Guest Columns
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Looking out for Iowans after the session

The 2018 legislative session wrapped up on May 5. I have been listening to folks in my district who are looking for real solutions to real problems. With a few exceptions, this year’s session fell short on those solutions, and Iowans are already feeling the consequences. more

'Get up and keep going' – Ed White kindergarteners share wisdom with Quad-Cities' Big Table talks

"Thank you for this great opportunity and inspiring many in our community to have their voice heard ..." more

School Board Recognition Month: Thank board members for their service

May is School Board Recognition Month and an opportunity for local schools and communities to honor more than 2,000 locally elected school board members for their dedication to children and schools. more

The NSP's interview with Barbara Bush

When my boss said he was about to offer me the opportunity of a lifetime, I was skeptical. After all, editors have been known to say such things to goad one into accepting assignments no one else wanted. more

Planning can prevent long-term crisis

Iowans deserve a tax system that is fair to everyone and increases prosperity, but many believe the system is rigged against them. It doesn’t help that Iowans had to wait too long for their state income tax refunds two years in a row, that the state budget is a mess and that legislative leaders are pushing conflicting tax proposals that would make things worse. more

Peggy Whitson speaks to legislators

This week on the hill the House passed HR 112, which recognized Dr. Peggy Whitson of Mount Ayr, Iowa, for her outstanding accomplishments as an astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. more

Senators take stand on Trump tariffs

Iowa farmers and businesses could be deeply affected by a trade war ignited by President Trump’s recent threats to impose tariffs on steel and other products from China. more

Tax relief work continues in Senate

Work continued this week on tax relief for Iowans and the state budget. Important progress was made in the effort to lower some of the highest tax rates in the country. Iowa has the fourth highest personal income tax in the country and the second highest corporate income tax in the country. These rates discourage work and investment, and make it more difficult for entrepreneurship and creativity to thrive. more

Guest column: Tax burden on Iowans reduced $1.3 billion

SAVE is the statewide penny sales tax that goes to schools for infrastructure. House File 2481 makes modifications to the uses of SAVE (Secure and Advanced Vision for Education) dollars, the distribution to the Property Tax Equity Relief (PTER) fund, and extends the sunset on the statewide penny that funds SAVE by 20 years. more

Peer recovery program offered locally

With all of the strides being made at the state level to improve the mental healthcare system in Iowa, this week I want to talk about a program that is picking up speed right here in District 97. Life Connections Peer Recovery Services is a non-profit organization that is working to improve the quality of life in both Clinton and Scott counties. more

Education adapts to prepare for future

The future of Iowa workers is the focus of the Future Ready Iowa legislation, a bipartisan action plan that was recently signed into law. more

Kidnapping bill will protect Iowans

I was honored to floor manage SF 2230, "Kidnapping in the Second Degree." This bill expands second degree kidnapping to include kidnapping of a person under the age of 18, if the kidnapper is not a parent or legal guardian with the sole purpose of assuming custody of the victim. more

Immigration law will keep communities safe

A bill to require Iowa law enforcement agencies enforce federal immigration laws awaits the governor’s signature after Senate File 481 passed this week in the House and Senate. It is the second time in nearly one year the Senate has passed this piece of legislation. more

Guest column: 'Farmers ... shouldn't be expected to bear the brunt of retaliation'

We need to protect U.S. intellectual property and American competitiveness. Foreign theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfers, discriminatory licensing restrictions and other unfair practices harm U.S. innovation and affect every sector of our economy, including agriculture. On my recent congressional delegation trip to China, I urged Chinese government officials to rein in unfair trade practices and policies, including the theft of U.S. intellectual property, which have adversely impacted American businesses. I’m concerned that my urging fell on deaf ears. more

Guest column: Trump needs to reconsider tariffs

Soybean farmers are perhaps the most vulnerable to Chinese retaliation as nearly one in every three rows of soybeans grown in the U.S. is exported to China – valued at $14 billion every year. Already, soybean prices have dropped dramatically since China’s promise to slap a 25-percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, among other commodities and goods. Although China has a growing appetite for American agricultural products, its plan to retaliate on soy, beef and pork will have a damaging effect on Iowa’s farmers and the state’s economy. more

'We are hopeful that the ... tariffs will be short-lived'

We are disappointed that China has placed an additional 25-percent tariff on U.S. pork exports. more

'We cannot lose this market'

Our state has enjoyed a long-standing and prosperous relationship with China. Iowa corn farmers have worked for decades to support fair and open trade practices because we understand that trade is a two-way street. Yet, we have operated in a tense trade policy environment with China for several years and have worked hard to diversify our customer base to create new demand for U.S. corn in all forms. more

'They are just as nervous as we are'

Iowa Soybean Association CEO Kirk Leeds isn’t surprised China included soybeans in its $50 billion retaliatory tariff action since it’s a major U.S. import. “Iowa soybean farmers understand there are legitimate issues needing resolution, particularly those involving intellectual property rights,” Leeds said. “We appreciate the importance of these matters and encourage additional dialogue between the two countries to resolve them. more

Tax and budget cuts are a formula for decline, not prosperity

The ideologues advocating for large state income tax cuts haven’t given up defending the Kansas experiment, despite overwhelming evidence that it forced drastic budget cuts while doing nothing to stimulate growth. Now they would have us believe that North Carolina provides an even better example of the benefits of the tax-slashing strategy. It doesn’t. more

New fee policy for parks and recreation areas

This week, we passed a bill regarding a new dynamic fee policy at state parks and recreational areas. Under the bill, Senate File 2389, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can establish a new fee policy for camping, the use of rental facilities, and other special privileges at state parks and recreational areas under the jurisdiction of the department. more
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