District 37 is the perfect microcosm for the state of Iowa: expansive rural areas, wonderful small towns, and mid-sized cities. We have a spectrum of employment opportunities, a quality workforce, and quality educational institutions. We also face the same challenges as many other districts: urbanization, wage stagnation, and environmental degradation to name a few. This makes it all the more frustrating that the Iowa Legislature continues to preempt District 37’s attempts at proactive policymaking. We should be encouraging local action to protect our environment, improve our workplaces, and make every community in our state a better place to live. 

We can support local innovation by giving power back to our communities. We do this by stopping legislation that preempts county and municipality decisions that hold back progress. I will fight tirelessly to let our district and other districts be leaders at the state and national level.

Enact the Ballot Initiative and Referendum

One of the best ways for Iowans to lead is through the ballot initiative and referendum process. This process is an important check on the state that forces legislators to consider the concerns of everyday Iowans while crafting policy. Citizens can pass laws by collecting signatures to put an issue on the ballot and vote on it statewide in a general election. While local municipalities often use the ballot initiative to hear the voices of its citizens, Iowa, unlike 24 other states, does not have a state-wide ballot initiative.

For example, say you are frustrated about the low minimum wage in Iowa and want to do something about it. If Iowa was a ballot initiative state you could! Your next step is to collect signatures from other voters who support your cause. If you collect enough signatures, it goes to a statewide vote at the next election. If the ballot measure gets enough votes, your initiative becomes law. That is what I call letting Iowans lead.

This process can also be used to overturn unpopular policies passed through the legislature, like the recent legislation stripping public unions of collective bargaining rights. With enough signatures, you can temporarily put the law on hold and place it up for a vote. If we the voters do not like it and vote against it, the legislation is repealed and the legislature must go back to the drawing board. Iowans could protect our educators and prevent special interests from dominating the state capitol. That's a pretty nice check on our legislature, don't you think?

Iowans’ voices are not being heard, and I believe the ballot initiative is the best way for giving us our power back. If you still are unsure about the ballot initiative or how it works, please contact me. It is one of the most powerful tools we can have in our democracy, and it is time to put it in our toolbox.