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Issues

First and foremost, I am a voice for working people.

Now more than ever we need legislators in Des Moines who truly know what it means to support working families—legislators who advocate for peoplenot for special interests, not for corporate interests.

My focus in the Iowa Statehouse will be on policies that support working people and the anchors on our landscape:

  • Small Towns
  • Local Public Schools
  • Stewards of the Land
  • Family Farms

 

Ruby speaking with voters

As your Iowa House Representative, I will champion legislation that

  • Protects workers and expands unions
  • Fully funds public education
  • Protects Iowans living in long-term care homes
  • Raises the minimum wage to a living wage
  • Reverses the privatization of Medicaid
  • Invests in a sustainable Iowa by creating a climate task force and fully-funding REAP
  • Expands the number of beginning farmers on the land
  • Ensures clean water for all
  • Addresses Iowa’s pregnancy-related maternal mortality rate

Let’s work together to pave the way to a sustainable tomorrow, because we live here, too.

The Small Town

Iowa’s small towns and rural communities are hurting. We live here, too, so we deserve equal access to a sustainable future as much as those living in bigger towns and cities. Emergency medical services in rural areas should be considered essential services (similar to fire protection) and funded as community infrastructure. Rural hospitals should not suffer and close under mounting debt that has been made worse due to the privatization of Medicaid. Libraries should be strengthened as community-based resources—particularly in towns where no public school exists anymore. Rural Iowa should not lose access to postal services, polling places, and grocery stores.

Union wages afford rural Iowans a way to stay in place, to remain rural, to keep communities from disappearing. Workers have the right to unionize and should be supported in their endeavors. A living wage is important, too, for maintaining our communities—keeping Iowa’s roots strong. Small towns and rural spaces are stronger when working people stand together. The small town is worth fighting for because we live here, too.

The Local Public School

We need to strengthen school reorganization incentives and properly fund education in general to ensure small towns do not lose any more elementary school buildings—we’ve consolidated ourselves enough at this point. It’s time to protect our children, including their mental health, by keeping them in their local public schools. The loss of a school reverberates for decades in a community and often wipes out a community. Our children should be educated if at all possible in the spaces in which they live and thrive. We also need to remember our public school teachers live here, too. It’s time we stopped treating them as afterthoughts and restore collective bargaining rights under Iowa’s Chapter 20.

The Steward of the Land

Iowa’s water is not safe. Our children and pets can no longer safely play or swim in over half of Iowa’s assessed bodies of water due to contamination. In 2010, 63% of Iowans voted for a constitutional amendment to create the Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources Trust Fund (Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, IWiLL). But to this day the fund sits empty. It’s long past time to listen to the will of the Iowa people and fund IWiLL. Such funding will ensure watershed protection, soil conservation, and habitat restoration to reduce runoff and protect our water. But IWiLL’s formula should be funded as it was originally designed with no alteration to ensure the health and vitality of Iowa’s people and pets. More importantly, the sales tax should not be raised to fund IWiLL if cuts to schools and other services are made elsewhere. This is not a magic show. Cleaning up our water and ensuring a sustainable future for Iowa shouldn’t be made on the backs of the poor and working people of Iowa.

To that end, when private wells do test positive for contamination in our rural communities, the Grants to Counties program needs to have access to funding to clean it up. Every Iowan has a right to clean water. We live here, too.

The Family Farm

Iowa needs to remember its roots and invest in sustainable agriculture, not agribusiness. We have boxed in our farmers by allowing corporations to eat up family farms. We’ve valued yield over everything else, even above the longevity of our soils. There are countless examples in Benton and Iowa counties of farmers being good stewards of the land and water—it’s time we made it easier and less complicated for farmers statewide to quickly implement conservation practices, including those who rent their land. We need to listen to Iowa’s 500 Soil and Water Conservation District commissioners and pass mandatory, meaningful regulations in the form of a saturated buffer law. To that end, Iowa would benefit from both an organic checkoff and a Farmers’ Bill of Rights included as part of a climate policy resolution. The issue of flooding in our state is not going away and farmers are on the frontlines in this changing climate. We need to protect those who steward our land and wild spaces. We live here, too.