DES MOINES — U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley was among the many elected officials trying to attract news media attention Monday at the Capitol on the opening day of the Iowa Legislature.
However, the 1st District congressman wasn’t interested in answering questions about one topic.
Instead of discussing a possible bid for governor in 2014, Braley talked about reintroducing his End Radon in Schools Act when he goes back to Washington this week.
The bill, which he said fell victim to “time, an election and the fiscal cliff,” would protect students and school staff from dangerous levels of radiation in schools. The bill would give states in high-risk radon areas, such as Iowa, funds for testing radon levels in school buildings. Funds also would be available to mitigate dangerous levels of radon.
All Iowa’s 99 counties are classified in the Zone 1 — the highest risk level assigned by the Environmental Protection Agency. North Dakota is the only other state to have the Zone 1 risk level for all of its counties.
Speculation has been rife that Braley would like to be on the ballot in all 99 Iowa counties in a bid to be governor. But Monday, Braley, who is starting his fourth term in the U.S. House, said “there’s nothing to talk about.”
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“The whole focus of this event is to talk about radon mitigation,” he said at the Statehouse news conference.
“It’s a long time … people are tired of politics in this state, it’s a beginning of a new day in the legislature,” he said. “There will be plenty of time for talking about that later.”
The opening day of the legislative session “is the place to be talking about the need to improve public safety in our schools,” he said.
His bill has been endorsed by the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association. The text of the End Radon in Schools Act can be found at http://1.usa.gov/W4jcbY.