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For months we have written about the importance of the 2022 elections. And when we say the 2022 elections, we are not just talking about November’s general election, but the upcoming June primary election.

The reality of the situation is the makeup of the Iowa House of Representatives is at stake. No, we do not foresee a scenario where Democrats claim control of the chamber. But whether the Iowa House Republican caucus continues its moderate streak or becomes one where enough emboldened conservatives can make a difference hinges on about seven Iowa House Republican primary elections.

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One of those is the primary election in Iowa House District 87 between two Republican incumbents — Representative Jeff Shipley and Representative Joe Mitchell. The contrast in candidates could not be more significant. And the fact so many House Republican legislators are going against — against — Shipley, should signal a concern.

Let’s look at the conservative bills that have died in the legislature in recent history:

*Medical Freedom & Privacy
*Big Tech Censorship
*Education Savings Accounts (2021)
*Protect Life Amendment (2020)

Let’s look at conversations the Iowa House Republicans really haven’t even had on a couple of big issues:

*Removing sexual orientation and gender identity from the civil rights code
*Providing Iowans with more substantial religious liberty through a Religious Freedom and Restoration Act

Shipley has been a vocal leader on a number of these issues. Mitchell certainly has not.

But let’s look more specifically into a few different things.

The Iowa Standard contacted Republicans running for office to see if they intended on signing the Big Family Pledge crafted by American Principles Project, the NRA for the traditional family.

Here is the text of the pledge:

I pledge to do all in my power to actively support legislation, litigation, and other efforts that would:

  1. Defend girls’ sports by prohibiting biological males from participating, including at the collegiate level;
  2. Protect children from experimental “gender transition” procedures, including irreversible surgeries, chemical castration, and psychiatric neglect;
  3. Let kids be kids and protect them from dangerous and divisive propaganda being taught in schools, such as critical race theory and gender ideology;
  4. Safeguard children from exposure to pornography, obscenity, and indecency;
  5. Protect life from conception to natural death.

Shipley was among the first legislators/candidates in Iowa to sign the pledge — perhaps the first. Mitchell is yet to sign it.

When legislators had a chance to do something about obscene materials and pornographic materials in school libraries, Shipley voted to do something — Mitchell voted against it.

Instead, Mitchell has been palling around with the Log Cabin Republicans, which is the pro-LGBTQ wing of the GOP. And some of their priorities cut against the grain of the traditional family.

For instance, the Log Cabin Republicans want to ban conversion therapy. What does this mean? Well, it means the Log Cabin Republicans want to make it illegal for a parent to get their child counseling from a licensed medical professional if the child has questions about their gender identity or sexuality.

Would you believe that the Iowa House Republicans actually held a subcommittee on this issue in 2020? Yes, Republicans pushed this issue. The bill did not advance through the subcommittee, thankfully.

And just who was one of the Republicans receptive to this idea? Mitchell.

“As of right now, for this year, it’s dead,” Mitchell said. “But the important thing is we had the initial discussion on it, and make sure we come back and look at it again and see what we can do to improve the bill so we can get general consensus from both sides of the aisle and I’m sure the legislation will go through.”

Wow. This was a dangerous discussion that should never even have happened. The state has no right to make it illegal for a parent to seek help for a child that is confused about their gender identity or sexual orientation. Especially when such legislation would have only allowed help to be sought if the medical professional affirmed the confusion.

At the same time, there were pieces of legislation that the LGBTQ community branded as being “anti-LGBTQ.” And Mitchell talked about those. He didn’t say what the three specific pieces of legislation he was talking about were, but in 2020, it’s likely it was three bills from this list:

*House File 2272, a bill addressing practices undertaken to cause a minor to physically appear more like a person of the opposite sex and less like the minor’s own sex, or to conform to a gender identity incongruent with the minor’s sex.

*House File 2202, a bill requiring students to participate in sports based on their biological sex.

*House File 2201, a bill requiring districts to provide notification and information relating to instruction of any kind relating to sexual orientation or gender identity and allowing parents to opt their children out of that instruction.

*House File 2164, a bill removing gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Code.

Mitchell has made it clear he opposes removing gender identity from the civil rights code. And here is what he said about the three “anti-LGBTQ” bills when asked at a forum in 2020:

“These are three pieces that are never going to see the light of day. They aren’t going to get subcommittees, they haven’t gotten subcommittees. There’s a very small number of legislators signed on to these three bills that you’re talking about. None of whom are going to be able to have a subcommittee on any of these bills because the large majority of the legislature, both Republicans and Democrats, don’t believe in what they’re trying to do.”

Then, Mitchell pivots and essentially brags about holding the subcommittee on banning conversion therapy:

“Me and Rep. Bobby Kaufmann from Cedar County, he’s the chairman of the State Government Committee, we’re going to be holding a subcommittee to ban some conversion therapy type practices and we’re Republicans that are chairing that. So, there’s a lot of clickbait types of legislation that are thrown out there and they get all the media’s attention because they’re kind of the more controversial pieces of legislation. These three bills you’re talking about, that’s what that is. And it’s a shame that they get traction in the media because they’re never going to see the light of day and we’re never going to pass that stuff.”

So while Mitchell rips pro-family legislation in Iowa, he pals around with the Log Cabin Republicans who support banning conversion therapy and want protections for sexual orientation and gender identity inserted into federal law.

We also know that, historically, Mitchell has opposed school choice for Iowa families. In 2021 he was vocally opposed to the Education Savings Accounts introduced by Gov. Kim Reynolds:

“In general I am not normally in favor of the voucher systems that have been proposed previously,” Mitchell said on Jan. 29, 2021.

“If that specific piece of policy including the ESA or the vouchers as people are saying. If that was in the bill I would not support that, no,” he reiterated on Feb. 11, 2021.

“In general I’ve always been against vouchers, or ESA’s, because I think we should try and make those public schools better, rather than punishing them if they are in an area that they might not have the best resources to work with,” Mitchell said on Feb. 15, 2021.

The Iowa Standard has reached out to House Republicans multiple times asking if they support ESAs on the record. Mitchell has not provided public comment. In addition, KCII Radio reported on April 22, 2022, that Mitchell had not returned a request for comment on the legislation.

In 2020, there was also a piece written about Mitchell working with Democrat Sen. Zach Wahls when it comes to addressing climate change.

“These two legislators are joining forces to advance climate solutions in their state,” the subhead read just below a headline that said “Meet the young lawmakers crossing party lines for a green future.”

Mitchell said he understands he and Wahls will disagree on some issues, but they can find common ground “in almost every area.” Wahls gained notoriety when he spoke in support of same-sex marriage and about being raised by two mothers in 2011.

Democrat State Sen. Rob Hogg, one of the most vocal supporters of “climate action” in the legislature, praised Mitchell and Wahls for working together.

“I think it reflects the broad support for clean renewable energies … regardless of party affiliation,” Hogg said. “It is extraordinary what we’re seeing from young people in Iowa and across the country on climate change and other issues.”

Mitchell worked with Wahls to oppose a bill allowing utilities to charge additional fees for solar power use.

“It was primarily Republicans that were pushing these fees, Democrats were generally against them,” Hogg said. “Representative Mitchell and other younger Republican legislators joined with Democrats to say they don’t want to do that.”

Mitchell said he wants a system in place where power is being generated from alternative sources.

“It’s better for our environment as a whole as we start slowly getting away from fossil fuels,” Mitchell said.

Finally, Mitchell was the only Republican who voted against prohibiting the use of eminent domain when it comes to the carbon pipeline projects in Iowa during a committee hearing.

Mitchell has been endorsed by nearly every House Republican who is holding the Governor’s ESA proposal hostage. He has been endorsed by the House Republican responsible for killing legislation that would remove gender identity from the civil rights code.

Shipley has championed the cause of medical freedom, family values and school choice. He has been exactly what a conservative Iowan would want a representative to be.

The choice is clear in Iowa House District 87 — Shipley deserves re-election. Conservative Iowans should elect people who will champion their causes, not oppose them.

***There is a candidate forum scheduled for Thursday, May 19 at 7 p.m. in Fairfield between Shipley and Mitchell. The debate will be held at the Fairfield High School auditorium. The public is encouraged to attend. There is no charge. The venue holds between 300-400 people.***

You can learn more about Shipley’s campaign here. 

IOWA HOUSE DISTRICT 87:

Author: Jacob Hall

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Conservatives need to be more educated on the candidates. All who claim to be a republican are not conservative or have moral values. While I can’t vote in the 87th District, I know Shipley personally and would vote for him over Mitchell.
    Grassley for example has sided with democrats too often on core issues. He was opposed to investigating voter fraud when we the people deserve to have confidence that we have a lawfully elected president. It’s understandable that Chuck would vote for Biden when they have been in the senate together for so long and Trump came in as an outsider.

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