I believe in the 2nd Amendment and the basic right to bear arms. I do not, however, believe there is any sporting or plausible home/family defense purpose for assault rifles, high capacity magazines, or high velocity ammunition. Even staunch conservatives like President Reagan and Justice Antonin Scalia were on record during their lives, saying the 2nd Amendment does not mean you can own any gun. President Reagan specifically said in a televised speech, that AK-47s are not sporting or home defense weapons. I define assault rifles according to the definition of "assault weapon" used in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Ban legislation.
I also believe that any additional relaxation of Iowa’s gun laws making it easier to buy and open carry guns is not warranted by public need or sentiment. I go to Kansas and Missouri regularly for soccer games with my family, and I can tell you I do not feel safer when I travel there. We do not need to replicate their loose gun laws, and endanger our fellow Iowans to placate the gun lobby. We are also being poor neighbors by allowing such easy gun purchases: those guns are finding their way into states like Illinois, circumventing their stronger gun laws. I will fight any new legislation to relax our gun laws.
I have many friends and family that are hunters and/or gun enthusiasts. I am not in favor of any kind of overall ban on guns. I believe the start of a holistic solution to our gun violence problem should include banning new sales and restricting carrying weapons that can do that amount of damage so quickly. I also support red flag laws to keep weapons out of the hands of those that are likely to do harm to themselves or others.
Roe v Wade is the established law of the United States. I support a woman's right to choose. Additionally, I will work to stop utilizing time and resources in the Iowa Legislature debating and passing measures to encroach on those rights, which are consistently struck down in the courts as unconstitutional. Until there is a new standard from the US Congress or the US Supreme Court; encroaching on the rights in Roe v Wade at the state level is political posturing at best, when there are many other issues facing our state. The Iowa Legislature should stop appeasing conservative lobbyists with publicity-driven exercises in futility.
First, we need to stop negative actions by Iowa like permitting utilities to cut spending on energy efficiency measures, proposing fees on residential solar users, gutting the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, blocking AG Miller’s request to fight scrapping the Clean Power Plan, et al. Second, we need to start being proactive to fight the Climate Crisis. We have to take be bold and introduce new legislation to reduce carbon emissions, look for energy alternatives, incentivize cover crops, and actively invite more ideas to help.
This is why I attended the Climate Strike in September at the State Capitol, and why I believe we owe it to our youth to listen to them, and start fighting to save the planet.
I will work to decriminalize marijuana in Iowa. The drain on our legal system, cost of enforcement, and the injustice of marijuana-related imprisonment alone would be worth the change. However, by legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana sales, the state of Iowa would have additional tax income we are not currently receiving from illegal marijuana sales. We also would take the criminal element out of marijuana trafficking in Iowa. As with legalized gambling, additional tax revenue would be available to help supplement needed funding for Iowa schools, per my Schools plan. Colorado has a model for utilization of this tax revenue. I would encourage Iowa to analyze this model in determining how to help Iowans with this new revenue.
Along with decriminalization, I would proactively invest a portion of the tax revenue from marijuana sales into drug abuse programs. This is no different than how we deal with alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, and other legal activities in Iowa.
Finally, I will work closely with minority action groups such as Black Lives Matter and LULAC, to address treatment by the Iowa justice system of minorities. All Iowans deserve equal treatment under the law. We need to live up to the high ideal of the Equal Protection Clause, and stop the disparate treatment of minorities in our criminal justice system.
Green Energy/Climate Change
Iowa needs to be a cooperative partner in green energy, and continue working toward energy independence. Studies show that every dollar invested in green energy generates many times the economic impact and job creation that investment in fossil fuels does. Iowa has been at the forefront of biofuels and wind power. We can continue utilizing the ingenuity of Iowans to lead on new green initiatives as well. We need not be afraid of change – we need to embrace the next chapter in green energy and dare to continue being a leader in the coming energy revolution. I am in favor of tax incentives for green energy companies bringing investment and jobs to Iowa.
Iowa must do better providing care for the uninsured and under-insured – This is particularly prevalent when it comes to mental health care. I suffer from clinical depression, have lost a close friend to suicide, and have friends and family that struggle daily with mental illness. There is a growing epidemic of suicide in rural areas, and we, as Iowans, must take care of our own. There is no reason an Iowan should ever commit or strongly consider committing suicide because they do not have insurance, and are unable to seek mental health counseling/stay current on medications. To add stress about insurance coverage onto the issues these Iowans are dealing with is unconscionable. We must provide mental health care access for all Iowans, regardless of their insured status, via regional mental health clinics. Iowa ranks near the bottom in the United States in the availability of mental health care. We must fix this.
The privatization of Medicaid has been a disaster. Providing "savings" in the manner of severely decreased availability of services is not what this was supposed to be. One provider is also utilizing their income to lease some of the most expensive office space in the Midwest, for example, while little to nothing is being done to provide oversight into the expenditures of said providers. If privatization is to stay, a significant overhaul is required, to ensure the much-promoted savings aren't just going to manifest as poor service. Administration by the state could have accomplished savings by slashing services, just as easily - that wasn't supposed to be the end goal. Privatization has been a failed experiment. The services provided by Medicaid are far too important to experiment with further.
Our country and our state are the products of immigrants. There are proud Irish, Hispanic, Italian, Dutch, German, Bosnian, African, and many other ethnic communities throughout our state. The United States should provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Specific to Iowa politics, I find the ban on Sanctuary Cities signed by the Governor to be an unnecessary gesture of obedience to President Trump's agenda. People that have only known our country for years should not be sent back to a country where they know nobody, and is not their home. Particularly when those employing migrant workers generally face minimal repercussions for their actions, and are the reason migrant workers built lives here. Yet only the workers are to blame? The reward for doing this work, living here, and buying here, should not be deportation for those trying to find the American Dream. Immigrants have been contributing to the Iowa economy and cultural diversity for years, and deserve to be treated justly and humanely.
I believe an economically strong Iowa comes from a strong middle class. As labor rights have been eroded over time by Iowa lawmakers, the middle class in Iowa finds themselves with no job protections, subject to at-will employment, less ability to collectively bargain without reproach from employers, and are stuck with an antiquated minimum wage of $7.25/hr. This is unacceptable in 2019. A thriving middle class, with income to spend above basic necessities, helps the ENTIRE economy. Iowans should not have to work 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. My plan is to immediately raise the minimum wage to at least $10/hr when I take office in 2021. I would then codify annual increases based on the rate of inflation into the new minimum wage law.
I will work to repeal the 2017 legislation that has severely restricted public employees' ability to collectively bargain on many key items. We also must not lose sight of private unions and their collective bargaining rights. There has been a lot of focus of late, on public union restrictions. However, private unions remain a vital part of maintaining the living standard and workplace rights of working Iowans as well.
I also believe it is time to repeal Iowa's Right To Work law from 1947. We need to start protecting unions' ability to protect Iowa workers again. Benefits that workers take for granted now, such as paid time off, employer paid insurance, et al, are the products of unionism. As at-will employees continue to have their benefits and rights eroded, it is time for Iowa to stop crippling unions' ability to protect Iowa workers.
Iowans believe strongly in personal freedom, as do I. At the heart of this issue is whether a person should be able to be lawfully discriminated against because of their identity. We, as Iowans, need to be on the right side of history, on this issue - as we have been on everything from desegregation to same sex marriage. I believe Iowa should be at the forefront of implementing legislation to end discrimination to the LBGTQ+ community.
While this ties into my Labor plan, we must stop the targeted assault on teachers’ rights to collectively bargain. Teachers’ unions are a very important part of making sure our teachers are treated and compensated as they deserve. We must restore teachers’ ability to collectively bargain, which the Republican Legislature and Governor have eroded away. People often speak in platitudes about how important teachers are. We need to stop talking the talk, and actually provide them the ability to protect themselves in the workplace.
We must properly fund all Iowa schools. My plan to decriminalize marijuana would provides additional tax revenue to help with the disparity of resources available to poorer school districts, and to programs that are criminally overlooked, like special education. When teachers must rely on supply drive donations to have school supplies available for their students, we have a problem. When kids are hungry and can’t afford meals, we have a problem. When special needs children can't get the support they deserve, we have a problem. Iowa can and should do better than that.
I will be succinct on this: The cuts on funding for women's reproductive services must be stopped. Planned Parenthood provides essential medical care, and I will work to restore funding for safe and adequate health care services for women.