In response to James Heires’ criticism of the proposed Iowa Senate resolution recognizing the crinoid as the state fossil of Iowa, I applaud his concern for the many underserved needs of Iowans (“Crinoids aren’t Iowa’s most pressing concern,” Feb. 5).
But Heires’ reading skills need work. Sen. Bolkcom noted the recognition “won’t cost us a dime.” Heires missed that important information. Nor did his letter identify a single program necessarily cut or reduced because of the designation. Giving recognition to an historically and scientifically important fossil, rare in many places but abundant and well-preserved in our state’s bedrock, will not reduce important social services or programs. Our Republican legislators will do that by themselves. Iowa doesn’t misspend money on the goldfinch, wild rose or geode even though they are “state” symbols. Making the crinoid (an echinoderm, not a crustacean) another emblem of the diversity of nature found in Iowa would be achieved without sacrifice by anyone.