Protecting our right to vote

In 2021, the Iowa legislature passed a bill that:

·        Reduced the # of days to vote early from 40 to 20

·        Reduced the # of days to vote by mail from 120 to 70

·        Closed all polls by 8 PM

·        Limited ballot drop boxes to one per county

·        Prohibited the Secretary of State and County Auditors from sending out absentee ballot request forms

·        Inactivated voters after missing one election.

This bill was supposedly about election security, however not one of these changes makes an election more secure. They only make voting more difficult. I do not think it is a legislator’s job to make your life more difficult. I will never vote for a bill that makes it harder for an eligible voter to cast their ballot, instead  working to make voting more convenient for working families. I plan to introduce legislation to restore our voting rights. In addition, my bill will:

·        Make election day a holiday so that more of our citizens can participate in our democracy.

·        Explicitly allow and encourage each county to adopt at least one drive-up voting site. For too many families, one parent gets to vote and the other stays home with the young children.

I encourage everyone to volunteer as an elections official. If you cannot, have a conversation with your county Auditor about elections. Those who are familiar with the process realize just how secure our elections are! 

Funding our public Schools

Iowa was once the gold standard in education. It was the yardstick against which most schools in the nation measured their educational attainment. As a child in Montana, I took the Iowa Basic Skills test. A friend who grew up on the East Coast, and one from California, tell the same story. Iowans were justifiably proud of their public schools and vigorously supported them. Now we rank 24th in the nation in pre-K through 12th grade education. While state supplemental aid to schools grew an average 1.73 % per year since 2010 inflation rose an average of 1.81 %, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. Years of underfunding public education are taking a toll as schools cut programs and teachers leave in droves, lured by higher salaries in neighboring states. If schools can’t afford to keep the lights on and hire teachers, education in this state will continue to decline.

 

Recent stories of verbal assaults and threats directed at our teachers and school board members make it much harder to recruit and retain teachers in Iowa.  And hearing Iowa Senate Leadership promote book banning is a red flag to any out-of-state educator who might consider a position here. We should not tolerate any of this. Iowans need to stand up for public education and make it a priority once again. Our children will compete for jobs in the future. Let’s give them the skills to succeed. 

expanding healthcare access

In 2018, the U.S. spent nearly twice as much on health care per person as comparable countries ($10,637 compared to $5,527 per person, on average).* Yet, people in the U.S. use less care and have worse outcomes than those in the peer nations. The difference? These nations all have a national healthcare system. We spend over four times as much per person on health administration than comparable countries, and over half of that is from administering private health insurance. The For-Profit Health insurance industry adds to our health care costs, but does not actually add any health care! 

 

Quick Quiz: 

Which of these countries has a lower infant mortality rate than the US? 

 

Latavia

Hungary

Estonia

Lithuania

Korea

 

Answer: All of them. 

 

It is more dangerous to be a pregnant woman, new mother, or newborn baby in this country than in many third-world nations. This is an example of just one area where our healthcare system fails us – and mothers and babies pay an unacceptable price. It’s time for a national healthcare system. It’s past time.

 

* Source: Source: U.S. data are from the 2016 National Health Expenditures Account. Comparable country data are from OECD (2017), "OECD Health Data: Health expenditure and financing: Health expenditure indicators", OECD Health Statistics (database). DOI: 10.1787/health-data-en (Accessed on March 19, 2017)  Get the data  PNG