In a rather surprising editorial in the Des Moines Register last week John and Terri Hale wrote about encounters with former Iowans at various places around the country. After some banter, they said, a common theme came up:
An example: On a beautiful 71-degree Arizona day, we met a couple from central Iowa and began a conversation.
They were in their late 60s. After chatting about the weather, careers, children and grandchildren, etc. they wanted to talk about current events in Iowa and the latest headlines from the Iowa Capitol.
The conversation took an unexpected turn when one of them volunteered: “I used to be proud to be an Iowan.”
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A great deal of the conversation focused on the vast decline in the attitudes and tactics of too many of our elected officials at the state level; people who:
This is followed by a list that include many of the common complaints of Iowans living in the state. Why are we promised rosy promises only to get schools systems that have fallen greatly, lower wages and on and on.
Please read the article. The lists of what was Iowa before and what is Iowa today is an eye opener. The arc is downward with no bottom apparently.
From Iowa’s news media we generally get the idea that things are hunky-dory in Iowa. Why we even have a governor so prominent that she was picked to give the Republican response to the Presidents State of the Union address. Iowa’s media seldom covers what Iowans really feel. News about what the Republican choke hold on the state is usually covered in a positive manner.
The one-party rule that we have in Iowa looks like it is about to deliver another year of underfunding for Iowa’s schools, a budget that seems geared to turn Iowa into another disastrous experiment in Republican fiscal policies and more policies that give to the rich and punish the poor. One party rule is never good for the governed.
The other day I was listening to the radio as I was working about the house. Someone quoted a statistic that struck me as quite interesting. This person said Iowa is the only state in the union whose population has not doubled since 1900. A quick check on Wikipedia shows Iowa with 2,231,853 in 1900 and 3,190,000 in 2020.
We all know young Iowans leave the state in droves. Not many return. Few will return when the jobs pay much less than other states and the tax burden lands on the young as the legislature cuts taxes for the wealthy and elderly. Instead of crying about workforce weakness, Governor Reynolds should be doing something about the underlying problems that are driving people away.
Like many I was once very proud of Iowa’s public school system that always was rated at or near the top of the nation’s schools. Now we have a governor and a legislature that is doing all it can to undermine that system and drive it into the lowest echelon of the nations schools.
Bankrupting the public schools through vouchers to private schools financed by public school budgets, lower and lower school budgeting and the loss of good teachers year in and year out are not selling points.
Reynolds will not fix these problems. She is the driving force behind most of these problems. There will be an alternative this fall. We simply can not let Reynolds keep driving Iowa into a hole. Deidre DeJear is looking more and more like the young visionary leader Iowa desperately needs.