Reflections on a destructive legislative session

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:

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.

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  • Frightening and debasing

    Unfortunately, the list is neither frightening nor debasing to Iowa Republicans. If I’m wrong and there are Republicans aghast at their party’s extreme agenda, please come out from under your rock and speak out. Maybe my obsession is unhealthy for a guy who finds 80 an acceptable age for experience, thoughtfulness, and insight into the problems facing this generation. I’m talking about Joe, but looking at him as a member of the same age group. I see Sami’s family came from Damascus. I’m guessing it’s the same Damascus where the New Testament Paul experienced his magical transformation. There are at least a couple dozen of your Republican colleagues who need a trip to that magical crossroads. Can that be arranged?

    • Your first sentence is true, unfortunately

      An earlier BH post declared that Iowa voters really need to wake up. But many if not most Republican voters believe they are wide awake. If anything, they believe Democratic voters are the ones who are asleep.

      I don’t know what it will take to start to really push and pull Iowa back to at least a faint shade of purple. I hope others have good ideas. And if there are any persuadable Iowa voters left who are purple, you are the ones I’d like to learn more about.

  • Arguably?

    Good post and comments. But is there a need for “arguably” in the opening paragraph? — “arguably… the most harmful and destructive”?
    Herb Strentz

  • Amazing

    Isn’t it amazing that the party of minimum government is writing so many laws, rules, and regulations against everyone but themselves and their values and beliefs?