“I’m a longtime Republican, but I’m never voting for you ever again.”


That’s what Madrid resident Dave Cook had to say to state Sen. Jerry Behn on Saturday morning. It echoed what many of the 60-plus people who packed into an Ericson Public Library conference room for a monthly public forum hosted by the Boone County Chamber of Commerce. Behn, along with his son, Chad Behn, a Boone County Supervisor, and state Reps. Chip Baltimore and Rob Bacon, faced hostile and negative responses from many of those in attendance.


From Medicaid to public worker collective bargaining reform to worker’s compensation and K-12 education funding and more, the questions from the public and statements from the office holders covered a variety of topics in the one-forum. The monthly forum was cancelled in February after state lawmakers communicated that they wouldn’t be able to attend.


However, Saturday, all three state lawmakers were all at one public event in Boone County. None of the three legislators covered many items in detail in their introductory remarks, saying they wanted to make more time for constituent questions.


Chad Behn, in what would be his only lengthy time speaking in the forum, used his introductory remarks to gave a detailed list of major projects in the works for the county supervisors. He included replacing the county’s radio system and participation in a 10-county mental health coalition on his list.


More than 10 citizens were chosen by moderator Kurt Phillips, the executive director of the Boone County Chamber of Commerce, to ask questions or make comments, and most got a full response.


At least two citizens, including Cook, told Jerry Behn they wouldn’t vote for him again. Behn, the new President Pro Tempore of the Senate and a state senator first elected in 1996, easily won re-election last November, as did Baltimore and Bacon.


Baltimore seemed to draw some of the most vocal reactions of the hour with his position on the importance of seniority among workers, as compared to proficiency, during a discussion of why teachers and other public employees have had health insurance and other benefits removed from collective bargaining by recent legislation.


“In my opinion, the number of years you work (in a career field) is not necessarily related to how good you are at your job,” Baltimore said. “I want good employees — not necessarily long-serving ones.”


Bacon, who serves on both the state government and human resources committees in the Iowa House, cited an example of a district that saved about $600,000 by switching to a different health insurance carrier.


After the forum, Baltimore said he feels some 2017 legislative bills have been badly misrepresented by the media and those with a financial interest in stopping a bill, such as worker’s compensation reform recently approved by the House.


Regarding Medicaid, no long-term solutions to the managed-care organization payment and patient procedure approval delays and communication issues were discussed, though all three state lawmakers discussed the work they’d personally done to fix the short-term immediate issues. Bacon said the privatization was rolled out in late 2015 with the idea it would be evaluated after two to three years in operation.


Other issues discussed include narrowing down the amount and nature of high-school equivalency options allowed, tax breaks for large corporations and efforts to enact tax-cut reform, and the use of reserve funds. Baltimore said he doesn’t see any meaningful legislation happening on tax reform this session.