Government

Reynolds brings campaign tour to Marion

She touts state's work ethic and education funding

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks as acting Lt. Governor Adam Gregg stands nearby during a campaign stop Thursday at Legacy Manufacturing in Marion. “We’re working every single day to make Iowa an even better place to live work and raise a family,” Reynolds said in a speech. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks as acting Lt. Governor Adam Gregg stands nearby during a campaign stop Thursday at Legacy Manufacturing in Marion. “We’re working every single day to make Iowa an even better place to live work and raise a family,” Reynolds said in a speech. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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MARION — A day after announcing she’s running this year for a full term as Iowa governor, Gov. Kim Reynolds focused on the positives during a campaign stop Thursday at a growing manufacturing company.

She and acting Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg embarked on a campaign swing — Eastern Iowa this week and Western Iowa next — after she made the announcement Wednesday in her hometown of Osceola.

For the Marion stop, the Republican team chose Legacy Manufacturing, a tool and equipment maker undergoing a 200,000-square-foot expansion, as the backdrop.

“As a governor, you love to pull in to what looks like a brand-new facility that’s demonstrating the growth and prosperity, only to look on the back side and see that they’re already building a new addition,” the governor said.

During her speech, Reynolds made a priority of mentioning Iowa’s status as being ranked first among states by U.S. News & World Report.

“Sometimes we get so focused on the negative stuff, we forget to step back and just celebrate the positive things that are happening,” she said. “It’s reflective of the people, of our work ethic and values. It’s reflective of you and the difference that Iowa and companies like Legacy Manufacturing are making.”

Reynolds said, though, that if elected she doesn’t want to see the state stagnate.

“We can’t become complacent, we can’t sit on our laurels and be satisfied with the status quo,” she said. “We’re working every single day to make Iowa an even better place to live work and raise a family.”

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Though the Legislature has yet to approve it, Reynolds touted her plan to cut more than $1.7 billion in state income taxes over about five years, saying she knows every dollar saved counts to Iowans.

She also said education will remain a priority, noting that Iowa has risen to the top in funding K-12 education.

State funding per student increased 20.6 percent from 2008 to 2015, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report. Funding in only three states — North Dakota, Illinois and Alaska — outpaced Iowa, the report found.

“We are investing in education; don’t let them tell you any different,” Reynolds said. “We want to make sure our young kids are prepared to be competitive in a knowledge and global economy. We want to make sure that the sheer number of dollars doesn’t tell the whole story. We have to be careful that we’re not measuring quality of education by the money that we’re putting into it.”

Investing in science, technology, engineering and math also will create a multitude of higher education opportunities — such as apprenticeships and two- and four-year degrees — to keep young Iowans in the state’s workforce, she said.

Joni Scotter, 76, of Marion, attended Reynolds’ stop there. Scotter said she appreciates the governor’s plan to support education and thinks Reynolds learned much from being No. 2 to former Gov. Terry Branstad.

“She cares about Iowa, she cares about education,” Scotter said. “She’ll listen to everything you have to say, and she’ll tell you how she feels, but at least she takes the time to listen to what you think.”

One of Reynolds’ Democratic rivals for the job, Fred Hubbell, plans campaigns stop in the Corridor to talk about education funding. He plans to appear at 3 p.m. Friday at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center and 12:30 p.m. Saturday at MERGE in downtown Iowa City.

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