Some Iowa House Republicans are doing all they can to protect current members for reasons unbeknownst to us other than loyalty.
And some legislators took issue with an article The Iowa Standard published over the weekend about mailers sent by The FAMiLY Leader to voters in House District 88.
So, Rep. Steve Holt pointed out on our Facebook page we included an image of the wrong mailer. Holt never specified which mailer he was talking about originally but updated it afterward.
The FAMiLY Leader had responded to Holt’s comment and mentioned the mailer compared candidates. So we published the comparison mailer.
Here is what that factually accurate mailer looked like:
But here is the mailer that upset Holt:
“Unlike her opponent (Hite), Helena will work hard to remove pornographic materials like ‘Gender Queer’ from our young children’s schools and libraries.”
That’s it. That is what Holt took exception to. But let’s look at the facts, shall we?
I witnessed Hayes testify on multiple bills about this issue at the Iowa Capitol. I haven’t seen Rep. Dustin Hite say much on this topic. All I’ve heard from him is when we talk about legislation like a “Bathroom Bill” we have to make sure we don’t come across as “hateful” to the LGBTQers.
So, there’s that.
Well, one thing Hite could have done to address the issue is provide Education Savings Accounts for Iowa families. But he publicly opposed that measure.
Another thing he could have done as House Education Committee chair is a bill getting these pornographic books out of school libraries. But no, he didn’t do that either.
He could have listened to Iowa mothers when they showed up at the Capitol to express disgust at these library materials. But based on every conversation I have had with those mothers, he blew them off and didn’t listen to their concerns.
Now, is it possible that Hite worked behind the scenes to address the issue and the efforts failed? That’s possible.
But the reality is the books are still in school libraries. Schools are receiving more funding this year than they did last whether they’re stocking porn on the shelves or not. And families still don’t have a shot at Education Savings Accounts in Iowa.
Those are facts. And Hite had a hand in all of it. All of it.
In fact, when Rep. Sandy Salmon brought forward an amendment addressing these books, Hite voted against it on a procedural vote.
I know for a fact Helena Hayes would do much, much, much more than whatever Hite has done publicly or behind the scenes to get this garbage out of schools.
And I credit The FAMiLY Leader for getting involved. These are pivotal issues and this is a pivotal race.
There may be people uncomfortable with The FAMiLY Leader’s “attack” on Hite. But you know what is more uncomfortable, having books like Gender Queer available to kids in school libraries.
We cannot keep debating issues such as this based on “feelings.” Legislators knew well before session these books were in Iowa schools. And those books are still in school libraries today.
I’m not sure if we all realize it, but we’re in a war. Make no mistake, this debate over whether sexually explicit materials should be readily available to children in schools is a war over for our kids.
So forgive me if I’m not pussyfooting around the issue anymore. We’ve tried that for a long time on a variety of “culture war” issues and, I don’t know the exact score, but the good guys aren’t winning that game.
One of the greatest pastors I have ever met once said:
“I prefer my way of doing something much better than your way of doing nothing.”
We can sit here and criticize people or groups like The FAMiLY Leader for how they worded a mailer, but at least they sent a flipping mailer! At least they’re devoted to seeing this issue get across the finish line.
Meanwhile, while one group is held to a higher standard by some legislators because they’re faith-based, Republican “pro-life” legislators who endorse pro-abortion/anti-life Republicans are given a free pass publicly. No harsh public criticism of someone endorsing a Republican who voted against the Heartbeat Bill, against the Protect Life Amendment and couldn’t vote in support of the 20-week abortion ban.
The FAMiLY Leader’s mailers aren’t voting on public policy. Jane Bloomingdale, if re-elected, will be. And Rep. Matt Windschitl’s endorsement of her is an effort to help her return to the legislature where she has an established record of voting against pro-life bills.
That, friends, is life and death. The abortion issue comes down to whether innocent unborn babies live or die. We should hold all of our Republican elected officials to the highest of standards on that issue.
I know Rep. Holt was extremely critical of me and of The Iowa Standard. That’s fine — we all have the right to be wrong. (If I could insert a wink emoji here I would just so he knows I am giving him a hard time).
The reality of the situation is Rep. Holt knows some things I don’t know and I know some things he does not know. I highly doubt Holt knows Hite blew off those moms at the Capitol. I highly doubt Holt knew about Hite’s critical comments of the Bathroom Bill.
And I have no idea what Hite has or hasn’t done behind the scenes to work on these issues.
But I know that the same sexually explicit books in school libraries last fall are still there this spring and the legislature didn’t address it.
And no, forcing the schools to put a list of library books on their website isn’t really addressing this issue. The state funds a fair bit of public schools, if they can’t attach something to their funding addressing school libraries stocking sexually explicit materials on library shelves then what the heck can they do?
At the end of the day, this one isn’t that complicated for us — we trust those Iowa moms way more than we trust politicians like Dustin Hite.
We literally have no reason to make this stuff up other than wanting the crap out of school libraries, something that says only a biological female can use the girls’ bathroom, and Iowa moms and dads to have an opportunity at Education Savings Accounts.
That’s it. That’s all.
It is 100 percent nothing personal against Dustin Hite. In the limited interactions I’ve had with him, I told him I appreciated his comments on a particular bill that I believe dealt with tenure for college professors. I could be wrong. But he has always been cordial with me to the best of my knowledge.
But I don’t see the “fire in the belly” necessary to take on the challenges staring us in the face today. He may be a great Republican representative under different circumstances. But we’re at war right now. We need people unafraid of being considered “hateful” for simply suggesting dudes use the boys’ bathrooms and girls use the women’s restroom.
We need Helena Hayes. And we need groups like The FAMiLY Leader willing to take the arrows for highlighting the differences between candidates.