FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENTS & TAX FAIRNESS
Invest in our local small and medium businesses, not wealthy large corporations, because small and medium businesses in Iowa make up 50% of our state employment and 70% of our GDP.
End excessive tax breaks for large corporations that have the state giving more tax dollars back to companies than they are paying in.
Grow Iowa not by racing to the bottom on worker safety and corporate tax rates, but investing in Iowa families, in education, affordable childcare, and recreational amenities to build, draw, and retain the workforce employers want.
Fund State Governmental Services so our government can do more than just struggle to “get by” and actually function and serve Iowans well.
Stop tax “shell games” that shift the tax burden to the middle class and farmers.
Bring vocational training back to our high schools and expand partnerships with community colleges, and union apprenticeship programs.
Work to make community college affordable and accessible to all Iowans
Pre-Kindergarten because that is the highest return on investment we can make in a child’s future.
Rebuild our roads and bridges so rural residents have access to essential services (School Bus, Fire Trucks, Ambulance), and so farmers have ready access to fields and markets.
Expand internet access to help grow and support farms, families, and businesses.
Strengthen our healthcare system by expand mental health care services, supporting our rural hospitals and community level service providers.
Find solutions to improve water quality and secure long term funding for natural resource improvements.
Our Veterans and the sacrifices their families make along with them.
Keeping government out of our family health care decisions, because politicians should not be making these decisions for you.
2nd Amendment rights and responsible gun ownership.
Local government control, not just when it is convenient.
The right of labor to organize to secure a living wage to preserve and grow the middle class.
MY PERSONAL TIPPING POINT
The tipping point for my decision to run for public office came at the end of the 2017 legislative session. After 30 years, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, a small research group, had its modest 1.7 million dollar funding stripped away and was mandated to close. Governor Branstad used the line item veto to prevent the mandated close of the center, but left it with a whisper of its former operating funds.
To me, the Leopold Center is an integral part of my education and my very existence as a farmer. It helped by providing the seed money to start my graduate research. The center even helped support my graduate degree program in Sustainable Agriculture. In the formation of my farm business, the Center’s enterprise budgets were critical to farm planning. Perhaps most important of all, the Leopold Center funded the feasibility study that lead to the creation of the Iowa Food Cooperative, a 1,200 member household food cooperative that sells almost exclusively Iowa made and Iowa grown products. Sales through the Iowa Food Cooperative make up 50% of my farm business today.
The Leopold Center is a great investment in Iowa. It uses the funds it has to start things, to get projects and research focus areas past those initial steps that make progress hard. The Leopold Center helped start research into the feasibility of a food hub in Des Moines that led to the Iowa Food Cooperative. It helped start research into buffer strips and cover crops that are increasingly part of Iowa’s landscape. It helped start research into hoop structures for livestock barns and extended season vegetable production, and it started the research into food miles—how far food travels from farm to plate. It is hard to say what else might have been started because of the Center’s support, but I can say that stifling the Leopold Center only serves to stifle Iowa’s future. I want to see the Leopold Center have another 30 years of quietly creating opportunities for Iowans. I want my children to have the opportunities to benefit from the Center as I have. The Leopold Center is my tipping point; I can’t stand by and watch the center wither on the vine like a tomato left out after a freeze. The work of the Leopold Center is not done, 30 years is just the beginning. If you feel as I do, help me stand up and fight for groups like the Leopold Center, which cost Iowans so little and brought Iowans so much.