Loebsack Visits OES On Wednesday

Oskaloosa Elementary School Principal Mike Dursky (left) talks with Congressman Dave Loebsack (right) on Wednesday.

Oskaloosa Elementary School Principal Mike Dursky (left) talks with Congressman Dave Loebsack (right) on Wednesday.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – School has been back in session for a couple of weeks, and Iowa Second Congressional District Congressman Dave Loebsack stopped by the school Wednesday morning.

The purpose of his visit, as stated in a press release, was to “meet with administrators, teachers and students and tour various classrooms and programs that the schools offer.” Loebsack, who says he’s now the ranking member, and senior most Democrat, of the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, “will use the information and ideas gathered from this tour to bring what is working in Iowa back to Washington.”

During the congressman’s visit, he toured the Oskaloosa Elementary School with Mike Dursky, OES Principal. The two spoke about some of the differences between an elementary and middle school environment. The Oskaloosa Elementary School is also the largest elementary school in the state.

Loebsack then spoke with OES Art Teacher Brianna Bartlett about STEM and STEAM. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, but STEAM adds Art and Design into the mix.

After the tour, Loebsack answered questions from reporters, where he commented that there have been problems with No Child Left Behind. “We don’t want to leave any children behind.” Loebsack said that the way No Child Left Behind has been implemented has been problematic, at best, for a lot of schools. Loebscack said that the arts have been de-emphasized.

“A big part of the problem with No Child Left Behind is it’s one size fits all approach to schools and assessments,” said Loebsack. “We’ve got to provide a lot more flexibility down the road.”

Loebsack doesn’t see a “silver bullet” to fix the bill. He said that, “what we have to do is get past the dysfunction and excessive partisanship and the acrimony we see in Congress at the moment before we can even begin to work on some of these issues.”

Loebsack is seeking his fourth term in congress as he faces Republican Challenger Mariannette Miller-Meeks for the Second Congressional District. When asked when Congressman Loebsack would be through on a campaign stop, Loebsack said that he met with “some folks last night [Tuesday] at Smokey Row to talk about these issues.”

“I don’t know off the top of my head when I’ll come through on an official campaign stop,” said Loebsack.

“Obviously I’m doing my job as a Congressman,” Loebsack said while answering questions at the elementary school. “I have 24 counties, so I have a lot of things I have to be doing.”

Recently, Dave Loebsack and Mariannette Miller-Meeks held their first debate, in which the Des Moines Register called the debate in favor of Miller-Meeks. Miller-Meeks has twice before challenged Loebsack for the seat.

Loebsack said that the issues of his effectiveness was brought up during the debate. “I don’t play to pundits,” said Loebsack, “And that was a pundit who made that assessment.”

“What I do is I talk to my constituents and I hear what they have to say, and those are the important folks. Those are the people I pay attention to,” said Loebsack.

During the debate, Loebsack said that he did his best to convey that he wants and tries to work in a bi-partisan manner, and he wanted to highlight those successes. “I’ve worked across the isle. I think that’s very important,” said Loebsack.

“They don’t want all this fighting. They don’t want people attacking each other,” Loebsack said. “People are telling me they don’t want us to be attacking each other.”

This week, the Iowa GOP called for Loebsack “to denounce shameful Labor Day comments”.

The controversy stems from a Labor Day event on Monday in Iowa City when Federation of Labor president Jesse Case allegedly remarked, “Loebsack’s opponent and the Koch brothers can kiss our ass.”

Loebsack said, “I don’t know about that,” then asked who had made the comment.

Loebsack remarked about the situation, “I don’t recall that. He introduced me. That may have happened, I had to leave quickly because I had to go on to some other events. So it may be that he said that in my absence. I’m not sure. I don’t remember hearing anything like that.”

I asked Loebsack, who says he was unaware of the Republican request and comment, “Yeah, we’ve gotta have more civility in politics. That’s not a civil thing to say obviously.”

When it comes to more debates, Loebsack said, “Well I’m not going to discuss debates with the media, no offense. We have been in touch, our campaigns. To the best of my knowledge, she has not been in touch with me for quite a long time. And that’s where I’m going to be discussing debates, with my opponent. I’m not going to debate debates in the media.”

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