Name: Rep. Terry Baxter, Republican (incumbent)
Office/District: State Representative District 8
Profession: Cofounder GoServ Global, international missions agency
Why running for office: “The biggest reason is I feel that my work isn’t done yet. I worked really hard the past six years to keep taxes low. We’ve tried to pass an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that grants a right to law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. Also, we’ve worked on a clarification amendment that states very clearly that the Iowa Constitution does not grant the right for an abortion or make taxpayer dollars pay for it. Those couple of initiatives are really big for me.
“I’m also an avid sportsman. I like representing that community. I love conservative. I like anything dealing with hunting, fishing, the outdoors. I sponsored the straight-walled rifle bill. That’s been very popular with sportsmen. We do not allow what’s called your high-velocity or necked down rounds, magnums and that kind of thing. So, we took the ammunition that was legal for handgun hunting in Iowa and we made it also legal to use in rifle form alongside our shotguns. That’s been incredibly popular. That’s been a real boost. One of the neat things is they don’t have the recoil and they’re cheaper to shoot. You can go out and practice, especially our youth and women can become proficient without having to have their shoulder knocked out of joint. It’s just been a successful bill for Iowa.
“I’m pro-family, pro-small business and entrepreneurship. I really want to encourage those things to continue and move ahead. I’m very conservative.
“The whole mental health issue is huge. We have to do something with that. I’ve been working on the frontlines taking this district up in North Iowa that is 22 counties and trying to get that broken down so it’s smaller and delivering better. We have a lot to do in the area of criminal justice reform, looking at some legislation where we can take our nonjuvenile lifers — about four years ago, by federal mandate, we had to put something in our law code that a juvenile under 18 who received a life sentence without the chance of parole had some form of a track in law code later looked at and be considered for having a sentence commuted to a term of years. When it comes to our nonjuvenile lifers, someone 19 and they get that sentence and for the rest of their life it never gets looked at, we’re looking at doing something that would not affect a lot of people, but just have some things in the law code which would have a huge vetting system where people went through all these different accomplishments in prison and what not and they could be looked at and the Governor would have a little more of a system to say this is where we look at someone. That’s a big initiative we’ve got moving ahead. Education is a big one in Iowa. It’s always been a crucial issue. Our emergency medical services are really important right now. We’re trying to get some funds freed up so they can become essential services.
“One thing that’s pretty exciting and encouraging to me is the bipartisan spirit that Iowa has. You probably don’t hear a lot about that. Last year 92 percent of our bills passed out of the House were passed with a bipartisan vote. That’s been really exciting to help build that cooperation between the two parties down in Des Moines and get more of a spirit of cooperation and let’s do what is good for Iowa kind of thing. That’s been really fun to work on.
“I’m also at the point where I really believe that my most effective years of service are in front of me. It takes 3-4 years to really get to know the system down there, build relationships on both sides of the aisle and understand how the legislative process works. This has been a tremendous learning curve. I feel that I’m at the point of being my most effective to give back to my constituents and really service them.
“There’s a drainage issue locally. I was able to get together a workforce with a bunch of my constituents and really go to work on that issue and get some legislation moving on that. It’s just a very exciting time. I feel that I have a lot of work to do in front of me and my job is not done yet. I’d consider it an honor to serve my constituents down in Des Moines for another term.”
Facebook: Terry Baxter for Iowa