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
Cedar Rapids Gazette
Candidate survey for people running in the Iowa legislature
Published Monday, Oct. 5, 2020
Pam Egli, Iowa Senate District 32
Residence: Waverly, Iowa
Occupation: Elementary Teacher
Education: BA Wartburg College '81; MA UNI '84; National Board Certified Teacher '99
The Gazette sent a questionnaire to Iowa Legislature candidates representing Linn, Johnson and surrounding counties. The responses are unedited, unless to correct spelling or punctuation. To see other candidates' responses, visit our Election 2020 Candidates page.
Pam Egli faces Republican Sen. Craig Johnson in the election for Iowa Senate District 32. Johnson did not respond to the questionnaire.
Q: What are the three biggest issues facing the state? How would you address them?
Three of the biggest issues for the people of District 32 are education, health care and mental health care services, and infrastructure. Our education systems are underfunded and that is causing Iowa to continue to fall behind other states. Iowa once led the nation in education, but that is not the current status. We need to help students access post-high school education through training in a trade or higher education without burdening them with excessive debt.
Another area of concern for Iowans is our access to affordable healthcare and mental health care services. Our rural medical facilities and EMS services need to be funded so living in rural Iowa is a safe place to reside with accessible medical services. Our mental health access and services need to be available when required. It is not acceptable that people are held in the ER or jails while waiting to receive mental health care necessary for survival.
Finally, the infrastructure in rural Iowa needs our immediate attention. This includes maintaining our roads and bridges as well as having access to fast, reliable broadband. we have seen, as a result of the pandemic, the importance of broadband to serve students, small businesses, farmers, and people who work remotely. Having access to broadband is no longer considered a luxury. It is a necessity.
Q: What, if anything, needs to change about the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic?
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides this guidance: “Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities." We also, know that keeping physical distance of at least 6 feet is important, as well as frequent hand washing. I agree these are the guidelines we should follow.
Q: What do you consider as budget priorities? What would you do to ensure these see funding? Which areas would you target funding reductions?
Funding priorities for Iowa need to be education, health care and mental health, our infrastructure, and the environment. The budget should be examined in a bipartisan manner setting priorities and working together in order to improve the lives of Iowans.
We need to examine how we fund schools. We know we have not done as well as other states, as Iowa has fallen from being number 1 in the nation. With education being a mechanism to bring young families to Iowa, we need to invest in our public education to make it a drawing card of our state.
Q: What should the state do to further address water quality issues? What, if anything, should the state do to increase funding for water quality improvements?
Iowa needs to focus on water quality in our state. We have worked to add watersheds in Iowa, but need to continue to encourage good conservation practices. Both rural and urban areas can work to improve water quality.
Q: What should the state do to address the availability of safe and affordable child care across Iowa?
Iowa lacks access to safe and affordable child care for working parents. We know there is a need for child care. Increasing reimbursement rates would help providers. When parents can not afford childcare and are forced to leave their place of employment, it is not just lost wages at that time, but it results in lost career opportunities. This is an area where Iowans can come together for solutions to this problem.
Q: What is your response to recent protests calling for racial justice? What changes to law enforcement policy or budgeting do you support?
Americans need to address the issue of racial injustice. However, I believe we need to invest in our law enforcement to better provide for their needs.
Q: Will you support a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for felons?
Q: Will you approve the governor’s IWILL tax relief/mental health plan?
No. As written, the bill is more of a tax shift, rather than increasing the revenue to support the environmental areas and mental health as intended from this bill. We need to support both environment and our mental health services.
Q: Will you seek voter approval of a constitutional amendment on abortion (SJR2001/HJR2004)?
Q: Will you support a ban hand-held electronic devices while driving (SF2248/HF2375)?
Q: Will you support allowing financial compensation for college athletes (SF2330/HF2282)?
Undecided. I understand that the college students bring revenue to the colleges, but I am unsure about taking the focus off of "student" and emphasizing "athlete".
Q: Will you support making daylight saving time permanent (SF2077/HF2059)?
Undecided. I need additional information and discussion as to how this benefits Iowans.
Q: Will you support allowing end-of-life options for patients with terminal conditions (SF2156/HF2302)?
Q: Will you support closing loopholes to protect mobile home occupants/tenants (HF2351/SF2238)?
Q: Will you support increasing the state minimum hourly wage from $7.25?
Yes. I believe through bipartisan discussion we could come up with a reasonable increase.
Q: Will you support raising the state tobacco tax by $1 to $2.36 per pack?
Q: Will you support modifying or repealing Iowa’s bottle bill law?
Q: Will you support requiring helmets for minors operating motorcycles/motorized bikes?
Q: Will you support eliminating criminal penalties for possessing marijuana?
Undecided. I would like to be involved in discussion on how this is currently affecting Iowans.
Q: Will you support establishing a moratorium on constructing large-scale animal feeding facilities?
Q: Will you support creating an “extreme risk” or “red flag” firearms protective order?
Undecided. I believe in common sense gun laws. My response would be determined on the wording of the bill.