REP. KONFRST: Priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session

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When the 2022 Legislative Session opened this week, I was reminded that there is hope in starting fresh. There is opportunity in bringing what we’ve learned since we last met and responsibility in our work for the people of the great state of Iowa.

The Iowans I talk to every day are frustrated, but hopeful. They’re tired, but optimistic. They’re weary, but keep going. Iowans deserve a productive session that honors their hard work and doesn’t leave them behind.

Iowa is facing myriad challenges that we were elected to tackle head on, despite the difficulties and philosophical differences.

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The biggest challenge facing Iowa today is the workforce crisis. Businesses small and large have “help wanted” signs in the windows and they’re pleading with lawmakers to do all we can to help them find workers.

Democrats value the hard work of Iowans and we’ll be working this session to fix our workforce crisis and keep the next generation in Iowa. Here some ideas we’re working on this year:

  • Reward Iowans’ hard work with more money in their pockets and higher wages
  • Strong public schools and support for educators
  • Affordable, accessible child care
  • Expand housing options in small towns, rural areas, and cities
  • Making Iowa a welcoming state for all

The important work of the Iowa Legislature this year tells a story about who we are, what we value, and how we envision the future of Iowa. That’s why we need to tell a story that sets Iowa apart and helps our state grow again.

Let’s imagine a young family deciding whether to move to Iowa for good jobs, or to another state in the Midwest.

Will we create a state where they can find affordable child care, where they have access to quality affordable housing?  Will we work to ensure they can access health care?

Can we make sure their kids will have high quality public schools to attend, schools that are the centerpiece of the community, no matter where kids live or what their families can afford?

When we look at rightfully returning tax surplus dollars to Iowans, will they see that middle-class Iowans will finally benefit from tax cuts? Will this young family feel welcome in Iowa? Can they rest assured that, no matter who they are or who they love or what they choose to do, they’re welcome here?

If we can do that, I feel confident that young families will like the Iowa story we tell, and choose to build a life here, just like we all have.

Or, will this Legislature send that young family the message that only certain types of families are welcome here? That lawmakers prioritize more public money for private schools, statewide solutions to local problems, and a divisive agenda that’s rife with unintended consequences that make Iowa less welcoming?

If this is the path the Legislature chooses this year, our workforce crisis will be made worse.

Over the last year, there is one issue that has continued to fester that presents the greatest threat to our state and nation: misinformation.

It’s become increasingly clear we can no longer ignore the lies and misinformation so pervasive today. As elected officials, we have a deep responsibility to not just tell the truth, but defend the truth and hold each other accountable.

Iowans deserve to know the decisions made by the Iowa Legislature are grounded in reality, not internet conspiracy theories. The policy we work on must be based on facts, not Facebook.  We must govern based on truth, not Twitter.

As session continues, I’m hopeful we can remember that our policy differences don’t mean we need to resort to personal attacks. I’m optimistic that, even during sharp debate, we can remember the humanity and people we serve from every part of Iowa.

Watch the my speech here.