Guest Columnists

Candidate column: Kirsten Running-Marquardt

**FILE** Shown in this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, file photo is State Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, D-Cedar Rapids, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
**FILE** Shown in this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, file photo is State Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, D-Cedar Rapids, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa is a great state where I choose to live, work and raise my family. As your State Representative, I’ve sponsored and worked together with others to pass progressive policies at the state level that benefit all Iowans.

However, we are at a crossroads this year. We have critical choices on the ballot that will reflect future policy priorities, specifically on whether to put hard working Iowans and education first or corporations and gridlock.

After six years of delays and excuses from legislative Republicans, it’s time to make education first again at the Statehouse. Too often, issues that are supported by a majority of Iowans are put on the back burner, while policies that support large corporations cannot fly through the Capitol fast enough. Investing in education, workforce development, raising wages, access to health care, supporting small businesses and protecting our environment are my priorities. These should be the first items we deal with in our state’s budget.

Right now, over $400 million dollars goes right off the top of our budget for large corporations in the form of tax credits, research grants, forgivable loans and tax cuts. And that amount keeps growing every year. Whatever is left in the state coffers is then divided among education, health care, natural resources, and public safety. The public is then told there are limited funds available for our most important priorities. Iowans deserve to see the entire picture of the budgeting process.

Iowans want a good quality of life including: strong public schools, access to quality health care, high-paying jobs, safe infrastructure, a clean environment and policies that grow wages and support small businesses and entrepreneurs. A good quality of life may indeed be the one of the best ways to keep young Iowans here and attract new Iowans for the workforce needed for our future economic success.

Another example of how the state has put corporations before Iowans is Governor Branstad’s decision to privatize Medicaid to three out-of-state for-profit companies. This has been disastrous for many of our most fragile and sick Iowans. Countless stories of denied access to services previously covered and flawed payments to providers have made the transition problematic. Decisions regarding the health of many Iowans are being made by corporations interested in maximizing their profits.

I will continue to stand up for the hardworking men and women of Iowa and I ask for your vote on November 8th. Please vote for candidates that put Iowans first.

-Iowa State Representative Kirsten Running-Marquardt

(House District 69, Cedar Rapids, Fairfax and SW corner of Linn Co.)



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