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The Iowa Standard reached out to all federal and state legislative candidates to find out where they stand on the idea of defunding police and abolishing both the police and prisons. This idea is supported by Des Moines Black Lives Matter.

Republican Craig Williams is running against Democrat C.J. Petersen for the Iowa Senate District 6 seat.


Williams’ response: “Absolutely not. I will not support the call for unsafe neighborhoods.”

Petersen’s response: “I believe in good police and community relationships. When the business down the road is being robbed, they must be able to get help from their local police force. Full stop. And I support the 2nd Amendment right of any business owner or homeowner who, God forbid, must use a firearm to protect themselves or their families.

I’ve said all along that there are things we expect our police to handle that aren’t fair to them or the communities they serve, like conducting mental health checks without support from psychiatrist assistance, wading into civil matters like child custody battles, and administering life-saving treatment in overdose scenarios exacerbated by the dearth of mental health and addiction care in our state.

No, defunding the police isn’t the endgame that will help solve many of the inequities that still exist in our criminal justice system. There are bipartisan solutions that both respect the difficulties of police work and will address the concerns of activists on the streets. That’s why I supported the reform bill that passed the legislature unanimously and was signed by Governor Reynolds in June, and why I supported the Governor’s executive order restoring the right to vote to most rehabilitated Iowans with felony convictions. I would go further and introduce an amendment to Iowa’s constitution that makes the governor’s executive order permanent.

As to abolishing prisons, that’s crazy talk—the main thing I want to make clear is that I do not support outsourcing the care of inmates in Iowa prisons (the good news is, Iowa does not contract with private prison companies anyway).“


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