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News 1.31.20: Top-Tier Campaigns Visit Sioux City, Supervisor Steps Down and More


A burst of last-minute campaigning hitting the state of Iowa this weekend.

On Friday, two top-tier candidates stumped for support in Sioux City.

First, at Western Iowa Tech Community College surrogates held an event for Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren.   

JANUARY 31, 2020

A few dozen people listened to Congresswoman Katie Porter of California who is a native of Fort Dodge, Iowa and Iowa Democratic leader John Norris.

Then, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke to a crowd of about 200 at the Orpheum Theatre.

He responded to critics who say he doesn’t have the experience to serve as President.

The Iowa Caucuses take place Monday, listen for special coverage Monday night from Siouxland Public Media and NPR News.

And, Republican Jeremy Taylor announced he is resigning from the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors. Taylor's voter registration was revoked last week by County Auditor Pat Gill. Gill, who is a Democrat, ruled that Taylor was not living in a home in the district he was representing on the board.

Taylor told Siouxland Public Media a legal battle would be too costly so he stepped down.  Gill says he prefers a special election to fill the open seat.

Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City says it has found new internships for a group of students from Chile and Brazil, meeting a January 31st deadline set by the federal government. The college says some of the students are still applying for the new internships and the State Department is reviewing their placements.

A State Department letter to WIT in December said a staffing agency had placed students from the college into unskilled internships at packing and manufacturing plants, and that those jobs were not acceptable under their visa program. 

Andrea Rohlena with WIT says the college looked for new internships for the 50 students still in the program. She told Iowa Pubic Radio this week new placements had been found for everyone. 

“The college is currently creating individual internship plans for each student. Those are being sent to the U.S. Department of State for review. And then we are waiting for approval upon for those placements.” 

Rohlena says she can’t say what businesses will host the students until the State Department approves them. But she assures they are related to students’ coursework in culinary arts, robotics, and other fields.

Siouxland Public Media News reached out to one of the advocacy groups representing some nine of the eleven students who originally expressed concern that WITCC and the businesses taking part in the J1-Visa Program were involved in human trafficking of the students.  The advocacy group didn’t response on Friday.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.
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