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  • Writer's pictureSarah Smith

Combatting Struggles for Working Families

Over the past two years I have spent many hours listening to people of all ages and from all areas of this district. Many of the conversations revolved around supporting families, both those here now and those that we hope to attract in the future. Along with supporting strong public schools, I continue to hear the need to focus on childcare, paid sick leave, and prenatal & maternity care.

Poweshiek and Tama counties are labeled as areas of the state that are considered to be childcare deserts. We have a serious lack of affordable childcare centers and providers in rural Iowa. I am happy to see the amount of funding that the state is receiving from the federal government for childcare and I love the creativity I see in using those funds to support additional childcare options for Iowans. I will be an advocate working with local community centers and daycare providers to subsidize childcare, continue to grow the number of options in rural spaces, and increase wages for childcare employees.

I have also heard a good amount regarding the high number of jobs that do not offer paid sick leave. This was especially prevalent during the pandemic with the number of employees that needed to take sick days, either for themselves or to help a loved one, but could not as they were concerned about their job security. These issues have plagued the Iowa workforce for decades, but the pandemic forced them into the spotlight. The state of Iowa needs to be a place where we have good jobs, high wages, and a safe working environment for all employees.

Rural Iowa needs to continue to work together to keep prenatal and maternal care centers open at local hospitals. All too often we see rural hospitals closing maternal care centers. Many mothers need to travel over thirty minutes to find a provider and a hospital to deliver their child. I will champion affordable healthcare options for Poweshiek and Tama counties.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

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