The GOP abandoned Iowa’s strong public education heritage

Ras Smith has represented part of Waterloo in the Iowa House since 2017 and is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

School is back in session across the state, but with soaring cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and school districts stripped of local control, our educators, students, and parents are suffering. Long before the pandemic, though, Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa GOP turned their backs on schools in Iowa.

Education is central to our heritage. Iowa’s state quarter reads “Foundation in Education.” When I had the opportunity to visit with former Senator Tom Harkin this spring, he reminded me that Iowa’s forbearers prioritized establishing a schoolhouse in every township, and they prioritized paying for it. That’s the Iowa I know and love.

Our schools are the backbones of our communities. But right now, there’s a major disconnect between politicians and our classrooms. From not empowering local school districts to make decisions about how to keep students safe during the pandemic, to propping up for-profit charter schools with no oversight, to banning curriculum, Governor Reynolds has led Iowa astray. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

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Iowa Senate district 20: Brad Zaun knows he's in trouble

Brad Zaun’s fifth campaign for the state legislature will be his toughest yet.

Like affluent suburban areas around the country, Iowa Senate district 20 has been trending away from Republicans. Democrats in the northwest suburbs of Des Moines did well in the 2019 local elections and more recently surpassed the GOP in voter registrations.

Zaun has adapted to the new environment with messaging that doesn’t mention his party affiliation, his votes for many controversial laws, his numerous attempts to ban abortion, or his early support for Donald Trump’s candidacy.

On the contrary, he is campaigning as an “independent voice” and leader on improving education and mental health services.

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Kevin Warth offers unique perspective for Iowa Senate district 44

Tyler Mills is a Democratic activist in southeast Iowa who is consulting for Kevin Warth, one of three Democrats seeking the nomination in Senate district 44. -promoted by Laura Belin

Kevin Warth’s voice is desperately needed within the Democratic caucus in the Iowa Senate. Agriculture has always been the backbone of our state’s economy, and that isn’t going to change.

One of the key issues we are facing as a state is finding a way to make our young people willing to stay in the communities they grew up in–or at the very least, maintaining an interest in the overall benefit of those communities.

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Representative Bobby Kaufmann lives in a glass House

A GOP lawmaker’s outrage rings hollow when we’ve repeatedly seen Iowa Republicans push policies they never campaigned on. -promoted by Laura Belin

On the Iowa House State Government Committee’s agenda for January 22, a presentation by Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) CEO Donna Mueller and a special announcement by the committee’s Republican chair Bobby Kaufmann was scheduled for 11:00 am.

Kaufmann had stated at a forum in December, “There will be zero IPERS bills, period. End of story. End of discussion. No tweaks, no changes.” James Q. Lynch from the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that Kaufmann also plainly stated in his newsletter, “I said it before the election and I will say it again: There will unequivocally not be changes to IPERS.”

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