House District 67 in Linn County includes Hiawatha, Robins and parts of Marion and Cedar Rapids.
Name: Eric Gjerde
Residence: Cedar Rapids
Occupation: High school special education teacher
Education: Education doctorate in educational policy and leadership
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• Make Iowa’s public schools our top priority again. We must be sure all of Iowa’s children can meet the needs of our economy, which starts with a strong education system including pre-K, K-12, community colleges and our universities.
• Fix Iowa’s broken health care system. We must end Medicaid privatization and stop insurance companies from denying care to Iowans with pre-existing conditions.
• Grow Iowa’s skilled workforce. We need to help Iowans upgrade their skills to acquire good paying jobs.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
The stagnation of Iowa’s minimum wage has led to difficulties for Iowa families. Our minimum wage of $7.25 per hour does not allow an Iowan with a child to live above the poverty line. Today, more than 40 percent of Iowa’s students are eligible for free or reduced lunch in school — up dramatically from just 10 years ago. If elected, I look forward to working in Des Moines in conjunction with my constituents to set a minimum wage for Iowa that will treat all hardworking Iowans with dignity.
Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
If elected to the Iowa Legislature, I will work hard to target tax cuts to the Iowans who need it the most. Rather than giving billions of dollars in giveaways to special interests and out-of-state corporations, we should be targeting tax cuts to the working class by focusing on tax cuts for child care, small-business owners and homeowners. Rather than helping the top 1 percent, we must work hard to ensure all Iowans who are working hard get access to tax relief.
Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
The state of Iowa should keep the promise it made to Iowans. By ending or phasing out the property tax “backfill” for local governments it would shift the burden from commercial property to homeowners. Our property taxes are high in House District 67, and if the state were to end the “backfill,” homeowners’ property taxes would go up. Ending the “backfill” would also have negative impacts on local governments and school districts.
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
I support a bipartisan plan that would have put strict regulations on traffic camera placement and allowed public input on where to put the cameras. If the cameras are in place and the purpose is public safety such as identifying a vehicle during an Amber Alert, they should remain, but if the sole purpose is to allow local governments to raise money, we need to reevaluate their existence.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
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Iowa’s current medical cannabis law is not working for our citizens who suffer from debilitating illnesses like terminal cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. I would support expanding the law to allow for production of non-intoxicating cannabis oil and would leave medical professionals in consultation with their patients in charge of making health care and prescription decisions. A politician in Des Moines can and should not determine an individual’s health care decisions.
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 United States Constitution to the Iowa Constitution.
Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
If elected, I would support giving counties local control to regulate 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?
A strong and adequately funded public school system from preschool through our community colleges and Regent institutions will help us develop a workforce that will be able to participate in a global economy right here in our state. The SAVE fund has been critical in ensuring our school structures are maintained and extending access to this fund source will protect our students to be certain they are getting a 21st century education.
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 abortions before most women know they are pregnant. This law affects an important and private decision that a woman should be able to make in consultation with their health care provider and their family. I honor and respect the women of Iowa and want to be certain they can make their own health care decisions without the intrusion of politicians.