36-year-old Pat Grassley becomes Iowa House Speaker

first_imgDES MOINES — The opening day of the 2020 Iowa legislature features what the Iowa GOP’s chairman calls “a new generation of leadership” in the Iowa House. Thirty-six-year-old Pat Grassley of New Hartford was installed as House Speaker today.“This session I want to show Iowans that we are not like our counterparts in Washington, D.C., that when there are opportunities to work together, we actually do work together,” said Grassley, who was chosen by his peers this fall to replace then-House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, who announced she would not seek reelection in 2020.Grassley joked during his remarks that farmer-legislators like him will be anxious to start planting this spring and that may influence how long the 2020 legislative session lasts. Grassley closed with the message he delivered at the start.“Let’s make sure that we show Iowans that we are not like Washington, D.C. (with) less partisan games, less political theater, more results for Iowans,” Grassley said. “Let’s strengthen Iowa’s workforce and improve our education system. Let’s make health care more affordable and pass a responsible budget that puts the taxpayers first.”U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and his wife, Barbara, were in Des Moines to witness their grandson be elected House Speaker.“I’m very proud of Pat not only for being selected speaker, but I’ve seen him grow over the years that he first approach me 14 years ago saying he’d like to run for the state house of representatives,” Senator Grassley said this morning. “I don’t recall a single political conversation I had with him before that point.”Senator Grassley, who is 86 years old, said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll seek re-election in 2022 — and he told reporters his grandson is not being groomed to run for the seat.“That’s up to the people of Iowa,” Senator Grassley said. “And I never hear him talk about running for the United States Senate.”Ten members of the Grassley family were in Des Moines for the event and Pat Grassley took the oath to serve as Iowa House Speaker using a New Testament that was a gift to his grandfather.“It says here that I got this in the Cedar Bible Baptist Church of North Cedar, that’d be part of Cedar Falls,” Grassley said, flipping the tome open and showing reporters the inscription on the inside cover. “I don’t know the exact Sunday that I spoke there, but I always preach on 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, being ambassadors for Jesus Christ.”Matt Windschitl, a 36-year-old from Missouri Valley, is now the majority leader in the Iowa House.“We’ve been in the majority since 2011,” Windschitl said early this morning at a GOP fundraiser. “What we’re going to do this session is continue to give Iowans every reason to give us that majority back in the November elections. It’s as simple as that.”last_img read more

Harold Hoyte supported free and fair elections in Guyana

first_imgDear Editor,The publisher of the Barbados Nation newspaper, Harold Hoyte, passed away a week ago. Mr Hoyte will be long remembered for championing freedom of the press, for which he received widespread accolades. But he also supported democratic governance in Guyana during the critical period of authoritarian rule (1966 to 1992).I spoke with Harold Hoyte on the phone (from New York) several times during the period of the struggle against the dictatorships led by the tyrannical Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte. From New York, I was closely affiliated with the struggle against the fascist, racist Burnham dictatorship and was charged, along with Dr Baytoram Ramharack, with the task of public relations, reaching out to media people and support groups across the Caribbean region, Canada, and the UK. Harold Hoyte and I also spoke on a few occasions after the restoration of democracy in Guyana in 1992. Pieces of mine were published in the Nation relating to Guyana.I came to know of Harold Hoyte (who has no relationship with the dictator Desmond Hoyte) through the Black nationalist Contrast newspaper in Toronto, for which he was a writer. When he returned to Barbados, he started a paper that catered to all nationalities. Although a Black nationalist, Harold did not seek to oppress or marginalise other ethnic groups, as currently happens in State media in Guyana, and he provided media space for responses to letters critiquing articles and viewpoints. Mine was published.I am most grateful for Harold’s support to help end ethnic supremacist rule in Guyana during the Burnham/Hoyte dictatorships and the struggle for democratic governance. Harold developed the courage to call a spade a spade unlike other media stalwarts in the region. He knew Burnham, Hoyte, and others rigged elections, and he called them riggers. He recognised that Burnham and Hoyte were oppressors and persecutors, and he boldly referred to them as such. He held Burnham responsible for the murder of Dr Walter Rodney. Few other media outlets in the Caribbean region gave support to the Guyanese people’s struggle against the dictatorship. Like other democratic loving media personnel, he courageously called for an end to food ban that denied ethnic groups access to their cultural diets and religious paraphernalia in Guyana. He also called for the restoration of democratic governance in the country.Harold Hoyte was enamoured with the persistence and long years of struggle of Dr Cheddi Jagan for free and fair elections in Guyana and for championing workers’ rights. Jagan was overthrown by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1964 and kept out of office in Guyana by the US and Britain (in favour of the opportunistic Forbes Burnham) because of Jagan’s communist ideology that hurt his supporters. Had Jagan abandoned communism, the US and UK would have restored democratic rule and free and fair elections decades earlier.Eventually, when communism collapsed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1990, the US forced the Hoyte dictatorship to restore democratic governance in Guyana. Jagan was allowed to return to office in relatively free and fair elections, after mellowing and embracing capitalist economics in line with the perestroika model promoted by Mikhail Gorbachev. Harold saluted Jagan’s victory.Harold also tried to bring the region closer together and was critical of the policy of his country that unfairly targeted (and maligned) Guyanese migrants who were fleeing the oppression of Burnham/Hoyte dictatorships and the economic difficulties experienced by that country in subsequent years.The Guyanese people are indebted to Harold Hoyte.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisram (PhD)last_img read more