House District 75 covers Benton County and part of Northern Iowa County.
Name: Thomas Gerhold
Occupation: Research associate
Education: Kirkwood Community College, University of Iowa
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• Farm economy: I’d work to increase markets and decrease needless red tape.
• Taxes: We need to continue to look for ways for Iowans to grow incomes and keep more of their hard-earned money by lessening the burden of taxes.
• Health care/mental health/Medicaid: I would get ideas from people who deal with these daily for ways to improve these problems. Example: in mental health, the Bureau of Justice Statistics states almost two-thirds of inmates have a mental health problem.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
No. A National Bureau of Economic Research study of the minimum wage hikes in Seattle found that when the minimum wage increased from $11 to $13, it reduced the number of hours between 6 percent and 7 percent. Another study by the bureau reviewed 90 papers from the early 1990s to 2007 and concluded that two-thirds of these papers said the results of the minimum wage were negative.
Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
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I won’t support rolling back the state income tax cuts. The hardworking Iowa people have the inherent right to keep more of their earned money. Iowa ranks 21st in state and local taxes collected, according to taxfoundation.org, so there’s room for improvement for more savings. I’m open to expanding tax cuts. It’s a fact that tax cuts lead to economic growth, which ultimately generates more tax revenue.
Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
The property tax “backfill” appears to be somewhat of a dilemma, as the state is picking up the tab for some local government spending. I would need more information and constituent input to make an informed decision.
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
I don’t condone speeding and running red lights whatsoever, but the cameras too often penalize the vehicle owner and not the person driving. The cameras give the impression it’s just a money grab. There are studies for red light cameras for example stating they cause more accidents than preventing, as documented by IowaWatch.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
The Iowa Legislature has doctors advise what conditions benefit from medical cannabis. If the doctors determine a new medical condition would benefit, I would be open to it.
No to legalizing marijuana. Colorado is a prime example: almost 50 percent increase in pot-related traffic deaths and emergency room visits, 20 percent of all traffic deaths were pot-related compared to 10 percent in 2006. Pot-related hospitalizations up 32 percent, and calls to the poison center up 100 percent. Pre-18 year olds who smoke pot lost up to 8 IQ points.
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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?
Yes to both. I support “constitutional carry.” There are at least 15 states that have some form of “constitutional carry” law, and the crime rates have not increased as a result of this law in these states.
Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
No, I don’t think we should have the potential of up to 99 different sets of rules and regulations for livestock facilities in Iowa. No on the moratorium.
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?
Funding for public education has increased every year since at least 2000 according to a fiscal analysis by the Legislature. In 2008, the 1-cent SAVE sales tax was extended to year 2029, so the citizens of District 75 or the state should be able to vote whether or not they want their taxes raised for an additional 20 years.
Would you expand or repeal Iowa’s law barring doctors from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected?
Every unborn human life should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. How is that possible if the unborn’s life is ended on a whim or is declared inconvenient? I am pro-life and will not vote to repeal the fetal heartbeat law.