FAIRFIELD — Iowa Rep. Jeff Shipley (R-Birmingham) said he does not plan to participate in the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s legislative forum Saturday morning but will host his own forum later that day.
Shipley is calling his own forum “Community Conversation,” which will last from 10:30 a.m. until noon at Phoenix Rising Hall in Fairfield, located at 207 W. Burlington Ave. The event is open to both in-person attendees and those who wish to view it through Shipley’s Facebook page video chat room.
Coffee and pastries will be served as well as “immune supporting vitamin and mineral supplements,” Shipley said.
The Chamber’s legislative briefing will be from 7:30-9 a.m. that same morning and will be held over Zoom. Shipley and the other Iowa legislators who serve Jefferson County were invited to participate, including Iowa Sen. Jeff Reichman and Iowa Rep. Joe Mitchell.
Shipley said he’s not planning to participate in the Chamber’s forum for a few reasons, some having to do with technology and others having to do with what he perceives as the quality of discussion at the forums.
“I can’t reliably participate in Zoom meetings from my home office, nor do I wish to,” Shipley said. “I’d rather not drive into town on a Saturday morning just for a Zoom call.”
Shipley lives in rural Birmingham, which is a 20-minute drive into Fairfield, according to Google maps.
Shipley said he feels the time and the location of the event is “unnecessarily exclusive to the public, and the chamber has been unwilling to make accommodations.”
The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shipley said that, while he appreciated the invitation to participate, the legislative briefings have never felt productive, from his point of view.
“I feel there are people who are incapable or unwilling of engaging in constructive dialogue,” Shipley said. “It seems like the Chamber events are structured to reinforce that type of mindset.”
The legislative briefing is structured so that each legislator gets a chance to make an opening statement about bills they’re working on at the Capitol. After that, they field questions from the audience, alternating between questions from sponsors and questions from the rest of the crowd.
Shipley said he wishes the legislative briefing were in-person.
“Essential business is conducted in person,” Shipley said. “Technology can enhance human experience, but we must not allow technology to replace human experience and interaction entirely. I view legislative forums as essential business. I’m saddened that others don’t.”
To join Saturday morning’s legislative briefing over Zoom, visit
Meeting ID: 883 8655 6168; pass code: 661296
A legislative forum is being held in Washington Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. To join that forum, visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81042752375?pwd=T3BPQnp6bythdnFvR24yRU9HRlAwdz09
Meeting ID: 810 4275 2375; pass code: Chamber