Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds presented her "State of the State" address to the state legislature and the citizens of Iowa. While Iowa has made great progress over the past decade, we also have a long way to go to ensure our state motto rings true for every Iowan.
Some of the Governor's key points:
- Calling for a "Rural Iowa Initiative" designed to bring together leaders from across the state to promote investment to connect rural Iowa which includes bringing broadband access into every corner of our state.
- She also made a call for tax reform, including doing away with an outdated policy of federal tax deductibility.
- Also on taxes was a call for a bi-partisan task force to review corporate taxes and tax credits in what she called a "multi-year" effort.
- One of the top issues in the upcoming election will be healthcare; both Medicaid and mental health. She called the current situation, "un-affordable, unsustainable, and unacceptable.
- Finally, she touted a new program with Des Moines University to increase caregivers trained in mental health services as well as removing the cap on sub-acute beds.
I believe in doing good for people. It's not a partisan line, it's a core belief, and one on which I am staking my campaign. We can support good policy which lifts everyone up and leaves no one behind. Policies which support those in need, prepares and guides for the future, and survives on the entrepreneurial spirit of our great communities.
But in order to do so, we need to put away partisan games and come together to debate the true challenges we face and come up with solutions to improve the lives of all Iowans.
- Healthcare: Access to quality and affordable healthcare throughout the state has slowly and steadily declined. Our Medicaid managed care situation is not stable, and it is not okay. We need real solutions and we need them today.
- Education: While the Governor's budget includes more money for education, we need to ensure we fund pre-k and post-secondary education at the highest levels. And beyond that, it should be the policy of this state to close the gap from school to work with model programs like Waukee APEX and Central Campus' trade programs. We must adapt to the 21st Century world and provide our children the best opportunities to be successful.
- Water Quality: Over seven years ago, the voters in Iowa voted to approve a tax increase (estimated to raise $180 million a year if implemented). The solution to our water quality issue is to make the large investment, build public/private partnerships, and attack the issue at its source. We must aim for tangible results to solve the environmental issue of our generation here in Iowa.
- Criminal Justice Reform: Iowa's prisons are overcrowded and are being used far too often as mental health facilities; a job they are not suited for. Our government needs to support better re-integration programs and policies to ensure every citizen who has paid their debts to society have every opportunity to become strong members of our communities. We need to introduce more drug courts, veterans courts, adjust mandatory minimums, and enact sensible "Ban the Box" legislation.
I don’t believe any one person or any one party has a monopoly on good ideas. In Iowa, we have some very serious issues ahead of us and our politics has become so divided, so toxic, that no one is listening to each other, all the while the challenges mount.
I urge my friends in both the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate to take a moment this session and listen. Put politics aside and focus on our communities and what would do the most good for today and tomorrow.
And here is my offer: I will extend my hand to anyone at any point during the session and throughout the campaign who wants to talk about the issues and work together to find solutions for our great state.