Candidate column: Mark Seidl

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Mark Seidl, guest columnist

Iowa needs a positive, constructive vision for its future. The three Es — education, environment, and economic development — are the keys.

Iowa has been known for an exemplary work ethic and providing great education to our children. However, we have recently started to neglect our future and our land. Education funding has lagged, and our children’s scholastic achievements have begun to slide toward mediocrity. Community colleges that can provide technical education are underfunded, and the graduates of our universities are relegated to seeking employment outside of Iowa. Water quality has declined. State park beaches are unswimmable and what comes out of many of our wells is undrinkable. Economic development dollars have been misguided toward businesses providing unskilled jobs.

Iowa’s future lies in investing in our natural advantages. By doing so, we will benefit ourselves and foster the kind of economic development we need.

We must restore full allowable growth in school funding. Elementary teachers should not have to teach to rooms of 32 students. Schools should have librarians, and should offer a full range of subjects including languages and the arts. We need to be first in the nation in education to attract workers whose children will benefit from it.

We must clean up our rivers and streams by helping our farmers filter out the chemicals that are destroying water quality. We need to do this now, before the situation is aggravated by continued inaction. Buffer strips, cover crops, bioreactors, and changes in land use must be instituted. Funding should come from town and country, half from instituting the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund overwhelmingly approved by Iowa voters six years ago, and half from a surtax on fertilizers and chemicals most responsible for polluting our waters. The remainder of the Trust Fund should be used to develop and enhance public lands and improve parks and trails.

A bright spot for Iowa has been its leadership in renewable fuels, which has become a selling point for attracting good jobs. We must continue to encourage wind and solar power use and the production of ethanol. If our State became the first to power itself solely with renewable sources of energy, it would be not only a leader but an inspiration.

In my candidacy, and in my service to Iowa, these are the things that I would work on in order to put us first.

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