After a year of unprecedented challenges, Iowans made their voices heard loud and clear in November – in these uncertain times, they cast their votes for more of the responsible and pragmatic leadership that our Republican majority has provided for the last decade.
In fact, Iowans re-elected all of our incumbents and sent 14 new members to the State Capitol, ushering in new voices and fresh perspectives hailing from Fort Madison to Forest City, Ankeny to Alburnett, and Cascade to Cleghorn. House Republicans now represent 97 of our state’s 99 counties, and we are committed to ensuring that Iowans from every corner of our state are served well and can know that their voices are heard in Des Moines.
As we delve into a new legislative session, our mission as the majority party remains the same: to provide practical and innovative solutions to some of the toughest issues facing Iowafamilies today. Throughout our state’s continued recovery, our constituents will be looking to us to fund their priorities while maintaining the fiscal discipline that has gotten us this far.
This starts with our schools. All across the state, our caucus has heard from parents that are deeply concerned about the quality of education that their children are receiving during this pandemic. We just saw recently that after months of virtual-only learning, more than half of students in Des Moines Public Schools are failing or near failing courses. And yet too often, parents have been shut out of decisions regarding how their children are taught. It’s high time that we give parents the tools that they need to decide what is best for their own children and their education.
Now more than ever, we’ve also seen the importance of expanding access to safe and affordable childcare. Without additional options, working parents are often faced with a stark choice: accept a new job or a promotion and risk losing their child care assistance, or reject the chance for their own career advancement to ensure that they can keep their current childcare situation. We have to ensure that Iowans have access to reliable and safe childcare options that won’t break the bank – our families and our workforce depend on it.
We must address the continuing mental health crisis that our state – and our entire country – is facing, as well. Prioritizing resources for Iowans facing mental health struggles will be crucial in the coming year, particularly as higher numbers are reporting feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression associated with the pandemic. We will all have to come together to provide support for all those affected, and particularly our most vulnerable populations, by continuing to build on our advancements in these critical services.
There are plenty of challenges ahead, but our caucus is ready to meet them head-on and ensure that we govern with the needs of all Iowans in mind. I look forward to serving our great state once again, and to a year of bipartisan progress as we continue to move forward together.