“There is a lot to be done at the Iowa State House because the needs of the people in this district are not being met. Here is where I stand on these issues, which I have heard about time and again everywhere I go—door knocking, in Barnstorming Forums and during public events. The Iowa legislature is ‘burning daylight,’ as my dad would say. It is time they got to work on our issues instead of taking care of special interests. I would like to represent you to help assure that happens. That is why I am running for House District 55.”— Kayla

Health Care

Medicaid Privatization has failed our people, especially in rural areas. I will work to establish a better health-care system managed in-state, not by out-of-state special interests. I will support legislation that will move us to more affordable, accessible healthcare where Iowans are not denied treatment because of pre-existing conditions.

Iowa Medicaid privatization has thrown many Iowans “under the bus.” It has failed the people of Iowa. People are being denied care and our hospitals and caregivers are not getting paid by the Managed Care Organizations. While this was touted as a money-saving measure, no transparent accounting has shown that the state is saving money. But Iowans are suffering. In contrast to my opponent, I do not support the privatization of Medicaid. I will work to get care back to our elderly and individuals with disabilities and make sure our care providers are getting paid.

In addition to working for a solution to privatization, I will be a solid advocate for policy that makes health care and health insurance more affordable to all- including self-employed entrepreneurs, farmers, and small business owners. And I will fight so that people are not denied care because of pre-existing conditions.

*I will work to expand (not diminish) access to superior mental health care, especially treatment of opioid and other addictions. I will also support robust wellness programs that provide access to healthy food and exercise for our most vulnerable rural populations, including school children. Since privatization, several Iowa providers have been forced to close down because they are not being paid. Many have also been forced to obtain private loans to pay their employees and keep the doors open. Other providers are reducing services and no longer treating some Iowans who need extensive care because they aren’t being paid for the services they are providing.—2018 Medicaid Privatization Research Brief, Iowa House Democrats

Revitalization

Every year we witness our young people leaving. Most never return. Here in Northeast Iowa, and some other rural parts of the state, we’re not making the headway we should. It is time the legislature paid less attention to big special interests and more attention to the revitalization of rural Iowa. Northeast Iowa is exceptionally well-suited for growing entrepreneurship and initiating revitalization both on our farms and in our towns. Now is the time to seize this opportunity! I will fight for substantial research and development funding for Iowa residents who incubate businesses, including beginning farmers and start-ups, outside metropolitan areas. Further, rural Iowa must be well-connected. We need to expand broadband access so that our farmers, business owners, healthcare providers, and even energy systems run efficiently.

Iowa Education

My mother and both my grandmothers were teachers. I know how important a good education is to the success of those who must do well in a highly competitive world. I will work vigorously for a well-funded, 21st-century public school system designed to provide advantages for our children and support our teachers, in both rural and urban Iowa.

I support our teachers, including the rights of teachers and public employees to bargain collectively. I will work to reinstate their Chapter 20 rights.

Not only must we improve funding to our K-12 system, we must also fund our community colleges and universities and support Iowa graduates so that they can get a high-quality education without a mountain of student debt.

A lot of legislators in the state house talk about a great educational system, but the majority do nothing to accomplish it. In fact, they are going backward. Despite what the majority claims, the state’s funding support for K-12 public education—so important to the futures of our young people—is declining in real terms and is inadequate for Iowa children in the 21st century.

For example, During the 2017 legislative session, politicians in Des Moines decreased real overall spending on education in Iowa; they increased funding for K-12 schools by less than 1%, which, because it was well under the rate of inflation in Iowa, was actually a cut.

During the same legislative session, Iowa lawmakers cut $70.1 million from the Department for the Blind, the College Student Aid Commission, the Department of Education, and the Board of Regents institutions.

Ironically, cuts to education come despite an economy in sustained expansion. To say, “something’s not right,” is a gross understatement.

I will work for the strong public education that all Iowa students deserve. I will not support taxpayer money being used for out-of-state or in-state for-profit schools. Superior education for all Iowans benefits students, parents, and grandparents and can help assure us of a healthier, more economically robust state. Underfunding education, weakening support for our educational community, shackling our children with decades of debt, and failing to retain good teachers, all of which seems to be the policy of the majority in the Iowa legislature, takes us down a path that weakens our rural communities.

Other Issues (Q&A):

Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage?

Under the current system, Iowans are working full time and still living in poverty. The Iowa minimum wage should have at least kept pace with the rate of inflation. (It hasn’t.) I will work for a system that helps those working families. The Iowa legislature has so far failed to do so, and instead has wrongly reversed county initiatives designed by local stakeholders to support workers in their particular economies.

Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session?

If elected, I would seek a more balanced approach that is fair to the middle-class Iowans in my district. The tax cuts passed went disproportionately to the wealthiest in Iowa and out-of-state corporations.

We should instead focus tax policy on solving the problems of working Iowans-whether by covering costs of childcare or incentivizing small town businesses and rural entrepreneurs. We must ensure sufficient revenues to provide services Iowans deserve- including world-class public education.

Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?

Property taxes are a three-legged stool that includes homeowners, farmers, and commercial/industrial property owners. The state already shifted more burden to homeowners and farmers. Ending the backfill would only intensify that burden. The state should keep the promise they made to Iowans and governing bodies a seat at the table.