Guest Opinion- Legislative Leadership is Needed
Published Thursday, June 25, 2020
Since announcing my candidacy for the Iowa State Senate, I made it my mission to talk to as many voters in Iowa Senate District 32 as possible.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Iowa, we went town to town, holding meet and greets to hear the issues impacting Iowans. Time and again we heard many of the same issues: the need for better-paying jobs, more affordable healthcare, and an investment in rural broadband. After that, we moved to virtual meetings but kept listening. It is my deep belief that Iowans deserve representatives willing to listen, and then act.
That is why I was so deeply disappointed with our current representation in the Iowa Senate. At a time when too many Iowans are struggling to make ends meet, our current state senator Craig Johnson returned to Des Moines after an 11-week delay and instead of championing legislation to help Iowans, he played an integral role in restricting access to voting for all Iowans.
In the face of COVID-19, the Iowa Secretary of State, county auditors, and both political parties encouraged early voting for the June 3rd primaries to ensure the safety of Iowa voters and poll workers. This was a tremendous success as a record-breaking 520,000 Iowans voted in the primary. Unfortunately, this success does not have a happy ending.
Upon his return to the Iowa Senate, Senator Craig Johnson served as temporary chair of the State Government Committee and made rulings that ensured the overhaul of a one-page bill about county seals, adding a 30-page amendment. The amendment, having nothing to do with the original bill, targeted many of the vote-by-mail practices that led to a historically large turnout in the primary election. At a time when voting by mail is the safest option for many Iowans susceptible to COVID-19, Senator Johnson chose his partisan agenda over the health and safety of Iowans.
Since the Legislature was suspended in March and until it re-opened in early June, we have dealt with a global pandemic that cost us the lives of hundreds of Iowans, an economic downturn that impacted all Iowans financially, and record-breaking turnout for a primary election. It is a shame that Senator Johnson was more focused on restricting their right to vote safely instead of helping Iowans get back on their feet during a pandemic.
Iowa Senate District 32 Democratic Candidate
Guest Opinion- Our Community Responsibility to Our Neighbors with Disabilities
Published Thursday, July 23, 2020
As a candidate for the Iowa Senate in district 32, I recognize and value the importance of listening to the people I hope to represent in the state legislature. I recently had the chance to talk with Jenn Wolff, who is an occupational therapist and has worked in both the medical community and the general public. In particular, she works to help people with disabilities and has lived with a disability herself for 17 years. Jenn works tirelessly to help others through direct service and unwavering advocacy for the community of people with disabilities here in Northeast Iowa, and it was an important opportunity for me to hear her experiences.
As I learned from talking with Jenn, it is the goal of many people with disabilities and their families to maintain an independent lifestyle in their own homes, but a lot of families are finding it to be increasingly difficult to find support staff to make this possible. Caregivers for many of our community members who live with disabilities are often over-worked because the agencies for which they work are under-staffed. These caregivers, on whom many of us rely, are assisting those with disabilities by helping them to get ready in the morning, getting to work and completing tasks inside and outside of the home. Because support staff is overworked and underpaid, our community members with disabilities are often left to fend for themselves without the assistance they need. It is our job as community members to support and value our neighbors with disabilities by advocating for the entire community and its caregivers.
When assistance falls short, people with disabilities often have to move into nursing and dependent-care facilities. When we as a community respond this way, we all lose. It diminishes the value that our neighbors with disabilities bring to our communities and we all miss their valuable contributions. By supporting our caretakers with higher pay and better work conditions, we can ensure that our community members with disabilities are best able to live, work, and participate fully as our neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Together, we can do more to enrich our communities by supporting our neighbors with disabilities and the workers who care for them.
Iowa Senate District 32 Democratic Candidate