Session historic, but for wrong reasons
Many years ago, my great uncle purchased a grocery store in Hopkins, Missouri from a previous owner. When he and his family started preparing the store for the grand opening, they found that many of the items they thought were on the shelves were actually empty containers and that the actual goods weren’t there. The goods they thought they had purchased were really just empty boxes.
Now that the 2018 session has ended, Iowans expect to see the promises made by Republican lawmakers impact their own life. However, I think they’re going to find an empty box instead.
The working family in Muscatine expecting a tax break will get a higher property tax bill and have to pay new sales taxes for online purchases and streaming services instead.
The teacher in Sioux City hoping to give her students more one-on-one time in the classroom will have to take a $5,000 pay cut.
The soybean farmer in Winneshiek County expecting a bumper crop and profit this year will find a weak market, low prices, and even higher property taxes.
The fisherman from Louisa County expecting cleaner waterways will find zero progress has been made again this year.
The young woman in Bettendorf will still struggle to find reproductive health care and cancer screenings.
The parents in West Des Moines desperately trying to find mental health support for their son will find the state didn’t fund any significant expansion of services their child needs to survive.
The small business owner in Marion expecting a new affordable health care plan will find out her application was denied because she had a pre-existing condition.
The mom in Ankeny pregnant with her second child who just received the worst news of her life regarding her unborn child will find out she has no options left because she lives in Iowa.
The 2018 session was indeed historic—for the special interests, but not for everyday Iowans.
Iowans don’t ask for much, but we know they are tired of politics as usual and broken promises from politicians. They just want a decent paying job and the chance to lead a happy, healthy life.
As lawmakers, I believe our job is to listen and work to improve the lives of everyday Iowans. That’s why House Democrats believe it’s time to get back to the basics and create new opportunities for all of us to get ahead.
This means putting everyday Iowans first, not the special interests.
This means lowering costs and expanding health care, not reducing access and denying care.
This means keeping college and job training affordable, not raising tuition and putting job training out of reach for thousands of families.
This means investing in public schools to build our skilled workforce, not shortchanging public schools and raising class sizes.
This means protecting and expanding women’s health care, not taking away rights and limiting access.
This means revitalizing rural Iowa, not closing schools and ignoring the challenges they face.
This means restoring fiscal discipline and balancing the state budget, by not putting the state budget in the red with billions more in tax giveaways to the wealthy and special interests.
I want to say a final thank you to the thousands and thousands of Iowans who came to the State Capitol, sent emails, went to forums, participated in rallies, called their lawmakers, and marched for what they believe in over the last two years.
We’ve lost a few battles, but please don’t give up. History has proven the struggle for progress has never been easy, but it has also proven it’s always the right thing to do.
Keep holding your elected officials accountable and keep fighting for the Iowa we love.
State Representative Mark Smith of Marshalltown serves the 71st District in the Iowa House and is the Iowa House Democratic Leader.