DSM USA Policy HQ - Bipartisanship
The DSM USA Policy HQ podcast is a monthly conversation between experts on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector.
In the first installment of the DSM USA Policy HQ podcast 2022 season, Iowa Representative Brian Meyer (D – Des Moines) and Representative Eddie Andrews (R – Johnston) discussed the beginning of the 2022 legislative session, what it means to be bipartisan and how the local business community can be effective advocates for themselves.
Working Across the Aisle in the Iowa House
Although the two representatives have not worked directly together in their respective legislative seats, they agree that the more easygoing nature of the Iowa House has allowed for more bipartisan relationships. Representatives from across the aisle intermingle with their colleagues with a less-divided seating chart. This influences their political decision-making process, encouraging the parties to work effectively throughout the session.
Rep. Meyer said he and other lawyers in the Iowa Legislature have connected more since the 2021 session. This has allowed them to work collaboratively in a non-partisan way. Meyer said that working with Republican lawyers has allowed him to better understand how pieces of legislation are going to work from a practical perspective in the courtroom. He notes that one of his favorite legislators to work with is Rep. Jon Thorup and working across the aisle with the Republican representative is quite an experience and he always knows how to have fun.
Rep. Andrews said that one of his favorite bipartisan moments was outside of his legislative work. During his time as a celebrity judge for the Miss Iowa competition, a contestant was asked whom they would want to meet for an hour (living or dead). The contestant answered Mary Wolfe, and as she listed off this woman’s accomplishments, Andrews realized that she was talking about the Democratic representative from District 98 who sat two seats down from him. Andrews remembered that he was fascinated by the answer and quickly messaged Rep. Wolfe about the encounter.
Serving Greater Des Moines (DSM) Diverse Communities
Rep. Andrews, a Black Republican from the east side of Greater Des Moines (DSM), said that although his political views differ from many of those that he surrounded himself with, he finds that those are the same people who show up for him. This bipartisanship even includes his wife, Betty Andrews, a progressive leader in the region. She allows Andrews to gain a better understanding of how to listen to opposing arguments. He said that he spends more time listening to the other side while working on bills because at the end of the day you need to represent everybody.
Rep. Meyer, a Democrat who represents the largely Democratic southeast side of DSM, said that he understands those who vote for him are like-minded and that his seat isn’t in danger. However, that has not stopped him from listening to others no matter what. He said that when he is reviewing emails and answering, he is not looking for the sender’s political affiliation but is focused on a solution.
The two representatives also discussed how they both bring strengths from their respective professional fields of work to the House floor and how The Partnership can pursue civility in the business sector.
Listen to the entire podcast above.
The DSM USA Policy HQ podcast focuses on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector. Join us each month to hear from local Greater Des Moines (DSM) experts. To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.