House District 66 includes northeast Cedar Rapids.
Name: Art Staed (incumbent)
Residence: Cedar Rapids
Occupation: Legislator/retired educator
Education: Master’s in secondary education and master’s in secondary administration
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• Make public education our top priority. Better manage the state budget and provide adequate resources for our schools. This includes preschool, K-12, community colleges and our state universities.
• Fix our broken health care system and our mental health care. Many Iowans are denied the care they need. Stop insurers from denying care to Iowans with pre-existing conditions.
• End Medicaid privatization and return to a more efficient and compassionate state-run system.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
Yes. The minimum wage has not been raised since 2007, when it went to $7.25 and hour. Just for a family of three to stay above the poverty level, the minimum wage would need to be $10.10 per hour. Seventy-seven percent of workers benefiting from a wage increase are over 20 years old and 58 percent are women. According to the Department of Labor, the 13 states that raised minimum wage have experienced faster job growth than states that did not.
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Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
I will work to target tax cuts and credits to those who need them and can show that the purpose of the credit is being met. Instead of hundreds of millions in giveaways going to special interests and out-of-state corporations, we should focus on child care, small and Main Street businesses, and homeowners. Rescinding bad tax policy can restore our budget stability. Taxes must be fair and equitable. And we must be accountable for every dollar, whether a credit or an expenditure.
Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
I would not vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill.” Reneging on the Legislature’s promise to “backfill” would create another unfunded mandate on local governments, shifting the cost of critical services to local governments and causing local property taxes to increase. The property tax burden would essentially be shifted from commercial and industrial property to local homeowners and farmers.
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
Traffic enforcement devices, like automated traffic cameras, are law enforcement tools, and are justified when they offer solutions that improve safety. Nevertheless, they should be uniformly regulated. I support a bipartisan plan that would put regulations on traffic camera placement, due process and appeals, and which includes local public input on the use of the funds generated.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
Our current medical cannabis law is not working. I support expanding the law to allow cannabis oil for those who suffer debilitating illnesses like terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy by adding to the list of eligible diseases and by raising the THC level, making the medication effective. Legalizing marijuana is something I would consider in Iowa’s future but not until reviewing the outcomes in other states where it is currently legal and studying credible research from medical professionals.
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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 would support adding the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to the Iowa Constitution, although it is unnecessary. I oppose language adding “strict scrutiny” requirements, which I believe would jeopardize current Iowa laws that require sensible measures like background checks and gun safety courses. I also would not support “open carry,” or “constitutional carry.” We can balance Second Amendment rights with safe measures that keep guns out of the wrong hands and reduce gun violence.
Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
The Iowa Legislature has not adopted any significant changes to Iowa’s livestock confinement regulations since 2002. I support a review of the siting Master Matrix and permitting process. Oversight by counties and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are critical to protecting Iowans and the environment and must have a clear role in deciding CAFO locations and regulations. I support a moratorium on new large operations until a study of the ongoing problems and impacts is concluded and remedies identified.
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?
Public school funding must be at a level insuring progress and improvement in our schools, keeping up with inflation. Adequate funding for our K-12, community colleges and universities is critical. Recently, public education has been underfunded and cuts made to higher education, resulting in larger classes, elimination of courses and increases in tuition and fees. The SAVE fund has ensured that our schools are maintained and extending it is essential to protecting our children’s learning environment.
Would you expand or repeal Iowa’s law barring doctors from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected?
Iowa’s new law is unconstitutional and bans abortion before many women would even know they are pregnant. It negates the critical, personal and private decisions that should be made by women in consultation with their doctors and their families. These decisions, including those involving medical emergencies, should be made without government intrusion. Legislators are not the experts on pregnancy and childbirth and should not be dictating these decisions.