Candidate column: Mary Mascher

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Mary Mascher, guest columnist

It has been an honor to serve the people of Johnson County and House District 86 for the past 20 years. My name is State Representative Mary Mascher and I am a former schoolteacher and counselor in the Iowa City school district. My family consists of my son, Jason, his wife, Lyndsey and twin grandsons, Aden and Cale. I grew up on an Iowa Heritage Farm that has been in our family for over 150 years. My brothers still own and farm that land today.

I first ran for the legislature back in 1995 and during the past legislative session I served on the following committees: Appropriations, State Government, Local Government, and Education. The legislation I am most proud of over my years in office is: the increase in the minimum wage, the Smoke-free Workplaces Act and the establishment of our voluntary 4-Year Old Preschool Program.

The 2017 Legislature has some extremely important issues to address. The first is water quality. Both Republicans and Democrats agree something must be done to clean up Iowa’s rivers and streams. At times the nitrate and potassium levels are dangerously high and are a threat to the health and well-being of all Iowans. While we all agree that something must be done. How it should be done and who should pay for it remain the biggest challenges facing us this session.

Another key issue before us is providing legislative oversight for Iowa’s 4 billion dollar privatized Medicaid program. After a very rocky roll out we are still hearing numerous complaints from both providers and consumers. We should work with the managed care companies to see that these problems are addressed and hold them accountable if they are not. Our second health priority should be passing a medical cannabis bill that works. Without the ability to produce the medication in-state the current law is not effective in helping serve the very Iowans who need it.

The last piece of legislation that must be addressed is increasing Iowa’s minimum wage. Johnson County was the first county in the state to pass a local increase. Iowans want a state wide wage increase not a county by county approach. We should pass an increase that will help the lowest paid workers in the state. They deserve a decent quality of life, and a good paying job that will allow them to feed and care for their families.

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