Statehouse News

Andy McKean
Iowa State Representative, 58th Dist.

The Need for Campaign Reform 

Our campaigns, at both the state and federal level, are too long, too expensive, and too unpleasant. In fact, they have reached the point that people are becoming increasingly turned off by politics, which is a shame because we need an informed and involved public to make Democracy flourish. The time for reform is long overdue. 

This session, I have introduced five pieces of legislation that could make a positive difference in Iowa campaigns: 

• Make County races non-partisan: One way to reduce the high level of partisanship that often stands in the way of good policy is to consider making our county races non-partisan. I think that most Iowans are more interested in electing the best-qualified person for a county office than what their party affiliation happens to be. Our city council and school board offices are already non-partisan. Why not add our county offices to the list? 

• Move the Primary from June to September: Campaigns are much too long and seem to last forever these days. One way to shorten the process would be to move the primary from June to September. Quite a few states have already done so and I’d like to see Iowa follow their example. 

• Take the “dark money” out of campaigns: Have you noticed TV ads by various “committees” on behalf of individual candidates? These ads that often are negative do not give the public any idea who is behind them. In fact, there is currently no requirement to identify who the contributors are who fund these committees. The State of Montana, on a bi-partisan vote, passed legislation to require the names of the contributors to be made public. I am proposing similar legislation for Iowa and hope that its passage could reduce or end the influence of “dark money” on Iowa campaigns. 

• Voluntary spending limits: The unfortunate Citizens United case prevents setting limits on overall campaign spending. I am proposing legislation that would set up a procedure whereby candidates for a legislative seat could establish voluntary spending limits ($100,000 for the Senate and $50,000 for the House) with means of enforcing them. This would be a step in the right direction. 

• Individual spending limits: The courts have found individual contributions limits to be constitutional. Iowa is one of only 11 states that have no limitation on what an individual, political action committee, or political party can contribute to campaigns. I have introduced legislation that would establish limits for individuals, political action committees, and political parties. 

I think Iowans are sick and tired of politics as usual. These five bills would be a step in improving our campaigns and restoring public confidence in the political process. 

Making Childcare Accessible & Affordable for Iowa Families 

Iowa faces a childcare crisis in both urban and rural areas. While it directly impacts families with small kids, it’s also a drag on Iowa’s economy and a huge barrier in recruiting and building a skilled workforce. House Democrats are proposing four ideas to reduce the cost of child care and make it more accessible here in Iowa. 

As Iowa’s average cost of childcare continues to rise, legislators plan to expand the Child Care and Dependent Care Tax Credit. It will provide twice as much relief to working families that make less than $45,000 and expand the tax credit to more Iowa families. 

According to the Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral, Iowa has lost 40 percent of its child care providers since 2012. A new Child Care Center and Child Development Home Grant Fund would provide startup or expansion assistance to daycare providers to offset the costs of establishing a new licensed childcare center. 

In the last five years, the cost of licensed childcare facilities has risen 28 percent and in-home care costs rose by 14 percent. The proposal would expand the Child Care Assistance Program to include another 7,300 children by raising eligibility to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. 

Finally, there are 412 cities in Iowa that have no known childcare options. The plan offered by lawmakers this year encourages more small businesses to provide child care benefits to their employees through tax credits. 

If you want more information about our proposal visit, https:// 


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