116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Kevin Kinney, 59, of Oxford, is the Democratic candidate for Senate District 46 in the Nov. 8 general election. Kinney, a farmer and retired Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy who’s served in the state Senate since 2015, is seeking re-election, this time in the newly-redrawn District 46.
The Gazette posed a set of questions to all area statehouse candidates. Below is the transcript of Kinney’s answers. Polls will be open on election day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
What do you think are the three most important issues the state is facing? What would you do to address them?
Kinney: For me, the three most important issues are public safety, economic opportunity, and child care.
For public safety, I want to work to extend the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse survivors. That's an issue I've already been working on and I'm committed to getting it done.
We need to create more good paying jobs and economic opportunity throughout Iowa but especially in rural communities. Iowa can't be successful if our rural towns aren't thriving. This means helping to attract more employers who can diversify our rural economies.
Finally, the state should also do much more to assist with child care for working families. Having dependable access to child care unlocks a wide range of employment opportunities that wouldn't be available without it.
Do you support the use of eminent domain for CO2 pipelines? Why or why not?
Kinney: No. For profit companies shouldn't be able to use eminent domain all willy-nilly. Farmers and landowners should be protected. These companies should not be allowed to go across folks' land utilizing eminent domain. We need to stand up for landowners and farmers to protect their assets.
What restrictions or limitations should be placed on the use of eminent domain for CO2 pipelines?
Kinney: For profit companies should not be allowed to use eminent domain to take valuable land for crop production away from our farmers.
The state is projected to have a budget surplus of more than $1 billion. What would be your top priorities for that surplus?
Kinney: My first priority would be to bolster access to child care. As a state, we need to do much more to help working families and provide high quality child care. This will help folks from every walk of life in every corner of the state.
Next, I'd look at increasing funding for education across the board. It's not just the K-12 system, we need to increase funding for postsecondary opportunities. While I do believe that we need to help our large universities, one size does not fit all. That's why we should also increase funding for trade and technical schools. These types of schools can be a true economic engine for Iowa and help students obtain high-paying jobs without needing a four-year degree. Funding both types of opportunities is a win-win for the state.
What changes — beyond those made in recent sessions — would you like to see made to Iowa's tax code?
Kinney: We've done a lot of work getting our taxes as low as possible. I've proudly supported a large majority of that work including the most recent tax cuts. To be fiscally responsible, I'd like to see how these changes impact the state's budget before we dive right back into making sweeping changes.
However, for older Iowans who have reached retirement age, I'd like to look at a way to freeze their property taxes at a specific level. Then, once that property changes hands, it would go to the current property tax levels. I think this would help older Iowans be more economically secure.
Under what circumstances should Iowans be able to access abortion services in the state? What if any, exceptions should apply to any abortion bans?
Kinney: I am where the majority of Americans are on this issue. We must protect the health and safety of the mother while also providing exceptions for cases of rape, sexual assault, and incest. As a member of law enforcement, I sat with 12- and 13-year-old girls that grappled with this tragic circumstance. It was heartbreaking. I have no interest in re-victimizing these survivors. It should be their choice on how to proceed.
What are your ideas for improving public schools?
Kinney: First, we should not be cutting funding for our public schools. Schools have been doing more with less for years. We need to increase staffing, create better access to STEM classes and provide extracurricular opportunities like FFA for our students. Additionally, we must make sure that preschool is available for all students while providing wraparound child care options for working families that need them.
Do you support further use of state funds to help parents pay the costs of non-public schools or home schooling for grades K-12? Why or why not?
Kinney: I will not support any plan that takes public dollars and uses them for private school vouchers. As a parent, a former school board member, and now as a State Senator I've always believed that strong public schools level the playing field for all students. These schools are the lifeblood of small towns throughout Iowa and help keep our communities vibrant. That's why I'll never go back on my pledge to oppose any attempt to undermine public education.
Should Iowa ban the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving?
Kinney: I would not be opposed to looking at this as a solution, however I would like to read any legislation closely before tackling this issue and making a final decision.
Should automated traffic cameras be banned?
Kinney: No. I believe they make our roadways safer. These cameras also help keep both officers and pedestrians safe in high traffic areas.