House District 67 in Linn County includes Hiawatha, Robins and parts of Marion and Cedar Rapids.
Name: Ashley Hinson (incumbent)
Education: Bachelor’s in journalism, University of Southern California
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• As a mom to school age children, I know how important it is to support schools. We need to make sure local boards can make decisions that make sense for students.
• I’ve heard from employers; they need skilled workers.
• Health care affects every Iowan. I’ve met with mental health leaders, and worked to address the levy issues creating imbalance.
It comes down to doing the ground work to learn more, and taking that feedback directly to the Capitol. This is something I have done and continue to do.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
I do think it is time to have a discussion about the minimum wage. In my conversations with dozens of employers, the biggest challenge I’ve heard is what is considered a reasonable increase. Jumping to a $15-per-hour minimum wage just isn’t realistic. It would be irresponsible to just pick a number out of the air. Our conversation needs to include a realm of differing players, so we can ensure we don’t negatively affect abilities to provide jobs to Iowans who want to work, or to grow and expand.
Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
I voted in support of the common-sense tax reform package. It’s responsible, with built-in safeguards to make sure we are still able to fund necessary priorities and provide that relief to Iowans. Ninety-three percent of middle-class Iowans are winners. As far as expansion, I believe we need to continue our conversations with people and small-business owners to ensure tax policy in Iowa is indeed competitive and works for them. This should be happening all of the time, not just when we make needed changes.
Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
I received the League of Cities “Legislative Service Award” this year for my willingness to work with my local communities on this issue, among others. Linn County is lucky to have seen good growth in commercial/industrial property tax base. Not every county or community has seen that. This is my biggest concern as we look to address this large amount that the state is sending back to local governments. I have worked to develop good relationships with city and county officials in District 67.
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
I managed the regulatory framework legislation for cameras. The bill would require: a demonstrated safety need, approval from the state, regular calibration, clear signage, an officer to review each citation and an appeal process with an impartial body and ability to appeal to small claims. I am not opposed to a ban but want to make sure we had regulatory framework in place first. If it becomes apparent the cameras aren’t feasible within regulatory guidelines, then I would support a ban.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
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I supported bipartisan expansion of medical cannabis laws. We created a cannabidiol board to recommend what diseases cannabis should be used to treat and what level of THC should be used. They’d make suggestions to the Board of Medicine for final approval/denial. I think this process guarantees we don’t go too far too fast with the program. I look forward to hearing recommendations from the board, so we can make sure we continue with a program that helps sick Iowans get treatment they need.
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 adding an amendment to the constitution to protect our right. Unlike our federal Constitution, right now, there is no current language in the Iowa Constitution protecting the right to bear arms. Iowans deserve to be able to protect themselves and their families, as well as legally hunt. I am proud to have a record of voting to support Iowans’ Second Amendment Rights.
Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
I support Iowa’s farmers. I’ve looked into Iowa’s permitting and livestock laws, and believe there are significant steps and standards that must be met in order to move forward with an operation. If they meet these standards, I believe they should be able to pursue doing business in the state of Iowa.
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?
I voted to extend the 1-cent SAVE sales tax to 2049. As your state representative, I worked closely with local school officials and boards to make sure we can still give them the tools they need for infrastructure projects, but also added accountability and more ways for you to engage with school boards proposing projects with those tax dollars. This policy passed the Iowa House 95-3, and I was proud to support it.
Would you expand or repeal Iowa’s law barring doctors from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected?
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There is already an injunction on the law, put into place by the Iowa Supreme Court. Before we consider taking any action, I’d like to see what the court decision is. I continue to support making sure women have access to necessary women’s health care services.