Eric Green (D), Iowa Senate District 48

     Personal history: I grew up in the Monticello area, and graduated from Monticello High School. Then, at Iowa State University, I participated in Mini Baja and was a research assistant for the Bioeconomy Institute.

     For much of the last 10 years, I managed the Happy Joe’s in Monticello and McOtto’s in Anamosa. Two years ago, I bought the Monticello location, turning it into Diamond Pi Company, still a pizzeria.

     Family: While I do not have my own family, I make an effort for “Best Uncle” title from my nieces and nephew.

     1. Why are you seeking the office of State Senator? I have long been interested in politics and thought I would get involved someday. While I may not have political experience, I am a fast learner. Though my own beliefs tend to be more progressive, I understand I may have to come more to the center on some issues to better align with those who I seek to represent. I offer some different viewpoints than my opponent on how the legislative agenda should be addressed for the people of Senate District 48.

     My business has allowed me to serve the public in some capacity. This would give me a bigger opportunity to serve and bring a different perspective to the legislature for the people, and I look forward to getting to do that.

     2. What are some significant issues you anticipate in the upcoming legislative term? How to proceed through the rest of the pandemic and how to address a future pandemic should be at the top of everyone’s mind in the next legislative term. In addition to that, education, childcare, healthcare (including mental health), and infrastructure are all areas that have had their weaknesses highlighted the last eight months.

     Schools need more resources to allow for more in-person learning, especially at the elementary level. The pandemic showed the need for more childcare options as some parents had to choose between work and staying home with their kids when schools closed. Employer-based healthcare was also shown not to be the best model when so many people were laid off or their jobs were terminated. The pandemic, along with the derecho, has certainly emphasized our dependence on having access to internet.

     3. How does your experience/background prepare you to be an effective State Senator? There are a few things in my background that will help me be a good state senator. One of those is that my history only goes back to 1984. I would be about two decades younger than the average age of the current Iowa Senators. At 35 years old, there are likely issues that I can better relate to with younger voters.

     Being a business owner has helped as well. I get to hear both the good and the bad from customers. There are times I get employees’ input into ideas for the store—some of them are liked, some of them are not, and sometimes we can meet in the middle. They are all members of the community, so I like to hear their opinions rather than always going with my own.

     I also know that I cannot spend more than I sell. This pandemic impacted our business quite a bit, and as with many others, my business is not back to normal yet. Tough choices were made to get through those first few months, but the doors are still open and I did not lose any employees.

     Being able to manage tough situations, work with people to solve problems and come up with ideas, and having a more youthful perspective would all help me to be an effective state senator.

     4. What are your priorities in balancing a state budget? Two of the areas that I think need more funding are education and rural broadband access. When it comes to funding programs that benefit all Iowans, I do not think it is too much to ask the higher income earners to pay a little more.

     An increase in minimum wage should also help to bring in more tax dollars for the state. Cuts may have to be made as well. But I would start those by looking at programs that may be underutilized and seeing if they can be folded into other existing programs, having them share resources. Identifying and fixing inefficiencies within state programs that would allow them to require less money to operate.

     While it will likely be harder to predict what the budget will look like for the next couple of years because of the pandemic, I think that putting these measures in place will allow us to better fund programs like education and rural internet access.

     5. What are the biggest priorities pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic in Iowa? How would you address those issues? Determining what will be the state’s reaction if something like this happens again needs to be a top priority. Having a plan in place for a future pandemic would help reassure Iowans that we can successfully get through this because we have done it before, learned what does and does not work, and know how to proceed in order to saves lives and livelihoods.

     Because the pandemic will still be here into next year, not all of the answers will be known in order to complete this plan. But it is not something that should wait to be started. I think such a plan should be made in coordination with other states and preferably the federal government, too. Once that plan is completed, the resources needed to execute it need to be allocated as well. Hopefully it is something that never needs to be used again, but in the event that it is, we will know what to do.


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