Quad City legislators react to Governor’s Condition of the State Address

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 11:14 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KWQC) - Iowa Governor Kim Reynold’s addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday, for her annual Condition of the State Address.

Reynolds started with a recap of her last term by touching on collective bargaining reform in 2018 and reopening schools during the pandemic.

“In a world increasingly marked by chaos, Iowa’s strength and stability stand out,” Reynolds said. “Our goal today, and throughout this legislative session, is to make sure it stays that way.”

In her sixth address, the governor started her second term calling on state lawmakers to back her “school choice” bill.

It aims to establish Educational Savings Accounts, with $7,598 for families who may want to send their kids to a private school over a public school.

“Some families may want an education that conforms to their faith and moral convictions,” Reynolds said. “Some kids may have ambitions and abilities that require a unique educational setting; others may experience bullying or have special needs.”

Newly elected State Representative Ken Croken, D-Davenport, said this will negatively affect underrepresented populations.

“Private schools are not obligated to accept every child who would like to go to a private school,” Croken said. “So the special needs children, the children with language barriers. They’re the ones who will remain in public schools.

Meanwhile, newly elected State Senator Scott Webster, R-Bettendorf, said he thinks it could help poorer families in situations of bullying.

“With this particular plan, if it comes out like I think it’s going to come out, they would be able to send their child to another school,” Webster said. “Get them out of that bad situation and help improve that child.”

Another key point the governor wants legislators to focus on is the expansion of maternal health resources, especially in rural areas. Reynolds hopes this gives mothers resources to avoid abortions.

Webster said he’s on board.

“Anytime that we can expand health care within our community, I think it’s a good thing that helps from the bottom to the top,” Webster said.

However, Croken said this doesn’t do enough to address the issues at hand.

“She spoke nothing about the childcare needs that these children will generate, and why women choose to terminate a pregnancy is unique to every woman,” Croken said

Another goal Reynolds announced on Tuesday, is to reduce the number of state cabinet agencies from 37 down to 16. She said this will streamline state operations.

Governor Reynolds will be reinaugurated on Friday.