Iowa Democrats rolled out a four-part plan this week called “Putting Iowans First,” outlining what they want for the future of the state. Democrats hope to focus on what Iowans have said are their biggest concerns.
The plan to improve “lives for everyday Iowans” includes bringing higher-paying jobs to the state, rejuvenating rural towns across Iowa, prioritizing better education and making Iowa the No. 1 place to live.
Representative Liz Bennett, who is up for re-election this year in Cedar Rapids, says these priorities were discovered through face-to-face discussions with constituents and through polling.
“People are getting really sick of plans that seem to put other priorities before regular Iowans,” Bennett said.
She cited the privatization of Medicaid, done “without a solid plan that had the effects on real people in mind,” and a recent, largely toothless water quality bill.
“Here’s that bill coming back from the Senate and it had no accountability in it. I think Iowans want to be able to trust the Legislature to invest widely,” Bennett said.
Democratic leaders Mark Smith and Janet Petersen argued in a press release on Thursday that this plan will help focus their agenda to these goals, especially towards improving quality of life in the state.
“That means affordable job training and new recreational opportunities in rural areas,” Smith said. “It means increasing the use of renewable fuels and investing in our public schools again to produce a highly skilled workforce. It also means expanding access to affordable health care.”
The plan also calls for initiatives like expanding job creation in each of the 99 counties and encouraging small-town entrepreneurship.
Bennett says this plan will guide Democrats to fill in where Governor Reynolds’ Condition of the State address lacked substance.
“I think the difference between our plan and Governor Reynolds’ is that her plan put her donors first,” Bennett said. “Our plan puts real Iowans first.”
Additionally, Bennett raised the issues of access to women’s health care and the mental health crisis the state faces.
“To a large degree, she didn’t really address any substantive plans to solve these problems,” Bennett said. “We know that Iowans want their legislature to get to work on those items, not tax cuts for big corporations.”
IowansFirst.com, the site created to illustrate what the plan would do, proclaims that “Democrats believe when we invest in people, Iowans win.”
And if the plan goes well, getting a few more Democratic wins in November would just be an added bonus.
by Jake Bullington