Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 22, 2013

The Sinclair Report

Sen. Amy Sinclair

Des Moines —

Recently, I was approached by a constituent at a Knoxville forum. He asked if I had a moment to discuss issues he was passionate about that have yet to be debated at the Statehouse. I was reminded of this conversation during a conference committee meeting on education reform this week. During that meeting, we spent an hour nibbling around the edges of the issue without ever coming to a consensus. Worse than that, we never even had conversation regarding the heart of the issue on education reform.

During that meeting, I was reminded of the metaphor that my high school guidance counselor used to direct students on making life decisions. She had a jar on her desk that she filled about a third with sand and explained that the sand represented the small things in life. They fit in just fine. She then added some gravel, which she explained represented the more important things in life. Finally she tried to add several large stones – the things that really matter – and they would not all fit into the jar. There simply wasn’t room for them.

She removed the contents from the jar and replaced them beginning with the stones, followed by the gravel, which filled in the spaces around the stones. At last she poured in the sand, which all went into the smallest cracks and completely filled the jar.

The point of the story is that in order to have a successful life, in order to fill the jar, one must first make priorities of the things that really matter. You must start with the things most important in life and in any situation that arises in life, and then move on to the smaller stuff.

Many times in the Iowa Legislature, we choose to put the sand into the jar before trying to fit in the rocks. I plan to take the time afforded me in the Senate to make sure that I focus on the priorities for the people of Iowa: true education reform, comprehensive tax relief, and responsible budgeting principles.

I have learned about the different priorities of Iowans as I visit with people throughout my district. The gentleman in Knoxville shared his concerns about budget issues. He stressed his desire to come to the Capitol to watch those appropriations bills be debated. Unfortunately, he would have to find someone to transport him to Des Moines as he is unable to drive.

I shared with him there are other options to keep him informed such as watching the live streaming debate on the Iowa Legislature’s web site - I know many people have a sincere or vested interest in what is discussed at the Statehouse. This site keeps your government very transparent.

While I write a weekly newsletter to help keep my constituents informed, it is only a fraction of what goes on at the Capitol on a daily basis. Even though I have a front row seat, so to speak, of what is going on in the Iowa Senate, I still rely on the Legislature’s web site to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in Senate committee meetings and in the Iowa House. I urge you to also use the tools available to all of us to hold our legislature accountable.

I always look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me at You can also join me for a local forum in your county.