Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday night took the stage in Orlando, Florida with four other rising Republican governors to boast about Iowa’s lax COVID-19 policies, especially the state’s early pandemic in-person learning mandates.
“[The federal government] sent $95 million to the state of Iowa to get our kids back in the classroom by doing surveillance testing and I said, ‘we’ve been in the classroom since August—here’s your $95 million back,’” Reynolds said during a “Red State Trailblazers” town hall moderated by Fox News’s Laura Ingraham.
“We had a few holdouts that were kowtowing—the school boards and the unions—I just said enough is enough and so I talked to the Legislature and I said in the Condition of the State—not only are we going to give parents 100% option for online learning, but we’re giving 100% option to have their child in the classroom five days a week.”
Joined by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Reynolds for an hour spoke and fielded questions from maskless audience members about hot topic right-wing issues like vaccine passports, how mask mandates will “condition” Americans, immigration and big tech, among others.
Reynolds during the event said that bills banning vaccine passports and transgender sports participation would be on her desk by the fast-approaching end of Iowa’s 2021 legislative session.
Reynolds said she was “proud” to say that she went to the Legislature offering to issue an executive order to ban vaccine passports, also giving the chambers an opportunity to pass legislation that would do so.
“It just passed through the House, it’s headed to the Senate, I should have it to my desk next week,” Reynolds said.
Legislative Democrats have expressed their disappointment in the vaccine passport bill—the first measure passed this session addressing the pandemic.
During the town hall, Ingraham also applauded Reynolds for her previous remarks disavowing migrant placement in Iowa despite asks from the Biden administration. The Governor responded by addressing her critics’ assessment of the situation as “heartless.”
“I would push back and say this [Biden] administration is heartless. They’ve created this crisis at the border,” Reynolds said. “They are putting these children at risk with the policies that they’ve eliminated that we all know were working. I’m the governor of the state of Iowa, and my number one responsibility is to protect the health and safety of Iowans.”
by Isabella Murray
Iowa Starting Line is an independently owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.