Sioux City leaders lobby lawmakers in Washington, D.C. during st - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sioux City leaders lobby lawmakers in Washington, D.C. during steak reception

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTIV) - It's a 60-year-old tradition. Wednesday night dozens of Siouxland leaders in Washington D.C. for the annual steak reception.

The event is the highlight of a two-day trip in the Nation's Capitol aimed at getting support for solutions to the biggest issues facing the tri-state area.

While the rain poured down on Washington D.C. about 50 Siouxland leaders kept dry at the 60th annual steak reception.

The enticing buffet line a frequent distraction to the evenings primary purpose.

Barbara Sloniker, Exec. Vice President Siouxland Chamber of Commerce says, "Its that building of the relationship, that face-to-face communication you can't get that by being back in Siouxland."

You'll notice there is a whole spread of food at this reception but not a lot of tables the idea is to encourage everyone to mingle.

The night was especially meaningful for Senator Tom Harkin, this reception will be his last in office.

Sen. Tom Harkin, (D) Iowa says, "I have been to 40 in a row I have never missed one."

One of Harkin's final goals is passing a bill that will promote work force training and help Iowa businesses get their hands on more skilled labor.

South Sioux City City Administrator Lance Hedquist has high hopes.

"The funds for programs that are offered at your community colleges I think will be a key component of that," says Lance Headquist, South Sioux CIty City Administrator.

The reception follows a day full of back-to-back meetings.

Sioux City Superintendent Paul Gausman is intent on convincing congress to reform the "no child left behind act".

The law is penalizing many tri-state schools for not meeting what gausman calls unrealistic benchmarks.

Paul Gausman, Sioux City Superintendent says "This punitive law with negative designations is really creating a challenge for our tri-state area."

Sen. Charles Grassley, (R) Iowa says "Everyone realizes no child left behind doesn't work and it is just a short period of time before it is going to be changed."

Transportation officials are worried about the highway trust fund which helps pay for transportation projects.

Charese Yanney, Commissioner Chair of the Iowa DOT says, "The trust fund will be out of money somewhere in July and when that happens projects will stop basically."

Funding is needed to complete Highway 20 and in Sioux City to build a bridge over the railroad tracks on 18th street.

Sen. John Thune, (R) South Dakota, "Its an issue that has to be addressed the Obama Administration pitched a transportation funding bill this week."

But, it's up to congress to pass it.

Thursday, Siouxland leaders will have a final day of meetings in the nation's Capitol, before heading back to the tri-state region.

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