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The back half of the 89th General Assembly got underway on January 10th and we have heard the Condition of the State, Judiciary and the Guard. The Governor laid out a bold agenda and the Chief Justice and the Adjutant General were hopeful… and as the General said, “we’ve always answered the call, and we have never failed a mission.”

Between the Governor’s Condition of the State and Speaker Grassley’s opening remarks, it seems that our vision for this legislative session is very similar. Of course, we will need to work through the details as the session goes on, but both the House and the Governor are committed to delivering tax relief for every Iowan, addressing the workforce shortage, and increasing transparency in education.

The Taxpayer Relief Fund has reached more than $1 billion. We view this surplus as an overpayment by the taxpayers and will be returning it in a responsible and sustainable way while still funding Iowans priorities. Conversations are ongoing between the House, Senate and Governor Reynolds on how to best return this overpayment and lower taxes during this legislative session.

We heard a lot from the Governor on the need to address the workforce shortage in Iowa. Iowa’s economy has 64,000 unemployed Iowans and 110,000 unfilled jobs. An economy that is creating jobs is always a great sign, but right now we will channel our energy toward filling the jobs that our businesses already have open. There won’t be one single bill that solves this issue. The Governor brought many ideas to the table to address the workforce shortage in Iowa in her Condition of the State address. We will vet all of her proposals, and bring our own to the table, to address this issue from all angles.

The Broadband Grant fund (100 million in State Dollars that myself and the Broadband Bros helped usher through last year) seems to have been awarded successfully to our TelComs/Internet providers across the state. That’s great news, but due mostly to supply chain issues, and in some areas worker shortages and pandemic hangover, it may take a bit longer than expected to reach those targeted areas. Some of the more recent Federal Funds have caused some hiccups in the application process as well, so we will continue to audit the funds and projects to find where we can do better. To date, the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program has awarded grant funding that will result in over $880 million in new broadband investment, reaching approximately 115,000 homes, schools, and businesses upon the completion of grant-funded projects.

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During the special session on October 28th last year, the Iowa Legislature passed a redistricting plan for Iowa. This was the second proposed plan for redrawing Iowa’s congressional and legislative districts. The first plan had been turned down by the Senate. As required by the Constitution of Iowa and Iowa Code, Iowa’s 4 congressional districts, 50 Iowa Senate districts, and 100 Iowa House districts were drafted based on ideal populations for each in accordance with the 2020 Decennial Census Data that was released in August. For myself, currently representing House District 20 (Adair, Guthrie, portions of Dallas and Cass), I now find myself campaigning in new House District 23, which is still all of Adair County but now all of Madison County as well. I will still have a portion of Dallas County, three townships, which includes Redfield, Dexter and DeSoto, as well as, five townships in Union and three in Clarke counties, including the towns of Lorimor, Thayer and Murray. If you’re in the territory that I’m losing, thank you so much for your support and trust. If you’re part of what will be my new district, I ask for your support and vote and hope to see you around the district soon!

Author: Ray Sorensen

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