Name: Kim Reynolds (incumbent)
Occupation: Governor of Iowa
Education: Iowa State University
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• Education: Since 2011, $765 million in new money has been invested in K-12 education. Only three other states have invested in education at a faster rate than Iowa. We’ve also earned a global reputation for our STEM initiative.
• Health care: The Legislature unanimously passed my mental health care reform bill. I also signed an executive order to create the first of its kind Children’s Mental Health Board. Now, we’re able to provide more compassionate and accessible mental health care to Iowans of all ages.
• Taxes: Every dollar counts. That’s why I signed into law the most comprehensive state tax reform in Iowa history. Most importantly, we did this while maintaining our top priorities.
What steps are needed to improve Iowa’s economy and create a stronger workforce? Would any of these steps focus on helping rural economies?
I want every single corner of the state to be successful. We’re unleashing opportunities for Iowans to get training and prepare for rewarding careers no matter where you live. Our employers hire these skilled workers and grow, making our communities even more prosperous. I want our young people to see the opportunities available to them in Iowa and make our state the home where they live, work and raise families.
What should the future of Medicaid look like in Iowa?
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I am focused on is the ability to look parents in the eyes and assure them that there will be a sustainable Medicaid program in place that will be able to take care of their loved ones today, tomorrow and years from now. That wasn’t the case with the old Medicaid system. It was not sustainable. 39 other states have done the same thing.
What would you propose as governor to control the rising costs of health premiums and health care?
I signed bipartisan legislation into law to provide farmers, small business owners, and hardworking Iowans with affordable health care options. My opponent’s own running mate voted for the legislation. The fact is Obamacare has failed Iowa and Washington needs to get something done, but we had to take action.
What is your stance on providing tax credits and other incentives to companies to bring and keep their businesses in Iowa?
Tax credits, when used correctly, help create jobs for Iowans and bring in billions of dollars of private investment into the State. They help Iowa companies like John Deere, Rockwell Collins, and small businesses hire and invest in our state. But tax credits can also be abused, and that’s why we want to review each credit to make sure that Iowa taxpayers getting a good deal.
How will you approach funding for education as governor?
Since 2011, $765 million in new money has been invested in K-12 education. Only three other states have invested in education at a faster rate than Iowa. But we have to make sure we are not measuring the quality of education by the sheer amount of dollars that we put into it. If we are not preparing our young people for the future, then we are failing. I want people to know, as a mom and as a grandma, and as a mom of a teacher, I know that there is no greater asset than our young people.
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?
We are creating opportunities that pay more than the minimum wage. That’s why I’ve created the Future Ready Iowa Initiative, to build Iowa’s talent pipeline by connecting Iowans with the good-paying jobs that are right here in our state. Careers of today and the future require advanced knowledge and technical skills. The goal of Future Ready Iowa is for 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. This will allow Iowans to find a career right here at home.
Does Iowa need to do more to improve water quality? If so, how?
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Improving water quality is a shared goal of Iowans. The $282 million water quality bill was the first piece of legislation I signed, but that doesn’t mean the discussion is over. Rather, it continues the conversation to implement and scale best practices with a long term dedicated and growing revenue source that will continue to improve water quality.
Do you think changes are needed in Iowa’s tax code? What would you propose?
I know that every dollar counts. That’s why I signed into law the most comprehensive state tax reform in Iowa history. Iowans are seeing more money in their paychecks for groceries, gas and other necessities.
What makes you the best choice to lead Iowa?
I understand the issues everyday Iowans face because I have faced them myself. U.S. News and World Report named Iowa the No. 1 state in country, a ranking that reflects our people, our work ethic, and our values. With your vote in November, we can continue focusing on jobs, education, health care and public safety.