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Family-focused candidates vie for Iowa House 83
Republican Cindy Golding faces Democrat Kris Nall
With Iowa’s redrawing of election boundaries last year, Cindy Golding of rural Linn County saw a need and Kris Nall of Center Point heard about one.
“It really wasn’t on my radar until they approached us and said … ‘Hey, they’re looking for people who are interested in running this year, and we thought you’d be a good fit’,” Nall, 37, said of the Democratic leadership in Iowa’s outreach.
“I’m a working mom in my late 30s — why me? … I’m average,” she said. “And then I went, hold it, that’s exactly why I should be running. Because if you look up the stats for the average Iowan, it’s a 38-year-old woman.”
Golding, 70, spotted the open seat herself and decided to run because no other Republican had jumped in and “I could not see this going hands down to a Democrat.”
“Secondly, I think Iowa’s on the right track,” she said, “and I want to help the governor continue to keep Iowa moving forward.”
Iowa’s newly drawn Iowa House District 83 hooks around Cedar Rapids to include Mount Vernon, Lisbon, Center Point, Central City, Coggon, Palo, Alburnett and other communities in Linn County.
While the two diverge on many points and issues, both highlight their family focus and support for a strong educational system.
Education in Iowa
Nall — with a 10- and 6-year-old in the Center Point-Urbana school district — said she understands “how critical public education is to every child's success.”
“We need to fund our public schools so that teachers can make sure students with different needs and learning disabilities aren't left behind in our classrooms,” according to Nall’s website.
Golding — who identifies as an entrepreneur, business executive, farmer, real estate investor, mother of six and grandmother of 21 — told The Gazette she’s had kids in large and small public districts and private schools. Among her crowd of grandchildren — some living locally and others outside Iowa — five are home-schooled and the others are dispersed across public and private districts.
“Education is not a one-size-fits all solution,” her website says. “For example, some students should go to college, some should go to a trade school or receive union training, and some should learn on the job,.’
But Iowa needs to get back to being best, she told The Gazette.
“When we moved here, Iowa was No. 1 in the nation in education,” she said, having come from Illinois. “So we were thrilled to be able to move to Iowa.”
Golding suggested more legislative engagement in returning Iowa to academic dominance.
“We need to really do some research. I'm a researcher,” Golding said. “That was my first career, in research. We need to look at what are the causes. My concern is a lot of knee-jerk legislation happens to solve a problem, and there's always unintended consequences. I think we need to review — how did we get to where we are in order to get back to where we were?”
Regarding higher education, specifically, Golding said, “I think that the higher education system needs a whole dose of accountability.”
“The tuition cost has gone way up,” she said. “What are they doing with the funds? And are our students actually getting value for the degree that they get? Are we training students to be productive citizens? What is the result of their education?”
Nall called Iowa’s public universities “public utilities for the public good” — educating the workforce, bringing workers and future employees to the state, and educating voters.
“If we don’t fund those schools — whether they’re our K-12 or our colleges — and we start pushing those costs onto the students, those students are going to go to the colleges that provide the best value,” she said. “If they can go to another college in another state … and the price is cheaper there, they're going to go there.”
Nall grew up in a Chicago suburb and moved to Cedar Rapids to attend Mount Mercy University, graduating with honors in history. She worked her way up to manager at FedEx and then the The Hotel at Kirkwood Center before jumping into real state as a Realtor and property manager.
Her husband is a science teacher, and Nall’s family inspires much of her legislative leanings — including on issues of health care, as both her babies were born prematurely. In one case, according to Nall, the family ended up with more than $30,000 in medical debt.
Nall’s children also inspire her stance on abortion, she said.
“I want to make sure that we can keep abortion access safe and legal,” she said. “It's sad when you wake up and you realize that not only do you have less rights then when you went to bed, but that your daughter has less rights than when you went to bed. It sets a very ugly precedent.”
Golding grew up in rural northern Illinois and her parents had a small manufacturing firm in Chicago. Some of her family farmed, and Golding ended up at Northern Illinois University to study biochemistry. She now lives in rural Linn County northwest of Cedar Rapids.
Due to an economic downturn, Golding spent time helping with her family business before later landing a job as an analytical chemist. As she raised her children, Golding and her husband built businesses — speaking to another of her legislative passions: supporting small business and, by extension in Iowa, agriculture.
“I want to see our state continue down a road for an improved business environment,” she said, with responsible regulatory oversight, “not overreach.”
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