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There was plenty of emotion on display during Thursday’s Iowa Senate subcommittee hearing on the Governor’s Education Savings Accounts plan. But one of the more emotional scenes was when a recent graduate of Ankeny Centennial called Justin Hollinrake testified. For a brief time, it appeared Hollinrake was fighting back tears.

“Over the holidays I spent a lot of time with family,” he said. “I have a lot of younger cousins and I look around my community and I see a lot of young kids just starting to go to school or currently in school and I just think to myself — are they going to have the types of opportunities that I had.”

Hollinrake said he truly believes he got a “world-class” education from Ankeny Centennial.

“I just think to myself, 10 years from now what is this going to look like? Ten years from now, when these kids are in my position, are they going to be able to say that? Especially with, I have a lot of family in rural Iowa, with how many schools have shut down, how much rural consolidation there’s been, 10 years from now, is public school even going to be an option? Will schools even be open? Will private school be the only option? And with how much money we keep taking out of them, I don’t know. It makes me just, very, very scared for what their futures are going to look like. And that’s just not something I want for any of them. For any of them. And that’s why I came here today.”

While he presented himself as a recent Iowa high school graduate deeply concerned about the future of public schools in rural Iowa, he left out some other details. Like…

*He worked as a field organizer for Cindy Axne on her 2022 campaign.
*He served as a clerk in the Iowa House in 2022 for State Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt.
*He was an intern for the Iowa Legislative Black Caucus as the social media tech.
*He was selected as Democrat House Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines’ “constituent of the week.”

Hollinrake’s testimony has been used by many media outlets as well as promoted by the Iowa Senate Democrats. A photo of his testimony was also included in the legislative newsletter of an Iowa Senate Democrat.

Author: Jacob Hall


  1. Regardless of the improvement ESAs would give to tax-payer dollars being distributed to education, ESAs are lipstick on a pig. I support communities marshaling resources to help young families but the funds would have to be accountable only to the respective community.

    Eliminate the DOE and restructure State agencies to be advisory only.


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