When the Iowa Legislature convenes Monday, a familiar local face will be missing. Dave Tjepkes, of Gowrie, has retired.
Tjepkes knew a good deal about government and public service before he took office a decade years ago as a Republican member of the Iowa House of Representatives from District 50.
He learned about the needs of small towns while mayor of Gowrie and put that knowledge to use as a respected member of the House Local Government Committee.
As a retired state trooper, he has a deep understanding of law enforcement and brought to the table a special perspective gained from the front lines of the fight against crime. That background helped make him an especially valuable contributor in the deliberations of the House Public Safety Committee, on which he also served. His other recent committee assignments have included the Government Oversight and Judiciary committees.
The Transportation Committee, which Tjepkes chaired during the last legislative session, provided an ideal venue to promote one of our area's most important projects - the completion of U.S. Highway 20 as a four-lane thoroughfare statewide. Tjepkes has been a tireless advocate for that cause and deserves enormous credit for the substantial progress made thus far in turning that dream into a tangible reality.
Tjepkes has a strong commitment to revitalizing the economy of rural Iowa. He has worked hard to achieve a regulatory environment conducive to the creation and advancement of businesses. He knows that's the key to job creation.
Renewable energy ventures are becoming important in 21st century Iowa. Tjepkes understood that fully and supported enthusiastically measures not only to help attract these projects, but also to make it possible for them to thrive.
With a keen appreciation of the importance of infrastructure to the future prospects of small communities, Tjepkes has been a champion in the effort to assure that schools, public safety services and emergency response capabilities get the attention they deserve.
Tjepkes served his district and state superbly. His presence in the Legislature made it a better, more-responsive servant of the public.
The Messenger applauds Dave Tjepkes for his remarkable tenure in the House. He represented us with wisdom and integrity. His voice will be missed in Des Moines.