From Speaker Linda Upmeyer:
When we first arrived in January, I shared with you all how excited I was to see the fresh faces in this chamber.
That included 22 freshman legislators and 19 new committee chairs.
Today, I am excited to see how much you all have grown over the course of the session.
A lot of times, your first legislative session can be a baptism by fire.
That makes me think of Representative Hite.
Early on in the session, maybe the fifth or sixth week, the Majority Leader came back to my office to relay a conversation he had just had with Representative Hite.
Apparently Representative Hite felt like he needed more work to do… so we took him up on that offer.
I think he’s learned to be careful what you ask for.
At the beginning of session, I laid out a number of priorities that Iowans had shared with us over the course of last year:
- Make rural Iowa a priority
- Improve health care for Iowans
- Take a look at property taxes
- And pass a responsible, conservative state budget
I am proud to say that we took action on each of this issues.
We needed to be intentional in our efforts to grow rural Iowa. And this session has been a success.
With greater access to reliable, high speed internet, Main Street businesses will be able to operate efficiently and grow.
With incentives to spur housing developments, our small communities will be able to compete and grow.
Rural schools will have permanent funding to reduce unequal transportation costs so that more resources make their way into the classroom.
Every bill that we took up this session … whether it dealt with workforce, health care, or education… we looked for opportunities to put our finger on the scale and benefit our rural communities.
We also continued our bipartisan efforts to build out mental health services and increase access in our communities.
The children’s mental health bill will ensure that parents have a dedicated local resource to turn to when their child is facing a mental health issue.
This is the foundation for something that we will build on in future sessions.
Governor Reynolds really brought this issue to the forefront and I want to thank her for her leadership on this issue.
We have ensured that when property valuations go up, cities and counties must inform and notify the hard-working taxpayers how their tax bills will change.
We extended the SAVE penny.
Not only does this provide schools with much-needed resources for new buildings and improvements, it also delivers nearly 6 billion dollars in property tax relief to Iowans.
As Representative Bossman told us, it’s a win-win.
The budget plan that we have passed this year is responsible and funds our priorities.
Things Iowans value, like community colleges, career training programs, rural hospitals, and public safety, will all see funding increases next year.
The budget also fully fills our reserve accounts and leaves a healthy ending balance.
It’s disappointing that today we have heard the same breathless defense of the status quo that we have heard for the last three years.
Unlike those voting no today, we remain open to thoughtful consideration to progress and new ideas.
Doing things the same way only because it has been that way for a long time is a disappointing disposition for Iowans to see.
We reject adherence to the status quo.
The people of Iowa sent us here to continue moving forward with a common sense agenda… smaller government that respects the hard-working taxpayers.
Promises made. Promises kept.
This body should be proud of the work that was accomplished this session and know that Iowans stand with you.
In closing, I want to thank everyone for all of their hard work this session.
Thank you to the members, our caucus and leadership staffs, the clerk’s office, LSA, doormen, pages, and the press.
I know how tough it is to be away from your families and communities during the months of session. That work does not go unnoticed and Iowans appreciate your service and sacrifice.
Now, go home… listen to your constituents… and I look forward to coming back with you next year refreshed and ready to continue moving Iowa forward.