The op-ed below, written by ITR President Chris Hagenow, was published by the Des Moines Register on November 27, 2022.
“Will Iowa’s red-state government serve the people or a platform?” asked a recent editorial by the Des Moines Register. The editorial board questions if Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Republican-led Legislature, and newly elected Attorney General Brenna Bird will serve the Republican platform over what’s best for Iowa.
My personal experience during 12 years in the Iowa House was that members of both parties were motivated by what they believed was best for Iowans and the people in their districts. In fact, it has long been honored in the official rules of the chamber that no member shall reference or question the motives of another member. Republicans and Democrats may disagree, but a debate over policy differences need not devolve into personal attacks.
The Register’s argument also fails to appropriately consider that Iowans knew what they were voting for when they delivered Governor Reynolds a landslide victory. Iowa voters chose to expand the Republican majorities in the legislature and to bring change to both the Attorney General and State Treasurer offices. Iowans sent a clear message that they support an agenda of fiscal conservatism, defending traditional values, and empowering parents in the education of their children.
The Republican “red wave” may have fizzled nationally, but it was decisive in Iowa. Voters clearly are in support of Governor Reynolds and her policy agenda. The Register’s editorial specifically argues that recent tax and education policies of the governor are not in the interest of Iowans, but rather favor special interests. Not only has the governor delivered on generational tax reform for all Iowans, she made tax reform a centerpiece of both her 2018 and 2022 gubernatorial re-election campaigns. Iowans knew exactly what they were voting for and clearly told Governor Reynolds to carry on.
The Register further argues that Attorney General-elect Brenna Bird will take a narrow view of her duties to focus on partisan attacks. This is not only offensive but ignores the activism that Attorney General Tom Miller engaged in when he joined numerous left-wing lawsuits himself. Bird’s work may not always fit the Register’s policy agenda, but pre-emptively attacking her work as “partisan,” “headline-grabbing,” and “grandstanding” before she has even taken office is transparently partisan itself.
Governor Reynolds and Republicans in Iowa received a mandate from voters to continue an agenda that places taxpayers first and protects the values and traditions that make Iowa a great place to live and raise a family. For Republican leaders to listen to the Register’s recommendations would be to turn their backs on the voters who just elected them. Governor Reynolds and the legislature should instead honor Iowa voters by continuing down the conservative path they have set for our state.
There is, however, one assertion in the Register’s editorial that Iowa voters should count on: “Republicans aren’t stopping.”