We’ve been in session for just over a month now and it’s been a rough start. We were elected to represent everyone in our districts, not just those who agree with us. In the first six weeks, it seems some of my colleagues have forgotten that.
Instead of using common sense and our Iowa values to guide us through the legislative session, the Governor and Republican leaders are using a playbook from outside Iowa that mobilizes and attempts to normalize the most extreme elements of their base.
It’s why the President of the Iowa Senate says teachers have a “sinister agenda” and wants to put teachers in jail. It’s why one of the GOP lawmakers suggested this week that teachers are leaving the classroom because they are tired of covering up for all the other teachers who are sexual predators. It’s why they haven’t tabled a voucher plan that shifts money from public schools to private schools.
Iowans know these things aren’t true.
As an Iowa kid who is so thankful for my amazing teachers in public schools, I’ve found myself saying something the last few weeks that I never thought I would have to: teachers are not the enemy.
While the endless controversies over education have dominated discussions at the State Capitol so far, that’s far from the only example of GOP politicians in Des Moines putting aside common sense to follow a national playbook.
On taxes, we all agree it’s time to put more money in the pockets of hard working families. If we can work together, there is a great opportunity to make our tax system more fair and ease our workforce crisis.
From what we know so far of the GOP tax plans, the average Iowan will receive some extra money that might pay for a tank of gas – in about three years. On the flip side, millionaires would get thousands back right away, and in the Governor’s tax proposal corporations would get $300 million.
Instead of working to put everyday Iowans first, Republican leaders are now working behind closed doors to figure out who should get more of our tax dollars: corporations or millionaires.
I’ve heard from Iowans all over the state concerned about the direction of the legislative session so far.
Exhausted nurses and doctors concerned about conspiracy theories driving legislation instead of science.
Republican school board members in small towns are sounding the alarm on low state funding, vouchers, and outrageous bills in the Legislature that are driving good teachers out of the classroom.
Hard working Iowans who could use some help paying the bills but can’t even get a reply from their own legislator when they have a problem.
While it’s been a rough start so far, there’s still time to turn this session around.
The Governor and Republican leaders just need to scrap the national playbook and use common sense and Iowa values as their guide for the next two months.