Minnesota Gov. Walz Says Things Can Turn Around In Iowa

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Iowa Democrats Chair Rita Hart. Photo by Ty Rushing/Starting Line

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz gave Iowa Democrats something that has been in short supply lately: Hope.

Walz was in Des Moines on Friday for a joint press conference with the Iowa Democratic Party, including chair Rita Hart and Iowa House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst. While here, Walz talked about Minnesota’s legislative success and how Iowa could replicate it.

“What I would just say to folks is these things turn quickly,” Walz said. “If you’re on the right side of history, if you’re sticking up for women’s reproductive rights, if you’re addressing climate change, if you’re engaging young people, if you’re out there working and organizing, things can change.”

After flipping control of the state Senate in last November’s elections and winning a one seat majority, Minnesota Democrats this year had a trifecta in their legislature for the first time since 2013. With slim majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate, they passed a slew of legislation that included:

  • Making abortion a fundamental right
  • Free breakfast and lunch for all schoolchildren regardless of income
  • Gun safety laws, including background checks for private sales
  • Paid family leave
  • Becoming a refuge state for trans people
  • Banning conversion therapy
  • Eliminating no-knock search warrants
  • Legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis 

When asked to compare Minnesota’s 2023 legislative session to Iowa’s 2023 legislative session where Republicans held the trifecta in the House, Senate, and governor’s office, and used that power to do everything from enacting an abortion ban to passing a nine-digit private school voucher bill, Walz let out a chuckle before answering.

“[Iowa’s] talking about restricting reproductive freedoms and we’re expanding health care to others,” he said.” [Iowa’s] talking about book bans and we’re talking about banning hunger. We’re expanding and made the nation’s most aggressive climate change push with our 2040 plan.”

Walz said the pillars of their agenda were caring for children, providing health care, and addressing climate change—issues he thinks can easily be replicated in Iowa.

Konfrst said Minnesota serves as a “model” of what can be done to use government to improve the lives of citizens.

“When you put people first, when you ignore politics, and when you listen to voters, you get them enthused to vote, you get to come, these are the results that you can start to see,” she said. “This is really a focus for me on the importance of state legislative races and the governor’s race and how important these decisions are that happen at the Iowa Capitol..”

Walz also had a message for Iowans who don’t like the direction the state is going.

“If you want to see a difference, start voting differently,” he said, a point he elaborated more on earlier. “The difference in that election, in that one senator in the state of Minnesota means we have paid family and medical leave, we have sick leave, we are addressing issues of climate change, we’re doing all the things we wanted to see happen.”


by Ty Rushing


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1 Comment on "Minnesota Gov. Walz Says Things Can Turn Around In Iowa"

  • I am genuinely happy for Minnesotans, especially since I have young relatives there (part of the Iowa brain drain — they left after ISU graduation and are working and raising their family in MN). However, from what I am reading and hearing, turning Iowa around is likely to be a long hard slog. Hooray and thanks for hope and encouragement from Minnesota. But we’ll have to do the heavy lifting here.

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