From the ground up

Dan Zumbach
Iowa State Senator, 48th Dist.

Week three has finished in the Iowa Senate and we remain busy as ever moving from subcommittee to subcommittee and visiting with constituents. 

One of the highest profile news items this week was the release of our education-funding proposal for the next fiscal year. As we worked to put together this budget, it was important to keep the promises to help equalize transportation costs, per-pupil spending, and also ensure other priority areas in our budget would be properly funded. 

Every dollar we have ever promised to K-12 schools over the last three years has been fully funded, and this proposal would be no exception. Under this proposal, the total increase in K-12 education funding since FY 17 is over $300 million, including $26.6 million specifically for transportation equity. When federal and local dollars are included, the average money spent on every K-12 student in Iowa is nearly $15,000. 

Education funding is typically the biggest policy issue tackled in the first weeks of session, and we are looking forward to working with the House of Representatives on finalizing a responsible and sustainable education budget. 

A bill aimed at expanding the verification databases, in order to make the State of Iowa public assistance programs stronger and more efficient, advanced this week in the Iowa Senate. 

The purpose of the bill is simple, eliminate millions upon millions of dollars in inefficiencies and encourage able-bodied people to enter the workforce. The goal of this legislation is to protect public assistance programs and ensure they serve those who truly need them. 

I was honored when I received a phone call from the White House asking if I would be willing to represent Iowa at the bill signing for the historic USMCA trade agreement. On Wednesday, Jan. 29, I went to Washington, D.C. to witness one of the best trade deals in history between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These three sovereign countries have agreed to trade manufacturing and agricultural products. They also agree to have fair labor practices. 

While in Washington, D.C., I visited with U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and former Secretary of Ag Bill Northey. Iowa has great representation in our nation’s capital. 

I also had the opportunity to visit the Vietnam and the Korean War Memorials. These monuments humble your soul. They highlight the sacrifices our men and women in the military put forth for our freedoms. "Freedom is not free."


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