Government

Liz Bennett, candidate for Iowa House District 65

Liz Bennett
Liz Bennett

House District 65 in Linn County includes eastern Cedar Rapids.

Name: Liz Bennett (incumbent)

Party: Democrat

Residence: Cedar Rapids

Age: 36

Occupation: Internet sales and support

Education: Bachelor’s in politics and women’s studies, Cornell College

Website: lizbennett.com

What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?

• Education: Prioritize education funding from pre-K to college/trade school. This will give kids the best start and help families avoid excessive student debt.

• Water Quality: We to review the Master Matrix, along with supports to the nutrient reduction strategy and a local watershed focus.

• Health care: Too many Iowans work hard and still can’t afford a doctor. We should end Medicaid privatization, stop insurance companies from denying care for pre-existing conditions and ensure mental health care.

Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?

Yes: In the United States, no one who works full-time should live in poverty. Iowans are working hard! With only 2.9 percent unemployment (February 2018,) approximately 11.9 percent of Iowa kids still live in poverty. This is why we need to work toward a living wage. According to 2017 data commissioned by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier at MIT (livingwage.mit.edu), a basic living wage for one adult without kids in Iowa would be $10.53 per hr. We should establish a living wage statewide and index it to inflation.

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Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?

Yes, I would vote to roll them back. Our budget should reflect our values. Last year’s tax cuts benefited the very top income earners in the state at the expense of regular Iowans. During a time when we’re having trouble funding our schools, our water quality is suffering, and Iowans don’t have access to health care, we should stabilize our budget and fund priorities that reflect Iowa values.

Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?

In 2013, The state Legislature made a promise to local governments to provide a backfill to compensate for lost property taxes. I am very concerned that failing to honor this promise will result in increased property taxes for residents, many of whom are already struggling. This is especially concerning, as recent tax cuts have further starved our state budget, to the detriment of Iowans who need health care, mental health care and college at a reasonable cost.

Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?

Not necessarily, although I think they should only be used in situations where they serve a defined purpose for public safety. I do not agree with using them to generate revenue, or “policing for profit.”

Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?

Yes, I would vote to expand the current medical cannabis law to cover additional conditions for which medical cannabis has been show to benefit.

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Additionally, the state should review its overall policy regarding marijuana. I have publicly stated that a policy that ruins people’s lives allegedly to stop them from “ruining their lives” is asinine, and it does not improve public safety. We should study data from other states and consider changing our laws.

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?

In 2018, I voted to include the language of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in Iowa’s Constitution. Beyond that, Iowa’s current laws already provide a framework for citizens to protect themselves.

Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?

Counties should have local control: CAFOs significantly impact health, quality of life and property values around them. Locally elected officials who are accountable to residents should have decision making power regarding location of CAFOs.

I would potentially consider a moratorium: Our state’s water quality is highly compromised, and we haven’t enacted a plan to truly clean it up. We should not add to pollutants when we can’t handle what’s already going into the water.

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?

Iowa’s schools have been underfunded as far back as I can remember. This has led to out-of-date curriculum and large class sizes. Still, against the odds, Iowa’s public schools deliver some of the best education in the nation. This is a testament to the dedication of teachers and administrators who make sacrifices to give our kids a chance at success. We should appropriately fund schools, which in my view necessitates 4 percent to 6 percent State Supplemental Aid.

I would extend SAVE.

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Would you expand or repeal Iowa’s law barring doctors from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected?

No. The decision of whether to continue a pregnancy is the most private, personal decision a woman can make. It is highly inappropriate for the government to interfere.

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