• Sarah Smith

Letter to the Editor: My Response to the Republican Primary

With the results of the 2022 Iowa Primaries in, I congratulate Dean Fisher on his success and I thank Dave Maxwell for his common sense leadership over the past decade. Now that I know who I’m running against, I want to present how I distinguish myself from him. My platform emphasizes the protection of human dignity, whether we are addressing issues of bodily autonomy, accessibility of basic services like education and healthcare, hunter’s rights, or livable wages and working conditions for all Iowans. Furthermore, I will defend Iowans against public health risks like gun violence, identity theft, economic instability, climate change, and infrastructural decay. Specifically, I have five groups of issues I wish to target: supporting Iowa’s working families, economic development and land stewardship, rural education, gun ownership, and women’s healthcare.

To support Iowan households and families, I aim to introduce legislation to target wage stagnation, insufficient workplace benefits, unemployment, and inadequate medical leave policy. When jobs are available, pay is often incapable of covering the expenses of working families. If pay is satisfactory, then other issues come into play, like the health insurance plan offered upon employment. Moreover, a leave of absence from work for the birth or adoption of a child or for medical emergencies is often not enough time to properly deal with the situation. If time is granted it is frequently unpaid, forcing working families back to the workforce before they are medically ready to return. All of these concerns of working Iowans will be addressed when I am elected to the House of Representatives.

The economic and property issues plaguing rural Iowa are also deeply troubling. When in office, I will take steps to jumpstart initiatives permitting landowners to repurpose their less fertile land for other uses. I will also object to any efforts to use eminent domain to take the property and land of hardworking Iowans for selfish corporate interests. Finally, I will oppose any efforts for any party seeking to destroy or pollute Iowa’s air, water or soil. Iowa’s economy is built around rural agriculture; without protecting the natural resources necessary for those industries, Iowans will suffer.

Rural Iowa also suffers from a lack of investment in our educational system over the past several years which keeps compiling, leaving many schools needing to make cuts to their budgets. When in office, I aim to support our children and our families by proposing budget plans allocating money to properly fund rural K-12 education. The gap between funding for urban and rural parts of the state creates an unequal, unjust playing field for our children. Without addressing this disparity, rural issues will continue to fester. Additionally, I will support efforts to help our middle and working class Iowans put their young children into daycare facilities. The price for childcare has become exorbitant despite research showing that the earliest years of a child’s development are the most important. Furthermore, there is an ongoing shortage of licensed facilities which has created childcare deserts in Tama and Poweshiek counties. Working class Iowans and their children are thus at a stark disadvantage. In office, I will level the playing field for our children and ensure our schools and childcare facilities have the funding and resources to give our children the best futures possible.

On a more heartbreaking note, the levels of gun violence this nation faces is unparalleled. To try and combat this concern, I aim to give Iowans what they want: universal, mandatory background checks for individuals seeking to own a gun. This has been a very popular policy for years, but nothing has been done to actualize it. I hope to change that. Our state must ensure that nobody seeking to do harm to others or themselves will be able to carry out their plans.

Finally, I aim to address the healthcare gaps Iowans face. Whether it is topics of sex education, contraception, or abortion, too many issues surrounding the health and well-being of women have been made taboo. All Iowans should be able to know how to look for easily preventable cancers, illnesses, and STIs that can be taught through a basic sex education courses. Information about anatomy and health abnormalities is life-saving information that is denied to too many Iowans. Additionally, having accurate, readily-available information to all Iowans that want or need contraception to practice safe sex, treat menstrual disorders, and prevent certain cancers will help keep Iowans in good physical and emotional health. Finally, ensuring that women have access to life-saving medical care by way of upholding the state’s Constitutional right to abortion will be protected in my term in office. The difficult decision to end a pregnancy, remove miscarried fetuses, stop ectopic pregnancies from continuing, and grant human beings the rights to their own bodies in situations where such autonomy was violated is not a choice that can or should be decided by a politician. Iowa is home to all different types of people, and I promise to ensure all people have the right to live safely and happily in our state.

The wellbeing of Iowans is my top concern, and my only goal if I have the privilege of being elected will be to serve my constituents. I wish to provide for Iowans to the best of my ability, and I ask you to help me fulfill that goal. Please visit my website for any additional information you would like, and feel free to reach out. I wish my opponent the best, and I hope to earn your vote this November.