When I entered the race for Iowa House District 19 last year, I did it to fight for all voters of this district, a place I call home.
Today, now that the 87th Iowa General Assembly as concluded, I am able to reflect and reaffirm my commitment to the voters of Iowa House District 19.
What happened over the last session?
Water Quality: Our leaders passed "historic" water quality legislation. When they did, they publicly said there would be add-on legislation before the end of the session to make the bill better. That never happened. It provides an estimated $282 million over 12 years, far short of what will be required.
Minimum Wage: After passing a "pre-emption" bill in 2017, no one even brought up Iowa's stagnant minimum wage.
Tax Reform: In the final hours of the session, Republican leaders passed another "historic" bill, a major tax cut for a lot of Iowans. I have long advocated for tax reform in Iowa, but the plan that was passed is irresponsible in my opinion. We could have cut income taxes by 20% across the board by just eliminating Federal Deductibility. Instead, our leaders will spend nearly $2.3 billion on this tax cut over six years, after having to de-appropriate nearly $300 million over the last two years.
Education Funding: With a slight increase in State Aid, schools will continue to need to be creative with how they spend their limited dollars. Unfortunately, two bills failed to gain passage which would have extended the school infrastructure tax out until 2050. It is set to expire in 2029.
Medical Marijuana: Despite increasing calls and case study data calling for modifications to Iowa's Medical Marijuana program, leaders refused to act. I support modifying the ailments covered under the law.
Abortion: Last year it was the abortion ban at 20 weeks. This year, Iowa legislators decided to expand their ban to any fetus with a heartbeat, or about 6 weeks. I would not have supported this bill in any form, under any circumstance. I don't believe the government has a vested interest at this stage of a pregnancy.
Mental Health: The state of Iowa made great strides in mental health with the passage of SF 2113. But it is just the beginning. We still need to update our funding model and expand our access to acute care.
Future Ready Iowa: This was a major initiative of Gov. Reynolds and the legislature agreed. This is a great step forward, but I believe it is just a step. We need to create a Startup Fund in Iowa, expand innovative education models, and connect students to the best opportunities.
All in all, the 87th Iowa General Assembly will go down as one of action; even if some of the actions weren't non-partisan or supportive of a quality of life I believe most Iowans believe in and advocate for. Our campaign is ready to take this fight all the way to the capital to fight for your voices; the voice of all voters, to strengthen our communities for today and tomorrow.