House District 68 in Linn County includes Marion, Bertram and Ely.
Name: Randy Ray
Residence: Cedar Rapids
Occupation: Business owner and retired educator
Education: Master’s in secondary school administration
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
The most important issue is quality of life for Iowa families. This must be improved in three areas:
• Education: Funds need to benefit the classroom and excel student achievement.
• Aging: Iowa has a large aging population. We must ensure seniors have adequate housing and care with programs properly funded.
• Mental health and drugs: Mental health professionals and law enforcement partnered with legislation that will support closing the gap in care present in our system.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
Iowans deserve to be paid a fair wage. The market should be driven by growth and not regulation. I do not believe the government should dictate how a small business or any business supports their workers. I believe businesses have a corporate responsibility to be a competitive employer. Thus we should support a balanced unemployment rate to support supply and demand.
Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
Iowans deserve to keep and vote with their dollars to ensure growth in our economy. The tax bill passed last session provides much needed tax relief for Iowa families, small businesses and farms. The bill rewards businesses looking to grow and reinvest in their business, promoting economic growth in the state. The state will keep in mind, a majority of the cuts don’t happen unless the state budget reaches specific revenue growth targets, to balance safeguards with Iowa priorities.
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Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
I would like to review how the “backfill” would specifically impact our local governments since it was created in 2013 and commercial property tax collection has grown. If the backfill was designed to ease the burden on our local commercial property taxpayers, we need to make sure the local governments have been using it to do that, and not increasing assessments in conjunction with receiving the backfill from the state. I’m looking forward to learning more details about this topic.
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
I believe in protecting the rights and safety of the Iowa families. I do not believe that automated enforcement balances the protection of those rights with the needs to keep Iowans safe. The law enforcement of Iowa highways should keep Iowa’s safety first with common-sense means of regulation. The courts will need to clarify how to protect Iowans’ constitutional rights with new technologies.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
All medicine, natural or pharmaceutical, should be researched to ensure the benefits outweigh any risks. Iowa should continue to look at the benefits of cannabis medically through nonbenefiting research facilities and the medical communities. I do not believe any drug or medicine should be used for recreation.
Should Iowa amend the state Constitution to protect the right to bear arms beyond current language? Would you support a “constitutional carry” change to Iowa’s firearm permit system that would significantly expand gun rights?
I support the U.S. constitutional right to bear arms. I do believe in strict scrutiny and common sense regulation on constitutional carry. We must balance the right to bear arms with our support to treat mental illness and provide safety for Iowan families.
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Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
As a candidate, I support and I am endorsed by the Iowa Farm Bureau as a Friend of Agriculture. Farmers growing livestock is an essential part of Iowa’s economy. One in five jobs in the state are related to agriculture. It is important that all farmers in the state have a level playing field for the production of livestock, not county-by-county rules. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources already has adequate rules for the construction of livestock facilities.
What are your thoughts on increasing funding for public education? Would you vote to extend 1-cent SAVE sales tax for school infrastructure until 2049?
The SAVE penny tax should be extended to avoid property tax increases but should provide for more voter input on large projects. Iowa ranks high in the nation for teacher pay. We should continue supporting our teachers to get the best teachers for our students. Over 50 percent of Iowa’s budget is allocated to education, thus it is our duty is to make sure the money is getting filtered down to the classroom.
Would you expand or repeal Iowa’s law barring doctors from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected?
Human life is valuable and delicate. Medically, you are considered dead when your heart stops beating; conversely, life begins when the fetal heart starts to beat. Although I support families that are faced with the difficult decision regarding rape and other cases, I do not support ending life after a heartbeat is detected. I also support strict scrutiny when the government regulates/prohibits a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy.