It’s the home stretch! I’ve been campaigning now for 21 months. Over a year in a primary for the United States Congress and 7 months after I made the switch to run for the Iowa House. I have been enjoying every minute of it, even though the physical and mental requirements can be, at times, exhausting.
It is a process about getting in front of people, listening, sharing ideas, and discovering new ones. At the end of each day a candidate will access their progress and feel either that they’ve moved the needle, or that they missed an opportunity. A campaign is a test of the sturdiness of will, principles, ideology and character.
I am proud of what I have done so far, but this journey will continue, regardless of the outcome on November 8th, into parts unknown, and it will be with the purpose to serve. I respect any candidate or incumbent for the sacrifices and commitments they have made to serve. No one, regardless of differences, goes through this with any intention other than to do good work.
I give my opponent the same respect. In fact, yesterday at a forum, we acknowledged that we agree on a few things, even though we have fundamental (huge in some cases) differences on other topics, and I tip my hat to him for his commitment.
But, I am running because of those differences.
He has placed a lot of stake in a call for “Smaller/Smarter” government. And this is where I can comfortably stand on his ground while revealing our differences. I am all in with creating efficient, fiscally responsible, government. I, too, want to see smarter government.
Voting for education budgets that are annually 1 to 2% lower than inflationary costs, is not smarter, however. Not when the state’s new revenue would be sufficient without giveaway subsidies and when economic growth is consistent.
Standing in the way of legalizing in-state access to medical use of cannabinoids to treat epileptic seizures, on the grounds of needing more research, may seem conscientious, but it is, in reality, a government induced smokescreen pandering to Big Pharma that spends millions lobbying against it. That isn’t smaller.
Standing with a Governor who unilaterally closed two mental health facilities without a plan to replace those beds is neither smarter nor smaller. What it does is place the financial challenge of mental health onto our local municipalities as those patients transition into our jail system.
Government is not smarter when Medicaid is privatized without enough oversight, or transitional plans in place to handle the burden of care. Government ran Medicaid with a 3% administrative cost; private MCO’s operate around 12%. It will take a lot of new efficiencies to compensate for the difference. And where are those new efficiencies as a patient waits 6 months for a catheter and providers wait 6 months for reimbursement and have to drop services to cover costs?
As I point out these differences I am not blind to progress. At least mental health is in our political conversation. So is water quality. And the Governor has taken his proposal off the table that took money from the school budget to put toward cleaning our water.
Cooperation has been seen toward fighting Human Trafficking and I applaud bi-partisan efforts. But, there are ideological differences when it comes to placing priorities on public education, building infrastructure for commerce and to create jobs, women’s health, living wages, access to medicine, and civil rights for all Iowans. That is where I carry my standard and promise to challenge any movement that compromises those values. It is why I’m running.