Q & A's
What are the three biggest issues facing the state? How would you address them?
Accessibility, equitable tax policy and spending policy, and investing in education. Making myself accessible is key. In-person meetings are great, and I would also use digital platforms as well to both get input from anyone in the district to help guide me to make the best decision I can for them and also to inform on what I am doing for them in Des Moines. Iowa taxes have become regressive. The amount of taxes a citizen or organization pays should reflect what they are able to pay. Legislators needs to come together to recommend changes to Iowa’s tax laws to make the cost more equitable for all. Once fair shares are being paid, resources can be used to address needs like education, Medicaid, waterways, transportation, and rural broadband. A properly funded education system will help ensure success among Iowa’s youth who will help drive Iowa’s economy. Iowa’s education funding has declined. Legislators need to show that prioritizing education is key to a prosperous future for Iowa.
What, if anything, needs to change about the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic?
Our politicians should rely on medical experts in related fields, such as coronaviruses and pandemics instead of politicians who are not experts in these fields. It’s understandable that the guidelines changed as more was learned about this virus. By following guidelines and helping my customers follow them, we have had success in opening up our dining room for business. An important part is stressing why the guidelines are what they are; otherwise, some people are less likely to follow them. People affected by altered guidelines need to be notified and educated as to why these changes were made. Updates should be on tv, in the newspaper, on the radio, and on social media. Not everyone gets their news from the same place, and when you’re informing people about something, they need to near it more than once. The mask mandate should have been in place awhile ago, but it was discouraged by politicians who weren’t experts, and people were not properly educated about their effectiveness.
What do you consider as budget priorities? What would you do to ensure these see funding? Which areas would you target funding reductions?
A few budget priorities should be increasing funding for education education, Medicaid, and cleaning up waterways. We can pay for these by adjusting the income tax rate so everyone is paying their fair share. We can also look into other sources of tax revenue such as the legalization and sale of marijuana or collection of sales tax from online retailers. Another avenue to explore would be to look for inefficiencies in current programs. For instance, the rising costs of running universities or having unnecessary redundant graduate programs at the universities. I would want to look at cost saving measures before looking at funding reductions.
What, if any, changes would you make to the way the state funds its K-12 education system?
Right now, schools are getting approximately the same amount of funding per student with rural schools getting a little more to cover transportation costs. In addition to increasing the overall funding in order to adequately fund the k-12 education system, I would make sure that the schools are getting sufficient funding to keep up with the rising transportation costs.
What should the state do to further address water quality issues? What, if anything, should the state do to increase funding for water quality improvements?
Rather than just funding the problem, there should be standards and targets set for lowering the amounts of contaminants in the waterways. If these targets are not met, the reasons why they are not met need to be addressed. Perhaps a different approach needs a to be taken or the project needs more time and resources that’s initially thought. But by setting standards and goals and then monitoring the results, we can resolve the problem faster.
What should the state do to address the availability of safe and affordable child care across Iowa?
While I don’t have kids myself, I have family members with kids and employees with kids, so I am very aware of this issue. I think tax incentives would be one way to address this problem. We could look into encourage workplace childcare with incentives going to the employers. We need to make sure there are adequate numbers of childcare centers, and incentives the building of the centers. There are home providers as well who could get benefits too. People shouldn’t have to figure out if it’s worth it to work and pay childcare or if they should not work and watch their kids themselves.
What is your response to recent protests calling for racial justice? What changes to law enforcement policy or budgeting do you support?
The first amendment gives the right to peaceful protest. And there are certainly issues worth protesting. There are some bad actors who have incited violence and vandalism during these protests, and that should not be supported. It seems like the technology is readily available to have body cameras on officers, so that technology should be used to confirm or refute what happened. Some cities have done this, but commissions should be setup to review situations involving excessive force and then make recommendations to the official in charge, such as the police chief or sherif. I don’t agree with abolishing the police, and I don’t like the use of the term “defund.” I think metro police forces could benefit from reforms that integrate social and mental healthcare workers into the system. Rural police departments may not have the funding for this, but additional training for the officers could be required to better address situations they were not originally prepared to encounter.
Will you support a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for felons?
Yes. Felons should have their voting rights restored after completing their sentence. They are free citizens once again, and free citizens get to have the right to vote.
Will you approve the governor’s IWILL tax relief/mental health plan?
No. Decreasing income taxes while increasing the sales tax would disproportionately affect middle- and low-income wage earners in a negative way while benefiting the top wager earners the most.
Will you seek voter approval of a constitutional amendment on abortion (SJR2001/HJR2004)?
Will you support a ban hand-held electronic devices while driving (SF2248/HF2375)?
Will you support allowing financial compensation for college athletes (SF2330/HF2282)?
Will you support making daylight saving time permanent (SF2077/HF2059)?
Yes. There is no longer a reason for the time change, so given the choice between standard time (lighter earlier in the morning and dark earlier in the evening) versus daylight saving time (darker further in the morning and lighter later in the evening), I would vote for the later.
Will you support allowing end-of-life options for patients with terminal conditions (SF2156/HF2302)?
Will you support closing loopholes to protect mobile home occupants/tenants (HF2351/SF2238)?
Will you support increasing the state minimum hourly wage from $7.25?
Yes. The minimum wage should be gradually lifted to a living wage and tied to inflation as well.
Will you support raising the state tobacco tax by $1 to $2.36 per pack?
Will you support modifying or repealing Iowa’s bottle bill law?
Yes. As we saw while many places were closed during the pandemic, there weren’t many place to take cans and bottles, and so they began to pile up as people waited to redeem them. Recycling kept on getting picked up during the shutdowns, so let’s recycle them and maybe look into how single-use plastics can be eliminated.
Will you support requiring helmets for minors operating motorcycles/motorized bikes?
Will you support eliminating criminal penalties for possessing marijuana?
Will you support establishing a moratorium on constructing large-scale animal feeding facilities?
Yes. While the pros for this may be increased productivity and efficiency, the cons effect the quality of not only the people around the facilities but also the environment downstream, not to mention the quality of life for the animals. With Iowa’s waterways already having poor quality, we do not need to be adding to it. If these issues can be addressed in future designs of these facilities, perhaps that could be a pathway for a moratorium to be lifted.
Will you support creating an “extreme risk” or “red flag” firearms protective order?
Yes. If a police officer or family member has reason to believe an individual may present danger to others or themselves and can convince the court that a firearm should be at least be temporarily taken, then it seems like it would be a public disservice not to do so.
Linn County League of Women Voters
If elected, what are your top three priorities? How do you plan to implement them?
Accessibility, equitable tax policy and spending policy, and investing in education. Making myself accessible is key. In-person meetings are great, and I would also use digital platforms as well to both get input from anyone in the district to help guide me to make the best decision I can for them and also to inform on what I am doing for them in Des Moines. Iowa taxes have become regressive. The amount of taxes a citizen or organization pays should reflect what they are able to pay. Legislators needs to come together to recommend changes to Iowa’s tax laws to make the cost more equitable for all. Once fair shares are being paid, resources can be used to address needs like education, Medicaid, waterways, transportation, and rural broadband. A properly funded education system will help ensure success among Iowa’s youth who will help drive Iowa’s economy. Iowa’s education funding has declined. Legislators need to show that prioritizing education is key to a prosperous future for Iowa
What will you do to strengthen diverse communities in Linn County and across Iowa amid the crises of Covid-19, protests, and economic challenges?
We are in a diverse nation, and that diversity helps to make us stronger because we are more accepting of others. Iowa is not all that diverse, but that is slowly changing. Luckily for us, “Iowa nice” is a real thing that goes a long way in welcoming diversity into our communities. It is important for elected leaders to make diverse groups feel welcome in the community. As a legislator, I would reach out to diverse groups within my district regardless of race, religion, sex, economic status, labor or management, urban or rural. We are a large, increasingly diverse community with common interests like improving our economic and educational opportunities. Everyone has a right to be heard, and as an elected official, I would listened to them and help their voices be heard when making decisions in Des Moines that will effect them.
What is a hope or dream you have for Linn County?
I will strive to listen to the residents of Linn County and provide job opportunities that ensures every household a sustainable wage. When households have sustainable wages, they will be able to meet basic, essential needs—economic, health, and social
How do you plan to strengthen the public education and job training programs in our state?
I am committed to strong work-based learning for every student in our region, similar to what is provided by the Workplace Learning Connection now at Linn County schools. We would strive to ensure every student has at least a job shadow prior to graduation. In addition, every student should access at least one career technical education class before graduating. Funding should be increased as well as further opportunities explored for collaboration between schools to support career technical education.
Do you believe the Iowa Legislature should pass a constitutional amendment that would restore voting rights? Why or why not?
Yes, felons should have their voting rights restored after completing their sentence. They are free citizens once again, and free citizens get to have the right to vote.