Sami Scheetz represents Iowa House district 78, covering part of Cedar Rapids.
On May 4, the Iowa legislature concluded the 2023 legislative session—one that will arguably go down as the most harmful and destructive in our state’s history.
The list of catastrophic legislation Republicans have imposed on the people of Iowa is lengthy:
- A billion-dollar voucher scheme that gives handouts to private schools and wealthy Iowans in our largest, richest cities—legislation that will destroy our rural public schools and accelerate the degradation of our public school system statewide.
- A series of laws that attack our LGBTQ youth: book banning; a “bathroom bill”; a ban on life-saving care for transgender children.
- Legislation limiting the ability for Iowans who die or are catastrophically injured by medical malpractice or negligent truck drivers to be fully compensated for their losses.
- A child labor bill that turns the clock back on worker protections and encourages children not to complete their high school education.
- Likely the most harmful bill passed this session will kick thousands of working-class Iowans off of their food benefits and take health care away from nearly 1,000 Iowa children. This at a time when Iowans are facing 40-year price highs for food and basic goods.
Republicans told Iowans they would focus on fighting inflation, but their leadership in the capitol has instead been laser-focused on targeting working-class and marginalized communities in our state.
Like many Iowans, I do not recognize the state I was proud to grow up in: a state that provided limitless opportunities for my dad who was raised in foster care in Cedar Rapids; a state that welcomed my mother, who came to Iowa from Damascus, Syria, almost 40 years ago; a state that elected the son of an immigrant to represent his community in the legislature at the age of 26.
Our state has a proud progressive history: we desegregated our schools 86 years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision; we were the second state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage; and we catapulted a man who would become our nation’s first African-American president to the national stage.
I ran for the legislature because I believe Iowa can once again become a welcoming, forward-thinking state that young people will want to call home for decades to come. A place where the family you’re born in doesn’t determine the trajectory of your life.
While this reality may seem distant now, I have faith that the incredible people of this state will continue to fight for the future Iowans need and deserve.