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Kim Reynolds is tangled in contradictions and fabrications

Kim Reynolds is tangled in contradictions and fabrications
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, back right, a Republican, takes her turn speaking after her Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear, back left, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, for a debate on Iowa PBS studios in Johnston, Iowa. (Margaret Kispert/The Des Moines Register via AP)

On Monday morning, we learned the Iowa’s governor’s race is pretty much over. The Des Moines Register/Medicom Iowa Poll showed us Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has a 17-point lead over Democrat Deidre DeJear.

Well, I guess that’s it. And voting hadn’t even started.

But then, on Monday evening, we saw a debate between Reynolds and DeJear. And the hourlong event, the only one Reynolds agreed to participate in, showed us why this race really shouldn’t be over, regardless of what the polls tells us.

Reynolds was reduced to a tangle of contradictions and fabrications by DeJear, who still is little known to most Iowans, according to the Iowa Poll.

The governor bragged about the state’s $1.9 billion budget surplus, which Republicans are using to cover the cost of massive tax cuts. And yet she declared DeJear’s plan to provide 30 hours of preschool for three and four-year olds unaffordable. Makes sense.

Reynolds praised Statehouse Republicans who restructured mental health funding in Iowa and created a children’s mental health system. Swell, but the system remains woefully underfunded and inadequate to meet the needs of Iowans. Switching funding from counties to state dollars was basically a property tax cut, not an expansion in access to care.

Providing student loan relief to 450,000 Iowans is “not right or fair,” Reynolds said. Using public dollars to provide scholarships for private school students, taking $78 million from public schools, is sound policy and will improve Iowa’s education system. She didn’t say how.

Reynolds claimed that debt relief does nothing to address the rising cost of higher education. But she contributes to that cost when she and Republican lawmakers provide inadequate funding for state universities, leading to tuition increases.

At the debate: “it’s critical that we have a strong public school system.”

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At the Republican convention in June: “Drag shows for young kids, pornographic books in school libraries, elementary school lessons on pronouns. And, sadly, the list goes on,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said she worried about the mental health of students during the pandemic. Ask transgender kids she’s now targeting how their mental health is faring.

“We see soaring inflation,” Reynolds said during the debate. And yet, Reynolds and Republicans approved a paltry 2.5 percent increase in public school aid.

The governor proclaimed she declared mask freedom in Iowa during the pandemic. Now she wants to ban abortion at six weeks, making childbirth essentially mandatory.

When DeJear argued for a return to the parameters of legal abortion under Roe v. Wade, and that politicians should stay out of decisions being made by women and their doctors, Reynolds accused her of favoring abortion up until birth, or even after. It’s a lie designed to obscure the truly extreme position in this debate, namely Reynolds’ six-week ban.

DeJear told the story of a third-grader three months pregnant whose options would be limited or eliminated under the six week ban. Reynolds’ response to this heartbreaking story? “So it’s late term abortion,” Reynolds snapped at DeJear.

Reynolds also couldn’t summon a teaspoon of empathy after DeJear talked about how her mother died just days after her little sister was born, illustrating the need for children’s mental health care.

And an Iowa governor actually told us we should have a school system more like Florida. Foundation in education, no more. This is unknown territory. Get to know Deidre DeJear.

(319) 398-8262: todd.dorman@thegazette.com