House 67 candidate disagree by degree at forum
James Q. Lynch
HIAWATHA — Republican Ashley Hinson and Democrat Mark Seidl served up alphabet soup at a forum Wednesday evening to explain how they would represent a Linn County open-seat legislative district.
Hinson said she would be guided by three Cs — communication, collaboration and creativity.
Seidl told about 75 people at a League of Women Voters forum in Hiawatha his priorities would be three Es — education, environment and the economy.
Those weren’t the only differences between the candidates in House 67, which includes Robins, Hiawatha and part of Cedar Rapids and Marion.
Seidl, for example, called for restoring the allowable growth funding formula to give schools the resources they need. As he campaigns, he said, he repeatedly has heard about classrooms with more than 30 students.
“We need more teachers,” Seidl said.
Hinson pointed out that about 55 percent of the state’s budget is spent on education. She wants to depoliticize school funding decisions by basing the funding formula on the state’s ability to pay.
The candidates agreed there should be a statewide minimum wage.
“I don’t agree on the piecemeal approach,” Seidl said, referring to counties setting their own minimum wages. He called for a $10-an-hour minimum wage.
“I don’t disagree that there needs to be action at the state,” she said, but would need more information before landing on a specific number.
They disagreed on how to pay for cleaning Iowa’s waters. Seidl wants the Legislature to approve a three-eighths cent sales tax increase to fund a natural resources trust fund and apply a penny-a-pound surcharge on fertilizer.
Hinson didn’t endorse a tax hike but said the Legislature needs to take action to fund water quality programs. The Middle Cedar Partnership Project, which is working to increase the implementation of nutrient and flood reduction practices in the Cedar River watershed, “is a great model to take statewide,” she said.
The candidates agreed Iowa should support high-speed rail that would connect Eastern Iowa to Chicago, but only if it is sustainable within the state budget, Hinson said. The state already subsidizes other modes of transportation, such as trucks that cause significant wear and tear on roads, Seidl said.
Neither candidate saw a need for changes in Iowa’s gun laws, and they agreed there might be a need for more sentencing reforms.
Upcoming LWV legislative forums include:
House 65 — Democratic Rep. Liz Bennett and Republican Harry Foster, both of Cedar Rapids, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 5th Ave. SE, Beems #1;
Senate 48 — challengers Libertarian Brian Cook and Democrat Scott Peterson, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 17, Falcon Civic Center, 137 4th St. N, Central City.
House 70 — Democratic Rep. Todd Taylor and Republican Dave Cork, both of Cedar Rapids, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Taft Middle School, 5200 E Ave. NW.