President’s Message: Aug./Sept. 2012

My family traveled to Tanzania, East Africa, in July to visit my mother-in-law. This was our fifth trip since my in-laws retired to Tanzania in 2003.

It is always a wonderful trip. The weather is always beautiful and I often feel like we are a part of a “Mutual of Omaha” episode when a lion walks by our car or when I could reach out of our car and touch a zebra.

However, it does make me appreciate several things about returning home – things that many of us take for granted. One – that I can drink water out of the faucet and it is clean and safe to drink. Two – that the roads are maintained and (fairly) pothole free. Three – that the air does not smell like burning trash.

As I thought about those things this year upon our return, I also thought about another thing that Iowans take for granted – fair and impartial courts. The recent call by the chair of the Iowa Republican Party to vote “no” on the retention vote of Justice David Wiggins is a reminder that we cannot take such things for granted. Click here to read their full news release.

I have heard some lawyers say that the bar association should not take positions on such political issues. I strongly disagree.  If we as the Polk County Bar Association do not stand up for our fellow bar members and the bench, how can we ask regular citizens to do that when it comes time to vote on Election Day?

The Polk County Bar Association is a “big umbrella” and has many opinions, which is a good thing. However, it is imperative that we, as attorneys, and our clients feel like the judges who are making decisions in these cases not appear beholden to anyone for campaign contributions. If you agree, please contact the Iowa Republican Party and voice your concerns about the statements expressed in the release. Their e-mail address is: If you prefer to write a letter the mailing address is: Republican Party of Iowa, 621 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50309.

Note: Click here to view photos of Anjie’s recent trip to Tanzania.