Dear Secretary Sibelius,
I enjoy serving on your National Advisory Committee for Rural Health and Human Services. I was particularly pleased to welcome your committee to Iowa for the first time since Governor Bob Ray was the inaugural chair of the committee when it was established in 1987. It was really special to have Gov. Ray welcome the committee to Iowa at its recent three-day meeting in the Amana Colonies.
This year we are focusing our work around three important topics: childhood obesity, early childhood development, and the implications of healthcare reform on rural America. The Honorable Ronnie Cosgrove is our new chair, the former Governor of Mississippi. He enjoyed a real Iowa treat as he took over the reins of our committee.
We assembled a wonderful group of health and human services experts from around the state to give testimony to the committee on these three topics. We also had some good ol’ fashioned Midwestern fun as we introduced the committee to the seven colonies that make up the Amanas.
Good food, neighborly folk, great entertainment, and some serious topics made for a memorable few days here in Iowa. At this time of year, rural Iowans are preparing for the harvest that will feed and fuel the country and world. We witnessed all that work as we toured the countryside.
As you know, your committee meetings are open to the public and for those interested in the agendas for our meetings, you can find them at the committee website: www.ruralcommittee.gov.
It was an eventful week and I look forward to helping to prepare our report to you as the committee seeks to keep those who choose to live and work in rural America well- supported with high-quality health and human services.