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Cornfileds, Common Sense and Community

January 20, 2018
By state Senator Jeff Edler - R-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

First Week of Session

The first week of session is already coming to a close. It is an honor to serve the people of District 36. In 2018, I will continue working to find the common sense solutions to address many of the challenges Iowans are facing.

Since adjourning last year, much of our summer and fall was spent meeting with community leaders, friends, neighbors, and people all over the district. I enjoy these meetings where we can get feedback on the past year and input for next year.

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State Senator Jeff Edler
R-State Center

I have heard from many people regarding tax relief, water quality, private market health insurance options, mental health services, and Medicaid. The Senate sent the House of Representatives a water quality bill last year and we hope to see them take it up and send it to the governor's desk. Governor Reynolds has made it clear she wants a water quality bill to be the first bill she signs as governor.

Mental health and Medicaid will have a number of discussions this coming year. We are committed to finding a solution to both issues in our state that will be beneficial for recipients and ensure they are getting the care they need.

Much of the first week is ceremonial. The first day is always an exciting one. The leaders of each party and chamber gave their speeches and set out their agenda for the session. One thing is very clear here we are focused on providing tax relief for Iowans. We want you to keep more of your hard earned money!

We also heard the Condition of the State from Governor Kim Reynolds, the State of the Judiciary from Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady, and the Condition of the Iowa National Guard from General Timothy Orr.

It is truly an honor to serve as your representative in the Iowa Senate. It was nice to be back at home in the district the last few months, but I am looking forward to starting our work and debate in the Senate. As we start to move forward with our agenda for the year, please feel free to contact me by phone or email if you have questions or comments on an issue.

A Big and Bold Agenda for Year Two

One year ago, Senate Republicans attained the majority. We passed legislation on the Second Amendment and voter ID, a joint resolution to let the citizens of Iowa vote on putting a 99 percent expenditure limit amendment in the state's constitution, changes to reward our state's best teachers, and gave our school districts more control and flexibility. We passed legislation reducing the regulatory burden on Iowa's job creators, eliminating hurdles to growth for other industries, improving career opportunities for every Iowan, while ensuring our state remains a beacon of enterprise and ingenuity.

In 2017 our agenda was big and bold, and it was about promoting growth. In 2018, Senate Republicans will move an agenda that will again be big and bold because this state deserves big and bold. The changes we make will move our state forward in a positive direction, felt for many generations to come. The primary agenda item for 2018 is substantive tax relief for Iowans.

Tax relief is about emboldening our middle class and encouraging our citizens to invest in themselves, their local businesses, and our state. It allows Iowans to keep more of their hard earned money. Tax relief rewards work and investment. It is about growth and opportunity.

The success of the time Senate Republicans lead the Iowa Senate is determined by how many opportunities can be created, businesses that can start, and families that stay here in Iowa and continue to call it home for generations to come.

Condition of the State

Governor Kim Reynolds gave her Condition of the State to a joint assembly of House and Senate members Tuesday morning. I was honored to have been able to watch the first woman governor of Iowa give her first Condition of the State to the members of the General Assembly.

She mentioned many great things in her speech, a few which stood out to me. She announced a new initiative focusing on rural Iowa, promoting investment and expanding broadband capabilities. She also will be creating a bipartisan task force to look at our tax credits and give recommendations to legislators on improvements and changes we can make.

The governor also mentioned the health insurance crisis in our state and the problems facing working Iowans. We are working to find a solution to help our citizens get affordable health insurance. Along with fixing our health insurance market, we look forward to working with Governor Reynolds on improving Medicaid and the problems that have occurred since modernizing the system a few years ago. I have heard from many constituents on this issue. We want to find a solution that gives the Medicaid population the care it needs along with working on our state's mental health system.

Additionally, Governor Reynolds announced a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in Iowa by increasing the use of the Prescription Monitoring Program, supporting enhanced intervention for Iowans addicted to opioids, and expanding medicated assisted treatment. She also would like to see legislation to reduce the number of opioids prescribed in Iowa.

The Senate, the House of Representatives and Governor Reynolds are all dedicated to passing tax relief for the state of Iowa. I look forward to talking with our colleagues about what plan is best for Iowans after learning more about how the federal tax code changes will affect our state. We all believe in making our state more competitive and a place where local businesses can thrive.

This speech was a historic one for Governor Reynolds and the state of Iowa. It was exciting to listen to her vision for Iowa and set out her priorities. Her speech also provides us with the groundwork for budget discussions going into the session. We are looking forward to discussions with the House and Governor Reynolds on funding priorities this year.

I am the vice chair of the Education Committee, and serve on the Agriculture, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs, and Ways and Means Committees. Additionally, I serve on the Health and Human Services Appopriations Subcommittee.

State Senator Jeff Edler (R-State Center) represents Tama, Marshall and a portion of Black Hawk counties in the Iowa Senate.



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