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

WW II lesson is ignored during this pandemic

By: - November 18, 2020

Forgive me, but I don’t think Americans are as tough as we used to be. Specifically, I don’t think many of us see the big picture the way our parents and our grandparents did. I venture down this treacherous path because I think this lack of toughness is affecting Iowans’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. […]

COMMENTARY

Weary reflections from the middle of the road

By: - November 11, 2020

I’m tired. I’m worn out. My energy has been sapped. I am tired of getting up every day and bracing myself to learn who or what, in the dawn’s early light, the president has demeaned, disparaged or mocked like a school kid. I long for the days when political leaders try to bring us together, […]

COMMENTARY

Governor’s lawyers admit her staff refused to release public records on COVID-19 testing

By: - October 27, 2020

When the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public records law 50 years ago, lawmakers wanted to guarantee that anyone could obtain copies of state and local government records that are not designated by statute to be kept confidential. There is no asterisk in the law. There is no exemption saying the governor can ignore the […]

COMMENTARY

UNI student leaders missed important lesson on free speech

By: - October 20, 2020

There is a significant disconnect right now at the University of Northern Iowa. We think of colleges and universities as places where people come together to learn, to discuss and deliberate ideas, and to strengthen their thinking skills. But that has not occurred this month at Iowa’s third-largest university. The UNI student government refused last […]

COMMENTARY

Michigan governor kidnap plot shows danger of vigilantes

By: - October 13, 2020

My closest friend spent his working life in law enforcement. He handled everything from minor traffic violations to homicides, with assorted robberies, break-ins, vandalism and domestic assaults in between. Sadly, Denny has been gone for three years. Among his family’s treasured possessions are his sheriff’s badges, the shoulder patches from his uniforms and the large, […]

COMMENTARY

2020 has shown us why America needs journalists

By: - October 8, 2020

Editors’ note: This column was orginally written for the National Newspaper Association in observance of National Newspaper Week this week. There is one week set aside each year to salute newspapers for the important role they have played in our nation, a role that goes back to the beginning of these United States. This year, […]

COMMENTARY

We should be talking about everyone’s taxes, not just Trump’s

By: - September 29, 2020

The events and issues of the past couple of weeks have been swirling around in my head like Toto, Dorothy and the debris picked up in that famous Kansas cyclone. Here are some thoughts from that vortex: *  *  * HOW DO YOU COMPARE? People were buzzing Sunday night over news reports dealing with federal […]

COMMENTARY
Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst

‘Principles’ shouldn’t be a matter of convenience

By: - September 22, 2020

One of my co-workers at the Des Moines Register was Gene Raffensperger, an excellent reporter with a delicious sense of humor. When Raff was working on a dull story, he often would announce to colleagues, “We’re going to need another tanker of Murine. I’ve got an eye-burner here.” Raff is no longer with us. But […]

COMMENTARY

We should not just accept deaths like Sabrina’s and Natalie’s

By: - September 15, 2020

Twenty years ago, when the death of 2-year-old Shelby Duis outraged Iowans, I was confident the Spirit Lake tragedy would soon bring change to our state. I probably was naive. In 2016, when Natalie Finn, 16, was found near death in a middle-class neighborhood in West Des Moines, I was confident that tragedy would bring […]

COMMENTARY

Vision Iowa was a smart investment in communities. The state should bring it back.

By: - September 9, 2020

There was a milestone of note recently, and it is a shame there was not a big public celebration. Twenty years ago, Gov. Tom Vilsack and the Iowa Legislature had the foresight to create a program that has brought important changes to communities large and small across Iowa. The program was called Vision Iowa — […]

COMMENTARY

Young speakers inspire us with their courage

By: - August 26, 2020

I’m sure we all have been inspired at one time or another by a gifted speaker. Maybe it was a pastor or teacher. Maybe it was a leader who is a skilled orator. Or it might have been someone else who connected with us and delivered a memorable message. In the past few weeks, a […]

COMMENTARY

Today’s leaders could learn from Terry Branstad

By: - August 18, 2020

Regardless of what you think of his political positions, Terry Branstad knew instinctively what being governor entailed. A core duty is looking out for people when they most need help after a disaster. Branstad’s skill, and the skill of local officials, too, was on display in the summer of 1993 in the hours after one […]