Freshman Sen. Jesse Green took to the floor on Thursday morning to offer a point of personal privilege.
Green called out Republicans in the Iowa House for failing to put through the Students First Act, a bill that would provide school choice for families with students in Iowa’s failing schools.
“The best definition I have ever word of the word politics is — politics is the process of developing and influencing policy that impacts more than one person or a group of people,” Green said. “This is a great and positive definition.
“For me to be a good politician according to this definition, I must speak out for my constituents on the issue they put me in office for to get across the finish line. And that is school choice.”
Green said he campaigned on lowering class size and raising teacher pay. The best way to do that, he said, is to include some form of school choice.
The Students First Act, he said, gives the hardest hit in our society every option possible to find the best education possible and help them break out of a cycle of poverty.
“A bill that says no longer will we accept the status quo for how we view education for the hardest hit in our society,” he said. “There is a reason we have a vibrant homeschool, public school and private school environment here in Iowa. One size cannot fit all.”
Green said most people in society have a negative attitude toward politicians.
“Instead of taking any chances, I’m not going to play games with the policies that I support,” he said. “I’m going to instead call things the way that I see it. I’m increasingly concerned about the news I hear on this bill in the other chamber. I hear House members tell the media before the session that school choice was going to be a priority. I’ve heard others flip flop on this issue or silently hold this bill up.
“I would like to remind my Republican family that school choice is one of our platform issues. Voters just rewarded us with the trust of their vote and my constituents are now asking me why has the school choice bill not been passed yet. We now have retained a Republican trifecta for the third election and what am I supposed to tell my constituents? I urge my Iowa House Republican family to remember who sent you here to represent them.”
Green is 100 percent right. This is the fifth year of the Republican trifecta. This is the fifth straight year of absolute Republican control of state government.
Absolute Republican control as in there is not one thing the Democrats can do to stop Republicans from passing anything they want.
And Green is 100 percent right, school choice is a platform issue for the GOP.
No, he isn’t this week’s Legislator of the Week for leading the way on a new law for Iowa. Senator Jesse Green is the legislator of the week for offering an incredibly refreshing, bold five-minute speech that Republicans in the Iowa House should take to heart.
And maybe should have been told four or five years ago.