Evansdale, Elk Run Heights, Gilbertville, Washburn, LaPorte City and Mount Auburn. Contact Sen. Giddens at 319-230-0578 or eric.giddens@legis.iowa.gov.