Royce White speaks out: Former Iowa State basketball player Royce White made stops at the Iowa Capitol, several schools and other events Thursday to raise awareness about mental illness.
The 6-foot-8 White — the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft — signed with the Houston Rockets but said he has faced obstacles in balancing the effects of his general anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder with the demands of the NBA schedule. He said his appearances in Iowa on Thursday were intended to raise awareness and help others by speaking openly and honestly about his condition and the social stigmas associated with mental illness.
White, who saw some playing time with the Rockets' developmental league affiliate, said he expected he would be able to play in the NBA. “I think if things don’t work out in Houston, which I hope they do, there’ll be another team. The odds are good. Maybe one out of 32 owners and (general managers) will understand that this stuff is important and that the things that I’m asking for are reasonable and they’ll allow me a chance to play the game that I love. I worked hard to get to the professional level. I think it will happen, but if it didn’t happen that wouldn’t shock me, either,” White said during a Statehouse news conference.
Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines, D-Des Moines, who accompanied White at the Statehouse, said his candid acknowledge of his mental-health issue gave her the courage to speak publicly Thursday about her fear of flying — an anxiety that took her out of the running for 1998 National Teacher of the Year because of the heavy travel schedule required.
Senatorial book signing: Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, will sign copies of his book, "America’s Climate Century: What Climate Change Means for America in the 21st Century and What Americans Can Do About It,” at noon Monday in Room 116 at the Capitol.
“America’s scientists have concluded that climate change is real, is primarily caused by human activity, and poses real dangers for our future,” Hogg said. “It is the defining historical issue of the 21st century. It is time for Americans to move beyond slogans to understand why this issue is so challenging and what we need to do about it.”
Hogg's book tour will stop May 4 at 2 p.m. at Prairie Lights in Iowa City and 7 p.m. at New Bo Books in Cedar Rapids, and 6:30 p.m. May 7 at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines.
Anderson candidacy: Democrat Brad Anderson, a candidate for Iowa Secretary of State in the 2014 election, unveiled his 99 county captains Thursday and announced that he has raised $102,186 for his statewide bid. Anderson announced his candidacy in January after serving as President Barack Obama’s Iowa state director during the 2012 campaign. Since his announcement, Anderson has traveled the state promoting the importance of voting and finding solutions that prevent voter fraud while ensuring no eligible voter is disenfranchised, he said. As Secretary of State, Anderson said his goal would be to make Iowa first in the nation in voter turnout and modernize the office to make it easier to vote, start a business and promote many of the other important functions of the office. The office of Iowa Secretary of State is held by Republican Matt Schultz of Council Bluffs.
Worker memorial: Iowans will pay respect to Iowa workers who lost their lives while working in 2012 during a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday at Iowa Workforce Development, 1000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. During 2012, 46 Iowans died from injuries sustained while working and five Iowans lost their lives while serving their country in the military. Additionally, untold numbers of Iowans are injured from exposures in the workplace.
The family and friends of the deceased have been invited to attend the annual ceremony. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held in the Wallace Building Auditorium located west of the Iowa Workforce Building at 502 E. 9th St. Iowa Labor Commissioner Michael Mauro and Iowa Workforce Director Teresa Wahlert will be joined by labor union leaders Mark Cooper and Ken Sagar, state and local elected officials, family members and others to honor those that have lost their lives.
Iowa exports: Iowa ranked 11th among the top U.S. state exporters to China in 2012 at $3.2 billion, according to eighth annual report released Thursday by the US-China Business Council.
The private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of roughly 220 American companies that do business with China estimated that U.S. exports to China totaled nearly $109 billion last year, with 30 states exporting more than $1 billion to China and another 10 states exporting more than $500 million. The numbers were driven by agriculture, transportation, electronics, chemical and machinery sectors, the report indicated.
China remained America's third-largest export market in 2012, behind only Canada and Mexico. Between 2003 and 2012, total U.S. exports to China rose 294 percent, an increase of nearly $81 billion. California topped the list of U.S. state with $13.6 billion in exports to China last year, followed by Texas at $10.1 billion, Washington at $7.9 billion, Illinois at $6.1 billion and New York at $4.2 billion.
Participatory democracy: An Iowa House member is being criticized for refusing to release information about lawmakers’ membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Progress Iowa, which has targeted ALEC for its pro-business advocacy and secretive operations, said Rep. Greg Forristall, R-Macedonia, “failed to meet his own definition of participatory democracy” by refusing to turn over material it requested. The state public records law does not apply to the material Progress Iowa sought, according to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Forristall claimed in a newsletter that all Iowa lawmakers are members of ALEC. Progress Iowa disagrees. It spokesman said Iowa House Democrats have asked that its members not join.
Forristall said lawmakers are members of ALEC, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments.
Quote of the day: “The last week of session is supposed to be next week. I assure you we will blow far past that.” — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines.
— Times Bureau