House District 86 in central Johnson County includes Iowa City, University Heights and Hills.
Name: Mary Mascher (incumbent)
Residence: Iowa City
Occupation: Retired teacher
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s from University of Iowa
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• We need to invest in our future workforce so students graduating from our community colleges and universities are able to meet the needs of our Iowa businesses. I would also provide adequate funding for our early childhood education programs and our K-12 public schools.
• Medicaid privatization has been a failure. We need to care for those who need the services by returning to our state run system.
• Iowans care about water quality. Raise the penny sales tax and invest in cleaning up our water.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
Yes, the minimum wage should be increased. At a minimum $10 per hour. At a maximum $15. Once we have decided on a minimum rate of pay we should include an escalator clause so the rate would increase with inflation rates. I would also allow local counties the ability to increase their own wages above the statewide minimum. We should be talking about a living wage so low-income Iowans can improve their quality of life. Currently over 40 percent of Iowans live in poverty. This needs to change.
Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
There are portions of the state income tax cuts I would repeal, but not all of them. Each of the provisions in that tax policy should be examined separately. Some of those cuts benefit low-income Iowans and I would want to protect them. The wealthy have gained the most from these tax cuts. Most Iowa wages have remained stagnant over the last 10 years and it is creating an enormous inequity in income for Iowans.
Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
No. This was a commitment made to our cities and counties, and the Legislature needs to fulfill its commitments to our local governments. Cities and counties are counting on those dollars to balance their budgets, and a reduction would result in a tax increase for local property tax payers. This is a trust issue, and we need to restore that local trust with our state Legislature.
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
No, I would not vote to ban them, but I would make sure they are being used appropriately. Government oversight is important, and transparency with the dollars generated is critical.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
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Yes, I would expand our current law. The cannabis THC levels need to be increased so patients are able to use the oils appropriately. Currently the law is extremely restrictive and makes it difficult for the patients and families who need the medication. I would also like to see more locations available for the manufacturing of medical cannabis in Iowa. I support decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.
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 do not support a state constitutional amendment to protect the right to bear arms or “constitutional carry” law. I would repeal the “stand your ground” laws that were recently passed in Iowa. These laws have been shown to be problematic in the courts and need to be eliminated. I support common sense gun safety laws that protect the citizens of the state. Additional state funding is needed to protect our public buildings and schools.
Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
I have supported local control legislation for many years and believe it should be a decision of local government officials to determine where these facilities are located. The master matrix is no longer working and needs to be updated.
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?
The funding for our public schools has been inadequate for the last 10 years. We need to renew our commitment to public education and invest in our children once again. I support extending the 1-cent SAVE sales tax for school infrastructure and believe it should be ongoing. Schools will always need to be updated and improved and districts need to be able to bond far into the future for these updates.
Would you expand or repeal Iowa’s law barring doctors from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected?
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Yes, the fetal heartbeat law is clearly unconstitutional and need to be repealed. I believe the Iowa Supreme Court will rule against the legislation and it will never become part of our law. We need to make sure women have access to quality health care throughout the state, and funding Planned Parenthood is one of the ways to accomplish this. I support funding for Planned Parenthood and other women’s health care providers.