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Senator Ragan: 3 ways to strengthen economy


This news story was published on January 24, 2014.
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From District 27 Senator Amanda Ragan:

Amanda Ragan

Amanda Ragan

The United States created the strongest economy in the world by building a large middle class. Unfortunately, it has become more difficult since the Great Recession for lower- and middle-income Iowans to climb the ladder to prosperity.

Though the worst of the recession is over, many of our families, friends and neighbors continue to struggle. It’s hard to believe that right here in America’s heartland; one in eight Iowa families regularly went hungry last year.

This session, we can take steps to turn that trend around and strengthen Iowa’s economy by:

1. Ensuring that free, high-quality preschool is a reality for all four year olds. Investing in children is the smartest investment we can make.

2. Making our state’s tax system fairer. Middle-class Iowans shouldn’t have to fork over an ever increasing portion of their hard-earned wages while the wealthy pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes.

3. Expanding affordable workforce training at our community colleges so that Iowans can get the skills local businesses need to grow and expand.

Troy Swanson, plant manager at Cargill Kitchen Solutions in Mason City, joined Cargill employees from across Iowa when they visited the Statehouse on January 15. Troy talked with Rep. Linda Upmeyer and me about the company's operations in Mason City, Eddyville and Ottumwa.

Troy Swanson, plant manager at Cargill Kitchen Solutions in Mason City, joined Cargill employees from across Iowa when they visited the Statehouse on January 15. Troy talked with Rep. Linda Upmeyer and me about the company’s operations in Mason City, Eddyville and Ottumwa.

Iowans turn to our outstanding community colleges to take their high school equivalency exam, learn basic skills, train for jobs and earn industry-recognized certificates in welding, health care, computers and other areas. While we’ve wisely agreed to freeze tuition at our state universities for the second straight year, we need to extend similar support to Iowa’s community colleges. Higher community college tuition would be a setback for Iowans training for job openings and for the local businesses in need of skilled workers.

Business leaders say improving worker training is the most important thing we can do to keep Iowa’s economy growing. Middle-skill jobs are on the rise, making up about 56 percent of Iowa positions. However, only about a third of Iowa workers qualify for them, according to a report on Middle-Skill Jobs in Iowa. Middle-skill jobs encompass a wide range of occupations, from computer specialists and radiation therapists to carpenters and machinists—positions that require some education beyond high school but not a four-year degree.

Last year with bipartisan support, we expanded a successful skills training effort to every community college in the state. I will work with the Governor to ensure Iowans can take advantage of these new opportunities to train for better-paying jobs. Affordable tuition for those willing to study hard and work hard is a smart approach to strengthening Iowa’s middle class and keeping our workforce competitive.

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5 Responses to Senator Ragan: 3 ways to strengthen economy

  1. Mediator

    Mediator Reply Report comment

    January 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Remember when business owners used to train their own workers? Now they want to hire them ready for middle-skill jobs and pass that expense on to the tax payer instead of their customers. That’s fine when it’s for products that everyone buys or uses eventually, like health professionals and teachers, but I don’t think it’s right for industries that build luxury items. What is happening with all of that money that used to go to taking care of the employees?

    Amanda Regan has done a great job of keeping Iowa moving, working with Linda Upmeyer last year to get something done in the legislature. They’ve been role models which the US congress could emulate.

    • Avatar

      Philosophus Reply Report comment

      January 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Well 2 big items need to be on Senator Ragan’s plate: 1. Legalizing Marijuana 2. Revising Muffler laws to include more specific decibel levels to help local authorities prosecute offenders, and increasing penalties.

  2. Avatar

    Craig Eckhardt Reply Report comment

    January 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    There is an alternative to the continued spend, spend, spend mentality. During the primary, then in November you can help make that change possible.
    Check this out……Former Hampton Mayor Shawn Dietz announced that he is a candidate for the seat currently held by Democrat Amanda Ragan of Mason City. Senate District 27 includes all of Franklin County and the majority of Butler and Cerro Gordo Counties. For more information visit http://www.Dietz4Iowa.com.

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      January 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      @Craig-I saw that in the paper. Very interesting indeed.

  3. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    January 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Bla, Bla, Bla. Spend, spend, spend.