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Being a politician can actually be pretty easy. You go along to get along. You don’t criticize your own party and its leadership. You keep it us versus them.

Being a statesman is an entirely different thing. You hold your own party’s elected representatives to the same standard you hold the opposition party’s to. If you’d criticize a Democrat for doing the same thing a Republican does, then you come out and you criticize the Republican as well.

Essentially, you lead. You avoid hypocrisy. You step up and you stand out even when it isn’t easy and even when it is not popular.

Politicians worry about popularity. Statesmen worry about policy.

A statesman does not need to see a poll before taking a position. A politician needs to know the results — and double-check to see what the margin of error of that poll is.

When a state is eight months into 15 days to flatten the curve, and the governor is implementing another round of strong “mitigation” efforts under emergency powers that have lasted hundreds of days, statesmen step up.

Iowa law grants extremely broad emergency powers to the governor. Any honest legislator would tell you that’s a mistake and it needs to be fixed.

Politicians told their conservative base they would look at the emergency powers granted to the governor during the 2020 campaign.

Statesmen are speaking out about now — two weeks after the election — chomping at the bit to actually address the emergency powers.

So, to Representatives Sandy Salmon, Steve Holt and Skyler Wheeler as well as Representative-elect Mark Cisneros, thank you.

Thank you for standing up and speaking out against these broad emergency powers even though it is a governor of your own party utilizing them.

No, not every decisions Gov. Kim Reynolds has made or will make is a bad one. But clearly, she is making decisions that seem awfully consequential for one elected person to be making. She is altering the lives of countless business owners and Iowans. She is mandating that liberty be exchanged for presumed safety.

That power is power that cannot go unchecked and cannot last months on end — whether it is power given to a Democrat or a Republican.

See, in a moment like this, politicians are worried about messaging and how it would look to be critical of the governor’s powers at a time when the governor is in the same political party.

Statesmen are simply worried about the precedent being set. They’re viewing things through the lens of the Iowa Constitution, not partisan politics. They’re not focused on the now or the next election — they are too busy worried about the future and the next generation.

What Reynolds is allowed to do this time, the next governor will expand on next time.

For a long time, Reynolds got most things right. Trust Iowans. Educate Iowans. Let adults be adults and make their own decisions.

Seems risky, but with freedom comes risk.

We will attempt to keep up with what legislators prove to be statesmen in the coming days and weeks. Which ones make clear they are concerned about these over-reaching emergency powers.

So far the list is relatively short. But, to be fair, we have not reached out to any in particular. We will comb through social media and when we see a statement, we’ll share it. If our readers email legislators and receive a response, we’ll share that too.

In the meantime, be glad we have statesmen like Rep. Salmon, Rep. Holt, Rep. Wheeler and Representative-elect Cisneros. Now, pray that we find out there are many more.

REP. WHEELER: Cannot support many of new mitigation efforts

REP. HOLT: Cannot support portions of Reynolds’ safety measures

REP. SALMON: Disaster emergency law has no protections for our rights, liberties and needs changed

Cisneros says new restrictions on Iowans and their businesses are a ‘step too far’

Author: Jacob Hall