House District 70 is in western Linn County, including western Cedar Rapids.
Name: Tracy Ehlert
Residence: Cedar Rapids
Occupation: Early childhood education
Education: Associate degree, information systems management; bachelor’s, early childhood education; master’s, early childhood studies: teaching and diversity
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• Education: Early education, K-12, college and trade programs needs an increase in funding.
• Health care: I would do away Medicaid privatization and ensure all Iowan’s have access to affordable, accessible, quality health care and mental health services if needed.
• Workforce: To support the workforce, I would support union efforts to ensure that Iowa workers have safe working conditions, good wages, good benefits and a voice in their workplace.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
Iowa wages have not kept up with the rising costs for working families. For a family of three to stay above the poverty line, the minimum wage would need to be raised to $10.10. To afford a modest workplace apartment, a full-time Iowa worker would need to earn $15 an hour, double the current minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would help Iowa families and help the economy. I would fully support an increase of at least $10.10 per hour.
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Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
No, I would not expand them. Due to budget shortfalls, we cannot cut back the state budget any more than we have, at this point. We are already cutting back funding on vital programming for children and families — that’s not something we can afford to do at this time.
Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
In 2018, Cedar Rapids was to get $3.84 million in backfill, which is about 3.2 percent of the city’s $121 million budget. If those funds were phased out over a two-year period, Cedar Rapids would have to decrease some services or increase property taxes. Not receiving the backfill could affect our school districts. This could have a negative impact on our children. Iowa cannot afford to lose services. We need the property tax “backfill.”
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
If traffic cameras are being used for the safety of Iowans, they should be able to be used. If they are being used to profit, their purpose should be re-evaluated. I would support a bipartisan plan that would have put strict regulations on traffic camera placement and allowed for public input on where to put the cameras.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
While a step in the right direction, Iowa’s current medical cannabis law can be improved upon. I would support expanding the law to include more medical conditions and an increase in THC levels medical cannabis products can contain. I could support full legalization if Iowa decided to regulate and tax in a positive manner.
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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.
Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
I would support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities. I would favor a moratorium on CAFO construction.
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?
Increasing funding for public education is a must. I will support what helps public education and Iowa’s children.
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 most women even know they are pregnant. Individuals have the right to make their own decisions about their own body and health care. These decisions need to be made between individuals and their doctors.