Kai Trevor Brost is a Democrat running for Iowa House District 54.
1. What is the proper role of government:
I believe in government for the people, government by the people and government of the people.
2. What are some issues you consider non-negotiable:
When it comes to the government, making sure that there are unemployment benefits and that there are social services and, you know, basic assurance of human rights. So even things like homeless shelters and a basic social safety net. Food pantries need to be government organized and regulated. I believe it’s just a non-negotiable necessity to have a working fire department everywhere covering areas where people live. People have to be kept safe, that’s another department that will always need government funding and government legislation.
3. Talk about your views on climate change and how you believe government can or should help solve the problem:
I believe things should be done nationally as well as at the state level. I think there can be state goals to reduce carbon emissions and support regulation to have less air pollution and regulations to address the greenhouse effect and climate change scenario.
4. Describe your position on gun rights and how you believe we can curb gun violence:
I believe this is a really important one and I support gun control. I believe Iowa has to be more supportive of background checks everywhere. I support banning assault rifles for private purchase, private sale or use. I believe they should simply close the gun show loopholes. They should not be allowed to sell guns without background checks at gun shows everywhere. This is a really important topic to me because I do have the candidate distinction from Moms Demand Action on gun sense advocacy. I have been awarded that distinction.
5. Would you support raising the minimum wage in Iowa, and if so, what do you believe the right figure is for a minimum wage:
Yeah, I support raising it. It’s just kind of difficult in these uncertain times this year and I did answer that with the American Federation of Labor when I filled out their 8-page questionnaire for the Iowa chapter. I believe at this point in time we shouldn’t push for a minimum wage of more than $14/hour. I believe in the circumstances for this year I would just sit with a $10/hour minimum wage.
6. What are some ways you believe Iowa could improve education:
Iowa used to very high on the education scale in the 1990s and up to the year 2000. I believe those times of Iowa being an education state should be brought back. There was a lot of support, funding and initiatives from the federal government up to the year 2000, but I believe there are ways Iowa can become an education state again, even if you find the right bipartisan support in Des Moines. I believe there are things that can be done to have Iowa rank higher in education value and education progress.
7. Are you generally in favor of tax cuts or tax increases? Are there any specific taxes you believe could be cut? Are there any specific taxes you believe should be increased?
I believe taxes can be increased for wealthy individuals — CEOs, corporations, heads of corporations, the people who take home millions of dollars in a year. While that is a smaller percentage of the population, obviously I just believe it would be nice to have the 80s or 70s tax brackets again, you know, where if you made a lot of money you were in a higher tax bracket and you’d simply pay more taxes. That always made sense to me and I support those kind of increases. But, on the other side, I would answer for example should we cut funding to mental health or should we reduce the property tax component that goes into mental health funding and that I would say yes. You can tax and fund everything if there is a budget crisis and one of the things I would reduce a tax would be mental health with property taxes. I think Iowa has high property taxes and they should be reduced a little bit again. That’s one of the taxes I would actually reduce. It’s a long discussion. It’s not really a budget component of the state of Iowa. I mean, I didn’t like the privatization of Medicaid. That was not a good deal. But on the other side, mental health funding in terms of the state of Iowa has never been a budget item that you know is entitled or is a set item on the budget agenda. It’s not a constitutional item on any state budget and I believe the way it’s done now with taking money from property taxes and assessments of properties where property values are over-assessed and then taxed, that’s not working.
8. How can the Iowa legislature help solve the rural health care crisis in Iowa:
I believe with what’s going on with the Coronavirus they will just have to reach out to FEMA some more. I know there was money that was applied for FEMA to produce some of those masks before the Presidential order came out that GM or a part of GM needed to produce those masks. I believe as far as the state goes that there should be a continued effort to reach out to FEMA and even international organizations. I think if that’s within the power of the state government there should be continued communication within the World Health Organization and the CDC. There’s international advice that still needs to be coordinated and can’t even be followed at the state level.
9. Would you support mandatory E-Verify for Iowa businesses:
I would not want to make it mandatory.
10. Would you support a Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) in Iowa:
Yes, I do believe in religious freedom and I do believe in diversity and actually I even have a high opinion of the concept of separating church and state. So yes, I would definitely support such an act fostering more religious freedom and the acceptance of religious freedom in Iowa.
11. Can you discuss your position on abortion rights and if you favor any additional regulations on abortions in the state of Iowa:
I support Roe v. Wade at all levels — federal and statewide. I believe abortion must be kept legal. Actually I did answer a questionnaire from a pro-life organization and answered in support of several forms of abortion. It may not be late-term abortions, but across the board I was very pro-choice. I’m very much pro-choice and support various ways of keeping abortion legal in Iowa. I also put in writing that I’m critical of the Heartbeat bill that passed the legislature in Iowa. People did not really like the bill where abortion supposedly was unlawful when a physician could detect a heartbeat. That’s not really legitimate. I’m very opposed to that Heartbeat abortion restriction bill.
12. When do you believe life begins and what, if anything, should be done legislatively to protect life:
Um, I believe if a fetus develops a heartbeat that does not necessarily deem that there’s human life there in the womb. I mean, if there’s no real brain activitiy, no thinking process, there’s just not a good way to determine abracadabra, now the fetus is a living being. I believe there are phases and steps. I guess I’d go with five or six months probably because I am not real favorable of late-term abortions. I believe that’s where the life idea factors in that at some point before a baby is born it is obviously alive and that’s kind of complicated, but again, a heartbeat does not mean automatically that there’s a living being in the mother at that point in time because the fetus could not survive on its own if it was born prematurely. I would say no to late-term abortions, cut off phase at five months or abortions should not be performed after six months unless the mother’s life is truly in danger and there’s a doctor who can determine the mother would die at birth or other emergency circumstances would have to apply.
13. Talk about the importance of fighting for civil rights:
Yeah, I believe civil rights have to be maintained and there are things that need to be done in the education system, colleges, universities and even high schools to ensure there’s no discrimination. I believe African Americans need to have their civil rights the way that should be and that could be applied across the board — Asians, Latinos — it could be racial equality and civil rights. I guess there are various items — women’s rights are one. Those are civil rights that I favor and support.
14. Do you consider life to be a civil right:
Well, it depends. I mean, you could have a concept of drawing the line and I will just go by what I said earlier and not contradict myself in any way. Yes, there are human rights and life is a right, but if a mother is truly going to die at birth, then I guess the only person who can make a choice to make an abortion or not is that mother. I mean, would it be right for the government to say, ‘well, you have to give up your life or put your life on the line in order to favor the unborn child?’ I mean, it’s a difficult scenario, but if you protect this life and then not the other, you know, life that is intelligent and living would be the mother. So, what should be done if it was the pure case that the mother would die giving birth — that’s an example. Again, life is not guaranteed — human life in a fetus. Just because someone on a sonograph can find a heartbeat, that doesn’t mean the fetus is going to be alive by itself if they artificially induced a birth. I mean, that’s one of the things with the Heartbeat bill. If that fetus was born with three months in the womb, it would not survive on its own. It could not. Because it has the first set of heartbeats does not mean it’s alive or it is life if it left the mother’s body at that point in time.
Iowa House District 54: