Author

Randy Evans

Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected]

COMMENTARY

If vigilante justice spreads, who will be the next target?

By: - September 11, 2021

Let’s set aside our views on abortion. Instead, let’s consider one aspect of the new Texas abortion law that took effect last week. All of us should be able to agree on this, whether we find abortions abominable or support a woman’s right to end her pregnancy: The enforcement mechanism created by Texas lawmakers is […]

COMMENTARY

Red Oak’s war loss both new and sadly familiar

By: - September 4, 2021

The news out of Afghanistan last week about the terrorist bombing at the airport in Kabul brought fresh heartache — and old memories — to Iowa. A native of Red Oak, Marine Cpl. Daegan Page, 23, was among 13 members of the U.S. military who died in the blast. Page and the others were screening […]

COMMENTARY

More secrecy unwise in state universities’ hiring decisions

By: - August 28, 2021

Iowa’s three state universities made a U-turn this summer, and they now are headed down the road toward secrecy with some hiring decisions. The about-face should trouble taxpayers of this state. It also should bother members of the Legislature, who have expressed concern in recent years that the universities are out of touch with the […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa’s Amish have some lessons for us about today’s COVID controversies

By: - August 21, 2021

The man who answered the door at a farm house west of Bloomfield one afternoon in the early 1970s was an imposing figure, even without that thick beard on his chin. Gideon Yutzy was a member of the Old Order Amish religion. He was the patriarch of a family that moved into the countryside west […]

COMMENTARY

Norm Borlaug and Dolly Parton: Two peas in a pod

By: - August 2, 2021

It is hard to imagine Norman Borlaug ever joining in singing “Jolene” or “9 to 5.” I can’t picture him harmonizing in a heart-tugging rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” This is not a knock against this kid from Cresco, Iowa. He excelled in other ways — like saving upwards of one billion people from starvation […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa’s universities need to learn important lesson about free speech

By: - July 21, 2021

In recent years, Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Legislature often agree on little. But they were nearly unanimous this spring in supporting an important piece of legislation — a bill requiring faculty and administrators at the state universities to go through training about the First Amendment and the rights it contains. Anyone skeptical of […]

COMMENTARY

Government cuts corners on public participation

By: - July 16, 2021

Several times a week, someone contacts me because they had difficulty learning about a government meeting or ran into obstacles trying to get government records. These calls and emails to the Iowa Freedom of Information Council come more frequently than just a few years ago. This is a troubling trend because there is growing citizen […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa leaders can’t stop electric-vehicle progress, even to protect ethanol

By: - July 6, 2021

Controversy, of sorts, arrived in my driveway last week. There was no commotion. There were no protesters. No picketers. No chants about destroying the economy or caving in to China. In fact, there was virtually no sound at all when the revolution in the American automobile industry rolled to a stop — and our niece […]

COMMENTARY

A church and its misplaced priorities

By: - July 3, 2021

Talk about lousy timing. The biggest religion story in Iowa last week was a jaw-dropper. Attorney General Tom Miller announced he has concluded a three-year investigation of sexual abuse allegations against priests in the four Roman Catholic dioceses in our state. Miller’s staff examined church records, some dating to the 1930s, that involved about 100 […]

COMMENTARY

Water quality ruling wasn’t one of the court’s finest moments

By: - June 23, 2021

Through the long arc of history, the Iowa Supreme Court has developed a reputation for judicial courage that often puts it ahead of many other courts when crafting groundbreaking decisions before important legal concepts become widely accepted. The issues have been meaty, and controversial, especially here in the middle of America. Iowa has been a […]

COMMENTARY

Gov. Reynolds should heed her own words about the need for transparency

By: - June 16, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds talked last week about the importance of government leaders keeping other government officials looped in as decisions are made and events unfold. The governor was more correct than she probably intended. I will get to that shortly. But first, here is some important background on the governor’s statement — because she and […]

COMMENTARY

The U.S. should not treat its friends this way  

By: - June 8, 2021

Too often these days, Americans and our government seem to be incapable of agreeing on what the best course of action is, regardless of the issue. This is especially true when we are talking about immigration and immigrants. Case in point: Zalmay Niazy of Iowa Falls. Before you jump to the conclusion that Niazy sneaked […]