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Matthew Rinker is running for the Republican nomination in Iowa Senate District 44. You can learn more about his candidacy here.

1. What is the proper role of government:

I believe the proper role of government would be to support its citizen and communities in areas that the private sector cannot. Examples of this are the coordination of infrastructure improvements, health care, and government services such as police and fire.

2. What issues do you consider non-negotiable:

I don’t think anything is a non-negotiable issue. As policymakers we must constantly adapt what we do and how we do it to the world around us. How I feel about a specific tax today may be different many years from now. However, my overall mindset when making a decision has always been what we can do to invest in ourselves and our communities and what steps can we take to improve people’s lives.

3. What concerns do you have about how the COVID-19 situation was handled by the government, if any:

I have a couple of concerns that are largely tied to how prepared we were for the event as a whole. It appears that we have been creating policy and reacted more than been proactive in terms of how we have handled the virus response. It is too early to tell what kind of long term effects there will be, however, I think we could have done a better job as a nation in our response.

4. At what point do you believe a human life is guaranteed the legal protections of being an American citizen and what would you do to ensure those protections are provided?

Lawmakers and community leaders alike have a responsibility to give a voice to those who don’t have one. Life deserves legal protections from when it starts to when it ends.

5. Would you support a religious freedom and restoration act in the state of Iowa?

I would support this initiative just as I would support any other initiative that supports a person’s ability to live without any level of religious persecution.

6. Would you support mandatory E-Verify in Iowa?

I would support E-verify and its usage in Iowa. I believe that as technology changes and improves we should use all aspects of it benefits to improve the efficiency of government.

7. Would you support banning traffic cameras, why or why not?

While I am not a supporter of them or their use I don’t think the state should ban them. I believe the usage of traffic cameras should be left up to the local municipalities and each community’s citizens.

8. What, if any, measures would you support to curb gun violence?

Gun violence while an important issue is not something that I believe government can fix. Gun-related crime can only be improved through two processes, one, make sure that there is a process in place that helps eliminate the probability that a person that shouldn’t have a gun gains access to one. Two, education. If we had a better process to educate people about how to use and store firearms I believe we could eliminate a significant number of gun-related issues.

9. What percent of the state’s budget do you believe should go toward education?

However much it takes to make sure our students are in an environment that allows them to be successful and safe. This percent can change depending on the initiatives being implemented at the time.

10. Would you support education savings accounts?

No. I used to believe this would be a good idea, but over time I have changed my mind. If we decided to do this it could erode away at the revenue foundation that supports the public school systems that we have. I do believe that we should create a program that allows for those who wish to home school the option to do so with some level of public assistance.

11. What do you think of Iowa’s current tax structure?

I think it needs to be reviewed and modified. I don’t think that the current sources of taxable revenue do enough to encourage investment, and as a state, we need to do a better job of making sure that tax incentives we have created are actually working.

12. Are there any state regulations you would like to see removed?

Specifically no, however, I do think that we need to be willing to work with local entities on improving the process by which federal rules are mandated on smaller municipalities. Requiring a small community to follow through with an unfunded mandate only puts more of a burden on the taxpayer and creates more problems with a community’s ability to take care of their future liabilities.

13. What are your views on climate change and what, if anything, should the government’s role be in addressing climate change?

Government role in climate change should be two-fold. One, work with all of the countries around the world to create a reasonable set of pollution guidelines that every country can abide by, and two; to enforce those guidelines. Regardless of whether a person believes everything they hear about when it comes to climate change I believe we need to take care of our environment and planet as a whole.

14. Do you support expanding use of medical marijuana? Would you support recreational use of marijuana?

Yes, I think we should work toward expanding both the medical and recreational use of marijuana. By doing so we would give our law enforcement agencies the ability to focus on more life-threatening drugs such as meth or heroin. I also think that it could be used as a way to create a new revenue source for the state. If Iowa revenue from the sale of marijuana is close to that of Illinois we would be able to offset the demand for property taxes.

Senate District 44: