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Upmeyer describes ‘Iowa Strong’ initiative

Linda Upmeyer

From Rep. Linda Upmeyer –

Iowa voters deserve to be given the opportunity to learn where candidates stand on a variety of topics that will impact their daily lives. Throughout this past fall, Iowa House Republicans, along with Senate Republicans and Governor Branstad, united to present our plan for a more prosperous state called the ‘Iowa Strong’ initiative. The Iowa Strong plan is comprised of three components: Strong Economy, Strong Budgetary Leadership, and Strong Schools and Communities. In previous newsletters I described our plan for a strong economy and budgetary leadership.

This week, we announced the details of the final component of the Iowa Strong initiative- our plan to encourage Strong Schools and Communities in Iowa. In order to successfully compete in today’s global economy, we must equip our children with world-class educational tools. The skills acquired during PreK-12 and postsecondary schooling will not only translate directly into high-quality, high-paying jobs for our graduates, but will help Iowa companies recruit the best talent to complete their workforce. Having strong communities also means we must work to maintain our state sovereignty and Iowa’s traditional values by preserving the freedoms and liberties that we cherish most.

Below are the details for our Iowa Strong Schools and Communities plan. To review the ‘Iowa Strong’ initiative in its entirety, please visit http://www.iastrong.com/.

Iowa Strong: Schools & Communities

1. Advance education reforms that offer accountability, innovation, and choice for parents.
· Achievement-driven Reforms: Focus state education spending on achievement-driven education reforms that align with practices and programs that have demonstrated improving student performance.
· Invest in Educational Leadership: Put a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal in every building. Invest in a strategy that brings the best practices of high performing school districts to our schools and rewards those doing an extraordinary job.
· More Choices for Parents and Students: Increase educational choice options to allow more parents and students to choose the educational environment that best suits their needs.

2. Promote career readiness and opportunities for future generations to prosper in Iowa.
· Utilize the Skilled Iowa Initiative to Encourage Job Growth: Promote our innovative Skilled Iowa initiative that assists job seekers and employers by determining a baseline of skills and providing resources to improve skills, internships to demonstrate those skills, and a pipeline to jobs that utilize those skills.
· Engage Community Colleges to Promote Career Readiness: Build upon the record state investment in our community colleges which will help keep tuition affordable and provide the trained workforce Iowa needs to attract and maintain job creators.
· Encourage Regent Institutions’ Research Efforts: Support university efforts to transition ideas, processes, and cutting edge products produced in our research parks to private sector opportunities and jobs for graduates.
· Expand and Promote STEM Education: Continue to grow the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative in Iowa by committing to legislation which increases opportunities and education in STEM related fields.

3. Fight for Iowa solutions to meet Iowa needs for affordable patient-centered care.
· Protect Patients: Health care decisions are among the most personal a family ever has to make. We must protect the relationship between a physician and a patient.
· Support Governor’s Healthiest State Initiative: Support Governor Branstad’s Healthiest State Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. This privately-led, publicly-endorsed initiative empowers Iowans to take greater ownership of their well-being while its Blue Zone program will transform the overall health of our population.
· Lower Cost and Increase Quality: Establish a unified set of quality measures across payer and provider networks to ensure we are paying for quality outcomes rather than for procedure volumes. Emphasizing payment for quality, rather than quantity, will both improve health outcomes for vulnerable Iowans while also saving vital resources for hard working taxpayers.

4. Preserve values, freedoms, and liberties that are the foundation of Iowa
· Protect Integrity of Elections: Protecting the integrity of our constitutional voting rights is fundamental to ensuring our ability to conduct free and fair elections. Requiring Iowans to produce a photo ID before being allowed to vote is one small, but important, method for ensuring our elections are being decided by eligible voters.
· Preserve Iowa’s Traditional Values: Give Iowans the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life, and defend Iowans’ constitutional right to bear arms.
· Reaffirm State’s Rights: Oppose creeping federal intrusion into our state government to preserve our sovereignty and ensure federal one-size-fits-all “solutions” are not imposed on our citizens.

As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns. If you have any feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact me at linda.upmeyer@legis.state.ia.us or 515-281-4618.

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