Government

Rob Hogg, candidate for Iowa Senate District 33

Rob Hogg
Rob Hogg

Senate District 33 in Linn County includes the northeast, southeast and parts of the southwest quadrants of Cedar Rapids.

Name: Rob Hogg (incumbent)

Party: Democrat

Residence: Cedar Rapids

Age: 51

Occupation: Lawyer

Education: Bachelor’s in history, University of Iowa (1988); master’s in public affairs, University of Minnesota (1991); Juris Doctor, University of Minnesota (1995)

Website: robhogg.org

What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?

• Public safety: Crime is up in Iowa. I strongly oppose Republicans’ cuts to corrections, state troopers, substance abuse treatment, mental health institutes, Department of Human Services abuse investigators, and services for sexual assault survivors.

• Education/skilled workforce: We should reverse Republican cuts to community colleges and universities, and invest in education and training.

• Flood and disaster prevention: We need more hazard mitigation and comprehensive water management, as I proposed in SF2161.

Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?

Right now, Iowa’s minimum wage is lower than Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota. The Republican majority took away our local minimum wage increase (HF295). According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Iowa had the second lowest wage growth in the country in 2017. I propose raising it in steps to $10.75 per hour, and indexing it to inflation to take the politics out of it. This is important to reward work and reduce dependence, and should be part of a high-wage strategy.

Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?

The Republican tax bill (SF2417) was fiscally irresponsible. When they are already making budget cuts, it fails the Iowa common-sense test to cut taxes even more. SF2417 was heavily tilted in favor of wealthiest taxpayers, cutting income taxes for million-dollar incomes by $18,773 on average, but only $215 for people at $80,000 level and only $92 for people at $40,000. Working families and middle class also will have to pay more sales tax under the bill, wiping out any income tax cut for many.

Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?

I oppose legislation to end or phase out the backfill. The backfill was a promise made by the Legislature to minimize the impact to cities and counties from the commercial property tax cut bill in 2013. If the Legislature breaks that promise, it will result in higher residential property taxes or loss of local services, or both.

Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?

I oppose legislation to ban automatic traffic enforcement because I believe it can be a valuable tool to promote public safety. I have supported legislation that would require local governments to meet state standards for the use of automatic traffic enforcement devices.

Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?

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Patients who face debilitating health conditions should have the opportunity to use medical cannabis with the approval of a health professional. I have been persuaded by parents of children who have epilepsy and others who want this opportunity. I don’t currently favor legalization, but I do favor reducing criminal penalties and treating marijuana use as a public health issue. I strongly opposed Republicans’ $2.5 million cut to substance abuse treatment — a real health and safety problem.

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 the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I do not favor adding other language to our constitution that might invalidate Iowa’s current firearm regulations that promote public safety without interfering with the rights of hunters and other law-abiding gun owners.

Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?

I support greater local control for counties to protect water and prevent potential nuisances. I support updating the master matrix to include negative factors such as proximity to water sources to be scored, as I proposed in SF2161. I believe that updating the master matrix is a better and more achievable policy than a statewide moratorium. We must also restore the major cuts Republicans have made to the Department of Natural Resources, which conducts CAFO inspections.

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?

Republicans have shortchanged our public schools by providing only 1 percent and 1.1 percent funding, far less than current inflation. Other states are jumping ahead of us. Republicans also cut early childhood, community colleges and our universities. Actual university funding for Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa has been cut by more than $96 million since 2008 and is actually less than it was 20 years ago. I voted to extend SAVE in 2015 on bipartisan 37-13 vote, but since then Republicans failed to pass 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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I did not support SF359, the bill that effectively banned all abortions after six weeks. I do not believe it is the job of government officials to make a decision for a woman under the particular circumstances of her pregnancy. Rather than bans on abortion, I believe the Iowa Legislature should be working on legislation to support women, children and families such as prevention, child care assistance, paid family leave, support for adoption and access to affordable health care for all Iowans.

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