Name: Gary Siegwarth
Party: Clear Water Party of Iowa
Occupation: natural resource biologist/fisheries biologist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Education: Bachelor’s, fish and wildlife biology, Iowa State; master’s, University of Arkansas
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• Overcoming political party divisiveness.
• Breaking big money and special interest influence of our political system. My campaign has no special interest or political party money.
• Putting our natural resources onto an even playing field with the other issues. I’m tired of the best interests of our air, land and water getting pushed to the bottom of the political agenda. In one way or another natural resources are important to the people in Iowa. Our air, land, water, soil, forests, prairies, rivers and parks. The solution to this and all issues begins with awareness and education from the top.
There are more on solutions on my website.
What steps are needed to improve Iowa’s economy and create a stronger workforce? Would any of these steps focus on helping rural economies?
The long-term solution and stability of Iowa’s economy starts with the rural landscape. It continues with functional families, supportive communities and creative education. Diverse agriculture, a thriving rural landscape and strong communities are the backbone of our workforce and work ethic pipeline. We follow that up by investing in a strong education system that includes training and opportunities needed to create a diverse workforce, while evolving our education system along the way.
What should the future of Medicaid look like in Iowa?
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Most state programs are not run as efficiently as they could be. Let’s do a simple tune up and fix that part of the problem. Privately run programs can be more efficient, but people’s health shouldn’t be a matter of someone’s bottom line profit, especially when it’s a taxpayer-funded program. Another option is a state-private hybrid. It would have to include enough “efficiently run” state oversight and a “limited-profit” private entity that can come together to make a better run program.
What would you propose as governor to control the rising costs of health premiums and health care?
Iowa has amazing health care. Not everyone can afford “Cadillac” health care, but we can provide basic affordable health. Costs can be lowered if we consulted with the right people, used holistic treatments, integrated healthy foods and lifestyle coaching, and a triage emergency room process. Bottom line is we need passionate professionals to help lower costs. We also need to get the pharmaceutical lobby out of our political system if we ever hope to bring those costs down.
What is your stance on providing tax credits and other incentives to companies to bring and keep their businesses in Iowa?
We need to stop giving millions in tax credits to large corporations that don’t need it. They come to Iowa because of our work ethic and quality workers here in Iowa. What we need to do is invest those tax credits in our small businesses, entrepreneurs, and diverse rural agriculture. It’s like trees in a forest, do we want to keep investing in the large mature trees or the amazing diversity of the forest floor that would explode with growth if we just let a little light down.
How will you approach funding for education as governor?
We need to fund our public education system because if done right, it pays more back in the end. We need to invest in innovative education and continually change our approach. Just like other public run programs, let’s give it an annual tuneup to make sure it is running as efficiently as possible. We also need to better support our teachers You don’t do that by taking away their voice and bargaining rights. We need to give that back to them or most of the good ones won’t stay.
Would you support increasing the state minimum wage, or do you propose other methods to help Iowans with lower incomes? If you do support an increase, to what level and why?
I support fair wages that workers in this state need to make a living. Our workers are the backbone of Iowa whether you’re a doctor or serving burgers. We should support them. Across the board minimum wage might be an option, but is that the best solution? There are other aspects of compensation, on the job training, insurance benefits and many other things that should be considered as part of that compensation. If we increase minimum wage it can’t be done in a one-size-fits-all legislation.
Does Iowa need to do more to improve water quality? If so, how?
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Water quality is one of the most important issues in Iowa because water is the ultimate barometer to the health and function of the Iowa landscape. There are short and long-term solutions to water quality. The same factors that will improve water quality also will reduce flooding, improve wildlife habitat, improve soil health, improve the bottom line profit of producers, diversify agriculture, improve our health and well-being, and bring more young people back to the land. they’re all connected.
Do you think changes are needed in Iowa’s tax code? What would you propose?
I need more information on this topic, but in general we can reduce taxes if we just give our state programs an annual tuneup and stop giving so much tax burden to the middle class and quit giving large corporations so many tax breaks.
What makes you the best choice to lead Iowa?
There has never been an independent governor in the history of Iowa. As a natural resource biologist, I have a different perspective, creative ideas, and a passion for our land, water, and common people of Iowa. I know the land and people of Iowa from the top of every watershed to the mouth of every river. Please take a serious look at the things I’ve been talking about on my website. We can’t just keep electing the same broken system. It’s time for a breath of fresh new perspectives.