A commentary by correctional officer Mark Masterson. -promoted by desmoinesdem
Can I introduce you to my friend and co-worker? His name is Jason Moats. Jason is running for Iowa House district 84, left open by retiring Republican State Representative Dave Heaton. This district includes Mount Pleasant, where I live and work.
I trust Jason! I trust him with my life and my vote. Do I know that Jason will stand up for Iowans? Yes, I do. Jason's opponent says he wants to restore some rights to some state employees. Jason won't play word games like that. You know what you get with Mr. Moats. When he makes a promise, his word is his bond!
Jason grew up in the small town of Monticello (Jones County). He was raised by his parents Dan and Marlene, both hard working factory workers. Growing up, Jason's family never had money to buy extras but had enough money to get by.
Jason also learned the meaning of hard work through growing up on his grandparents' family farm. As a child, he tended the livestock, baled a lot of hay, helped with the spring planting and the fall harvest. He also helped his dad cut firewood every fall to heat their home over the winter. To this day, Jason still does this to heat his family’s home.
At the age of 16, Jason started doing trades work, pouring concrete while still in high school. After graduating with honors from high school, he decided to continue working in the trades. From there he went on to framing homes and condos for several years. He furthered in the trades by contributing to the laying of Highway 218 in Southeast Iowa.
From there he went on to work in a factory, building skid loader attachments, to be closer to home. In 2007 he accepted a position with the Department of Corrections, as a correctional officer. He did that job for eleven years. Through this work, he met his wife Amber, who also was a correctional officer.
During his career with the state, Jason became politically involved through his union, AFSCME. He served as the vice president of his local for two years and then went on to serve as president until he transferred to the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility last year. He attends AFSCME's lobby day at the state capitol every year and goes to Des Moines frequently.
While at the statehouse for lobby day in 2017, Jason tried to page his representative, Dave Heaton, to discuss what was going on with the bill to gut collective bargaining rights in Chapter 20 of Iowa law. A page told him Heaton had gone out to lunch. Jason and Amber went up to the balcony in the House chamber. Lo and behold, there sat their representative who had “gone out to lunch."
They went back downstairs and tried to page him again. The page said he went out to lunch, and they explained that they knew he was in the chamber. The page told them Heaton was busy right now and didn’t have the time. That was when the switched flipped on. On the way home that afternoon, Jason and Amber had a very long discussion. Jason thought it wasn’t right that here he is paying his taxes to paying his state lawmaker, who wouldn’t even come out to hear his concerns. That’s when they decided Jason should run for the legislature.
Heaton did eventually vote against the gutting of Chapter 20. But he also voted no on every amendment that the Democrats introduced, to make the collective bargaining law less of a burden for middle-class Iowans.
Throughout Jason’s life, he has had a passion for helping others. Whether it be through helping someone throw drywall, cutting down a tree, or working on someone’s vehicle or tractor that couldn’t afford to take it to the shop. Always eager to teach others his knowledge in the trades. In June of this year, Jason accepted a job with the Department of Corrections as a Correctional Trades Leader. He now teaches the incarcerated electrical and plumbing through the State of Iowa’s apprenticeship program.
Education is one of the focal points of Jason’s campaign. The issue is important to him because Jason and Amber have three children attending public schools at Winfield-Mt Union (Robert is 17, Annabelle is 14, and Jada is 9). He doesn't want another budget cut or wager for corporate spending. Jason would also like to see more trades being taught in public schools.
The first thing Jason wants to work on when at the capitol is our failing mental health system. He believes Iowans need more medical professionals specializing in this field, especially in southeast Iowa.
I am Correctional Officer Mark Masterson.