116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
There are two Republican candidates from Washington running for Iowa House District 92, but only one has earned an endorsement from Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Heather Hora, 52, is backed by the Republican governor for the Iowa House of Representatives to represent the district that covers all of Washington County and a portion of southeastern Johnson County, including Hills and Lone Tree.
“I believe (Reynolds) is one of the greatest leaders of all time and I am humbled by her endorsement,” Hora said. “I look forward to working with her to enact a pro-taxpayer, pro-family, and a pro-parent agenda in 2023.”
However, Jaron Rosien, mayor of Washington and Hora’s opponent in the June 7 primary, said Reynolds’ endorsement is a reason why constituents should vote for him.
“Meddling in these primary races is unprecedented, and dangerous, in my opinion,” said Rosien, 38. “I don’t see an endorsement here as much as I see a pair of golden handcuffs that will prevent my opponent from legislating for the people of this district.”
Rep. Jarad Klein, the Republican from Keota who held the District 92 seat for 12 years, announced he would not seek re-election.
The winner of Tuesday’s Repubblican primary will face with Ty Bopp of Riverside, a Democrat running unopposed, in the November general election.
Reynolds endorsed Hora for her support of the governor’s proposed legislation that would create taxpayer-funded scholarships to pay for private school tuition, otherwise known as the school voucher program. The bill failed to pass the Iowa House before the end of the Legislative session after a large number of House Republicans opposed the proposal.
In response, and in a highly unusual move, Reynolds endorsed opponents of elected officials in her own party who opposed her legislation. A recent example is the governor’s backing of Barb Kniff McCulla of Pella who is challenging Republican state Rep. Jon Thorup, an Iowa State Patrol trooper from Knoxville who is seeking his third term in the House.
Rosien said he would not oppose a voucher program, but he does “oppose any legislation that would maim our public schools in the process.”
“I have respect for Governor Reynolds, but with respect, I will not be working for the governor in this role,” he said. “I will be working for the 33,000 people of this House district.”
Hora said she is a supporter of parent choice, and if elected, she would push for elected officials to examine the Iowa Department of Education and the state’s school system “to figure out why our schools are failing.”
In particular, she pointed to the rising mental health needs for young Iowans.
“I believe in our public schools; I am a product of public school, but what we have today looks nothing like what I remember,” said Hora, who has three children currently attending public school. “… We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and hope at some point it works. It is not working; in fact it is broken and failing, and we must fix it.”
Hora and her husband of 18 years, Kurt Hora, are both fifth-generation farmers. The couple’s three children — ages 14, 13 and 11 — help them raise corn, soybeans and pigs.
Rosien, who was elected as mayor of Washington in 2017, also owns a restaurant on the town’s main square and hails from a family of farmers.
Rosien said his experience as a local elected official and his ability to work with others with differing points of view will make him a productive member of the state House of Representatives. He emphasized he would focus on the real problems Iowans face, and not on “manufacturing problems to solve.”
If elected, Hora said property tax relief and strengthening programs like Future Ready Iowa and other programs meant to grow the state’s workforce will be among her priorities.
Abortion is likely to play a major role in the Iowa Legislature in the near future, given the Iowa GOP’s push to limit abortion access in Iowa. This also comes as the country waits for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the landmark Roe v. Wade case.
Rosien does not support abortion, but said he would support certain exceptions to abortion restrictions in order to protect the life of the woman, such as in the case of ectopic pregnancies. He also pointed to cases of incest, saying he believes the government should not have a place in mandating such a decision for those families.
“Government needs to be very careful in how laws are passed in this area,” Rosien said. “It should be black and white, that this is simply not black and white. Attempts to make it that do not reflect many harsh realities.”
Hora said she is pro-life, adding she believed elected officials have a duty to ensure all children have the opportunity “to grow up in a permanent, loving home.” She did not disclose whether she would support any exceptions to abortion.
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