COVID-19 has spotlighted many issues every one of us should care about—from the importance of our public schools and teachers to the critical role our workers play in keeping society running. Everyone — from sanitation workers to grocery store stockers, from first responders to health care professionals — deserves a dignified wage that keeps them free from poverty. And all workers deserve paid sick leave and paid family leave. COVID-19 has taught us how connected we all are.
The following are priorities I will focus on if you elect me to serve in the state legislature.
Maintaining Iowa’s public education system as a model of excellence
Iowa is renowned nationally for its excellent public education system. But for years, the Republican-dominated state legislature has funded our children’s schools at a rate that doesn’t even keep pace with our modest rate of inflation. Ankeny’s public K-12 schools regularly appear in lists of the top schools statewide, but the school district is facing massive enrollment growth — over 450 new students per year — and massive rising costs. We can not continue to expect the world-class results we are used to from our public schools if we continue to starve them with annual increases between 1-2%. I support increasing state supplemental aid by a reliable and consistent 3% annually, as well as making Ankeny’s incredible DMACC and other adult educational opportunities more accessible and affordable.
Broadly expanding availability and affordability of healthcare
Residents of HD 37 constantly tell me they consider access to affordable healthcare one of their top concerns. No one should have to choose between going to the doctor and feeding their families. Iowa can — and needs to — make healthcare more affordable and available for everyone. For example, we should require health insurance companies to cap the costs of certain prescription drugs. We also need to end the failed experiment that has distorted Medicaid into a for-profit embarrassment and justly compensate our providers so they can furnish the care Iowans need. I am committed to implement innovative programs to improve access to mental health care, including student loan forgiveness for mental health professionals.
Rewarding hard work
Rewarding hard-working Iowans is the right thing to do, ensuring that they can provide for their families and rise above poverty. We can guarantee Iowa’s working families earn a reasonable wage (and ensure that women are paid the same as men for the same work) in a responsible way that benefits small businesses. We can adopt other states’ innovative sources of funding, including tax incentives and public-private partnerships, to enable necessities like paid sick leave and family leave, as well as affordable childcare. This will allow Iowans to work and give them the opportunity to develop their own small businesses.
Dismantling partisan gridlock
As a business executive living in Asia for a decade, I worked with people from all over the world, with diverse cultures and viewpoints, to — accomplish our goals and get our work done. The legislature hasn’t always been this polarized. I’m committed as a legislator to restoring cooperation to our politics by working across the aisle and reviving the bipartisan Women’s Caucus.
Safeguarding Iowa’s quality of life
Iowa’s quality of life is what has drawn so many families like mine to Ankeny. But short-term thinking in the legislature has put that quality of life at risk. I will dedicate my legislative service to restoring Iowa’s commitments to critical priorities such as public schools that prepare our children for challenges that lie ahead, healthcare that can help all Iowans live longer, happier lives, and clean water that we can all feel confident drinking and having fun in. I believe in addressing our state’s priorities in a fiscally responsible manner, with a balanced budget. But we can do this only if we commit to conducting honest, transparent discussions about our priorities.
Making Iowa a leader in solving our environmental crisis
Protecting our natural resources has always been important to me. In high school, I started a club called Students for a Better Earth. Preserving Iowa’s rich natural heritage is a shared imperative, from our farmers, to manufacturers, from Iowans living in rural communities, to Iowans living in urban areas. The legislature should encourage farmers to lead the way in sustainable agriculture by incentivizing practices such as planting cover crops, using prairie strips, and establishing buffers, as outlined in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The legislature should encourage manufacturers to lead the way to ward off climate change by incentivizing methods to reduce their carbon footprint, and supporting clean energy such as wind and solar that promote economic growth and provide good jobs. The legislature should encourage all Iowans to lead the way in environmental consumerism by incentivizing recycling, energy efficiency, and clean transportation.