MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN IOWA: Get to know Rep. Jeff Shipley

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Rep. Jeff Shipley (R-Fairfield) joined The Iowa Standard this week to talk about his role as a legislator.

Shipley serves District 82, which covers most of Jefferson County and then Davis and Van Buren counties, bordering Missouri.

Shipley attended the University of Iowa from 2006-10. At that time, he said, he was really upset about the loss of freedom. He noted the debate over the Patriot Act, domestic spying and collection of electronic records.

His three most important issues are:

1. Education – “There’s a lot of conservatives who talk about education, but then there are conservatives like me who actually vote against education budgets and vote against new dollars for education. There’s a lot of really good reasons to vote against education dollars, what I’m honing in on is how the school nutrition laws at the state and federal level has really created this massive bureaucracy that’s harming our children and frankly just not getting them the nutrition they need to be successful.”

Shipley said if kids had a nice plate of bacon waiting for them at school, it may help them succeed. Who could argue with that?

He also talked about nutrition helping the behavioral, psychiatric, mental health issues in today’s schools.

2. Medical freedom – “Basically I want to make sure that parents are in the driver’s seat when it comes to their children’s health. That it is parents making the decisions for their children and not some government bureaucrat. Parents have the power and we want to keep it that way.”

3. Mental health – “A lot of problems with anxiety, depression, suicide. I think a lot of the times we’re not even asking the right questions. And it really goes to creating this culture of life where every single individual knows that they’re created in the image and likeness of God, that their life has a higher purpose and that there’s a reason to be alive. So, it’s very frustrating just in the way we talk about these issues that I think we’re getting a lot of the mental health conversations wrong because we’re asking the wrong questions and also because I think the laws need to change.”

Shipley said the most surprising thing has been how immense government is and all the things that are in Iowa Code.

“Every time a new bill comes up or I start reading Iowa Code I’m always surprised what’s in there and just how we’ve really allowed the government to get into every single aspect of our life in a lot of ways that are very negative. I’m always just dropping my jaw at how the laws got to be this way.

Iowans need to engage in their government more, Shipley said. Especially conservative Iowans.

He has enjoyed having opportunities to reach people. One of the most rewarding things he’s been able to do is speak with high school government classes.

“Not all school districts let me do that, so when I do get an invitation from a teacher it’s even that more rewarding.”

He said some of the young students need to be challenged a bit more and we need to be more thoughtful in how we address issues.

Outside of session, Shipley said he enjoys riding the bicycle around rural Iowa. He participated in RAGBRAI last year. He likes anything in the outdoors, he said, along with making food.

Shipley said his district is unique with its diversity. And, while the district tends to lean a little bit left — at least in Fairfield — he said it’s a lot of fun for him to interact with folks and show how conservative solutions are oftentimes more effective and appropriate than what they might have thought.

You can visit Rep. Shipley’s website here.

Also, find him on Facebook here.

Author: Jacob Hall