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Maybe it’s because the bill passed in the end. Maybe it’s because they weren’t surprising. Maybe it’s because it is difficult to be disappointed in people you had no expectations for to begin with.

Who knows?

But when the Governor’s ESA proposal passed the Iowa House of Representatives on Monday night, I was sort of surprised how at not upset I was at the Republicans who voted against educational freedom, ESAs and Iowa families.

After two years of leadership protecting the moderates, the bill was finally brought to the floor for a vote. And keep in mind this bill was much, much more aggressive (better) than the previous two versions.

While it was disappointing to see nine Republicans take a stand against the GOP platform, it wasn’t earth-shattering. Anyone who has been paying attention sort of knew it was coming.

And let’s be honest, there are some people who voted “yes” for the wrong reasons — political reasons. I at least respect those who truly oppose ESAs for putting their name next to their position. We can have respectful disagreements on issues. And those who voted no disagree. This doesn’t mean they don’t deserve criticism, because it’s coming. But if they really believe ESAs aren’t necessary or are bad policy, then they did the right thing for them.

Here are those GOP no-votes (maps of their individual district are linked to their name):

Rep. Michael Bergan (Cresco, Jackson Junction, Decorah)
Rep. Brian Best (Avoca, Carroll, Audubon, Audubon, Manning)
Rep. Jane Bloomingdale (Clear Lake, Nora Springs, Northwood, Osage, Mitchell)
Rep. Chad Ingels (Oelwein, Dunkerton, Fairbank, West Union, Jesup)
Rep. Brian Lohse (Alleman, Polk City, Bondurant, Carlisle, Mitchellville, Runnells)
Rep. Gary Mohr (Bettendorf)
Rep. Tom Moore (Shenandoah, Atlantic, Red Oak, Villisca, Stanton)
Rep. David Sieck (Glenwood, Tabor, Sidney, Oakland, Treynor)
Rep. Brent Siegrist (Council Bluffs)

They all have their reasons for voting against expanded educational choice, ESAs and Iowa families. And that’s fine. That’s the beauty of the political world. At the end of the day, you get to make your decision on your vote — but then you also have to stomach the consequences.

And I think they’re all willing to do that. They were willing to die on the hill of government schools, for some reason. They were able to ignore the recent realities of indoctrination in Iowa’s government schools.

June 2024 should be an exciting time to be a Republican in Iowa.


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