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DES MOINES – The last sessions of the Iowa Legislature marked the start of a series of changes in state law, and the Marshall County delegation – Representatives Sue Cahill (D-Marshalltown) and Dean Fisher (R-Montour) and Sen. Jeff Edler (R-State Center) – are excited to continue their work until 2022. In recent talks, they shared their goals for the next session, which begins Monday, January 10. , and some general long-term priorities.

Cahill: I would like to see more collaboration and bipartisanship

As a member of the Minority Party (Republicans hold a 59-41 advantage in the House), Cahill knows she will need bipartisan support on any legislation she hopes to see passed.

“It’s just one of my personal goals, to see us work better for all the people of Iowa so that we don’t serve just a portion of the people who voted for us. But we serve all the people in our districts, ”she said. “I know it will take work, cooperation and listening to try to find common sense approaches to some of the problems we have in Iowa.”

With her background as a teacher in the Marshalltown Community School District (MCSD), Cahill, who represents the entire town of Marshalltown as well as north-central and northeastern Marshall County, always keeps a close eye on the legislation. affecting education, and some of its key goals on this front include improving the mental health of students and staff, retaining teachers and increasing options for early childhood.

Drawing on her own experiences as a teacher-librarian, Cahill shared her thoughts on several burning educational issues such as proposed legislation that could lead to criminal charges against teachers or librarians who distribute judged books. obscene and the ongoing feud over Critical Race. Theory in schools.

According to Cahill, a process already exists for parents to challenge books deemed offensive or inappropriate, and she doesn’t think it would be productive or beneficial to penalize educators. She said it was important to find reading material from a wide variety of perspectives that reflected the cultural diversity of her own community, Marshalltown.

“I think we have to appreciate the process in place, and I think there is a lot of noise about the pornographic material and the material that teachers and librarians have criminal charges against them,” Cahill said. “I think it’s very inappropriate because there are procedures that we follow to make sure we have good literature. Not all literature is to everyone’s liking, and we should be aware of this. ”

Discussions about what to do with the Iowa budget surplus have continued over the past few months, and Cahill said she would like to see some benefits for working class people in the range of ” average to lower incomes ”, as well as a possible freeze on property taxes for the elderly. or Iowans who meet certain income guidelines.

As Legislative Democrats announced a plan to push for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Iowa, Cahill said she “is not opposed” to the idea, but her primary goal. remains to expand access to medical cannabis.

On COVID-19, Cahill is grateful for the widespread availability of vaccines and said she will continue to wear a mask on Capitol Hill, but she is uncertain whether her colleagues will follow her lead.

“I hope we can use common sense and find a way to respond to the common good of the people,” Cahill said.

During the 2022 session, Cahill will be the leading Democratic member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Fisher: Protect Vaccine Choices, Stick to the Basics in Schools

Fisher, a native of western Tama County, will represent parts of Marshall County – the southeast corner and most of the western half – for one last time in 2022 before the redistribution moves him to a new one. district after the next elections.

Tax relief is a key priority for Fisher heading into the upcoming session, but he’s not convinced that immediate elimination of state income tax is the right move.

“I don’t think it’s doable at this point,” Fisher said. “(Do it) gradually and be careful. There is still some volatility in the economy and the way things are going. It’s going to be a big deal this session I’m sure.

While the Biden administration’s vaccine or testing mandate for employers of at least 100 workers is still linked to court battles, Fisher said the House GOP is monitoring the situation closely and hopes to introduce more protective legislation. employees who could potentially lose their jobs during the tenure.

Overall, Fisher was pleased with the state’s response to COVID, but he had harsh words for the federal government on it.

“There are probably things the government can and should do. I’m just not convinced the federal government is doing the right thing, ”he said. “I have no doubts that Iowa is responding the best we can and doing it well. It is the federal government that is screwing it up. I think the federal government needs to step aside and let common sense and freedom reign. ”

Regarding education, Fisher said he was “very frustrated” with public schools because he believed it was their job to teach students about LGBTQ issues, and he would rather children learn. about them at home.

“Schools need to focus on reading and writing and arithmetic – the basics that taxpayers think they pay for – not all that other social justice stuff like critical race and transgender theory and so on. immediately, ”he said. “We will continue to work on this. We passed a law last year to try to solve this problem. I’m sure there will be more this year, and that’s a priority for me.

On agriculture, Fisher remains supportive of state and federal efforts to create more competition in the meat packaging industry and promote fairer deals for farmers. He also said he would support a law that allows employees to keep guns in their cars regardless of employer policies.

Edler: Continue to promote growth in Iowa


For Edler, who was first elected in 2016, sustaining Iowa’s growth is the top priority this year and every year, and he seeks to continue to promote a favorable tax climate for businesses large and small.

“Whether you are a sole proprietor or a corporation, you are much more welcome in Iowa in the current tax climate, and we continue to push for it,” he said.

Edler said he supports a campaign to eliminate state income tax if it can be done in a “responsible manner” that ensures that a functioning government is always funded.

After nearly two years of canceled classes and distance or hybrid learning, Edler said it was imperative to “catch up” with students and instill a sense of responsibility in school districts across the state.

Citing a promise he made to a law enforcement officer, Edler still sees overhauling the Iowa mental health system as a top priority for the future.

“We are making progress, but it is a very complex system given the acuteness of the needs. We’re trying to figure out what we have to do differently to adapt to this, ”he said.

Like Fisher, Edler waits for the Supreme Court to hear arguments over the vaccine or Biden administration’s testing warrant before making Iowa-specific decisions, but he called the mandate for private companies “an overshoot.” absolute of the federal government ”.

“I just hope the Supreme Court makes the right decision and gives people the choice of whether or not they want to be vaccinated,” he said. “It would be nice if the federal government realized that it doesn’t have that capacity and that it is giving it up because it is creating labor problems.”

He cited conversations with business owners who told him that potential employees asked if they would need to be vaccinated to work, and when told they do, they are no longer interested in posts.

On the debate over which books should be taught and made available in schools, Edler said that if they cannot be shown on news broadcasts due to possible fines from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), they should not be in school libraries.

As a farmer, Edler would like to continue promoting the use of a 10 percent ethanol blend while respecting small gas stations without placing an “undue burden” on them, and he remains concerned about a California law. which would increase the space required for farm animals. and would affect meat shipped to the most populous state in the United States from major pork-producing states like Iowa.

“It’s a little frustrating when people who don’t even know animals or farms try to dictate how we raise them because we’re doing what’s best for the animal, because it’s best for us. “said Edler. “It’s like a banker trying to do surgery.”

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Norma A. Roth