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 has been renowned nationally for its excellent public education. But for years, the Republican-controlled state legislature has under-funded our children’s schools, with annual growth increases far below our economy’s modest rate of inflation. 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% even in years when our economy is growing. I support making Ankeny’s incredible DMACC and other adult educational opportunities more accessible and affordable for those who desire an alternative to traditional postsecondary education.
Broadly expanding availability and affordability of healthcare
As the mom of a child with mild cerebral palsy, I know how important access to affordable healthcare is. 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. We should end the failed experiment that has distorted Medicaid into a for-profit embarrassment that under-serves our most vulnerable Iowans. And we should justly compensate our providers so they can furnish the care Iowans need, and so that Iowa is a competitive state attracting and keeping healthcare professionals. I am committed to innovative solutions to improve access to mental healthcare, including student loan forgiveness for mental health professionals.
Rewarding hard work
Rewarding hardworking Iowans, ensuring that they can provide for their families and rise above poverty, is the right thing to do. We must guarantee that 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 also benefits small businesses. We can adopt other states’ innovative sources of funding, including tax incentives and public-private partnerships, to enable paid sick leave, paid family leave, and affordable childcare. This will not only allow Iowans to work but also 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. In business, you can disagree with someone all you want, but at the end of the day, you have to come together and find common ground to get your work done. I’ll bring that skill to the statehouse and am committed to restoring cooperation to our politics by working across the aisle. The legislature hasn’t always been this polarized. I know we can unite to foster mutual respect among House members, identify common ground, and work toward solutions that can meet Iowa’s many challenges. As a first step, I would like to revive the bipartisan Women’s Caucus.
Safeguarding Iowa’s quality of life
Iowa’s quality of life has drawn many families, including mine, to Ankeny. But short-term thinking in the legislature has put that quality of life at risk. I will work to restore 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 developing and maintaining good-paying 21st-century jobs. I believe our state can accomplish this in a fiscally responsible manner, with a balanced budget. We will 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.
Preserving reproductive freedom
Make no mistake: choice is on the ballot. My opponent is anti-choice. I believe that abortion is a deeply personal decision that belongs between a woman and her doctor. I don’t know what the answer is for every woman making that decision, but I do know that she doesn’t need a state legislator making the decision for her. When we prioritize giving women access to reproductive health services, unintended pregnancies and abortions decrease. I support Planned Parenthood and their mission to provide Iowans with reproductive healthcare and education.
Fighting to end racial inequity and injustice in our state
The Iowa Legislature took a first step to addressing racial injustice in our state by uniting to pass the Plan for A More Perfect Union, which concentrates on curbing police violence. But that was just a first step. If elected to the Iowa House, I pledge to champion anti-racist legislation that will: lower the poverty rate among Black Iowans, which now stands at three times the rate for white Iowans; empower Black Iowans to build wealth by increasing homeownership and entrepreneurship; broaden the path for additional Black Iowans to earn a college degree or learn a skilled trade; and reform criminal justice to reduce the disproportionate number of Black Iowans behind bars. I want to work to make Iowa an anti-racist state we can all be proud of.