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“The flat tax of Steve Forbes seems to have been rooted in the dictum that “what’s good for Bohemian Grove is good for America.” Indeed, it appears to have been drafted on the back of a menu, after a bibulous evening with the boys down at the yacht basin.”Patrick J. Buchanan – January 17, 1996, The New York Times

On January 10, we opened the Iowa Legislative Session. In my first weekly newsletter I would like to renew these commitments to all Iowans:

  • I am committed to bringing our schools back to their historic place as the best in the nation, uplifting our students and equipping them with the skills they need to grow into adulthood.
  • I want to create a welcoming Iowa where people want to move, to work, play and raise their families.
  • I am committed to making sure all families have access to affordable and quality child care.
  • I want to create a tax plan that is progressive and fair for all Iowans.
  • I am committed to fighting divisive bills that create an unwelcoming environment in Iowa that drives our young people to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
  • I want to review and strengthen our open records laws to ensure that our government remains accountable to Iowans.
  • I am committed to work towards the preservation of our natural resources.
  • My commitment is to create a safe and welcoming state for all.

These commitments are not new but I am afraid they often get lost in the noise of partisan political bickering. After listening to opening comments from the Governor and other Republican leaders, it is clear we do not share the same commitments. In her Condition of the State address, the Governor alluded to Iowa’s need to attract young, entrepreneurial people, but failed to recognize why this state needs to become a more welcoming place for young Americans.

Iowa needs a broader appeal than other states. The Governor’s proposed bracketless tax system favors high-income Iowans over those with low or middle incomes. The Governor’s insinuation that Iowa’s safety net is the root of Iowa’s workforce shortage revealed how she does not understand the broader issue. Iowa needs a welcoming environment: quality affordable child care, a first-class education, better wages and benefits. …some families have decided to live on one income until some of these problems are resolved.

The Iowa Supreme Court has established a Juvenile Justice Task Force to review the continuum of care in Iowa’s Juvenile Justice system and make recommendations to improve its services, governance and data collection. The task force will also address the system’s racial and gender disparities. I am honored to have been appointed to this task force and hope that we will create a fair and equitable system for Iowa’s youth.

 “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go into your library and read every book…”Dwight D. Eisenhower


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