I want to begin by saying; what a session!
This was truly one for the history books: 6 different months, 25 weeks, 172 calendar days and 91 total days of session.
As we finally close the books on this session, I think history will ultimately view this session as the real beginning of a transformation progression for Iowa. It solidifies my belief that Republicans must gain the majority in the Senate.
When the voters spoke last fall, they said they wanted a smaller, more efficient government that taxes less, spends less, promotes an environment where private sector job creation flourishes and encourages freedom, liberty and opportunity.
Republicans have listened to the wishes of the voters and after years of overspending, ever higher taxes and rampant job losses, the tide is beginning to change and a new course is being charted.
When we started this session on that cold January day, Senate Republicans said we wanted to give the citizens back their government and make it more responsive, open and transparent. We said we wanted to spend our time this session focusing on the message the Iowa voters delivered last fall: to concentrate on private sector job creation, remove onerous barriers to economic growth, reduce spending and cut our taxes.
From day one, our mission has been to begin to restore the public trust in government and to move forward on a new agenda.
While there is still much yet to be accomplished when it comes to opening Iowa up for more good paying jobs, we took a major step forward this session by beginning to address the onerous rules and regulations that are holding back job creators and sending jobs across our borders.
Our eleven city "Re-Open Iowa for Business" Rules and Regulations tour generated hundreds of comments, was attended by over 1000 people and truly began to push the conversation toward removing -- instead of building up the barriers that are hindering the success of our people.
In the coming weeks, Senate Republicans will be releasing our report on the tour, which will include specific policy and procedure changes that must be implemented to ensure Iowa is friendlier to those who wish to invest in our communities and our workforce.
When it comes to encouraging private sector job creation and the over 100,000 Iowans that are still unacceptably out of work, Senate Republicans look forward to continuing to be a leader on all issues related to job creation.
Though it took the full six months to accomplish, we finally have a budget that funds our core essential services without employing the kinds of reckless budgeting gimmicks that have put our state in financial peril in recent years.
As we look to the future, we will continue to work hard to find savings, eliminate waste and offer systemic reforms that will result in a leaner and more efficient delivery of services for the people that elected us to serve as their voice and their vote.
In order to make our state more competitive for jobs, we must have lower property taxes. Unfortunately, the property taxpayers of Iowa will not get the comprehensive tax reform that they deserve this session.
Whether it is property or income taxes, there is still plenty of work yet to be done to make Iowa more competitive for all of those who wish to call our great state home.
In addition to the budget, job creation and taxes, there are still challenges that must be addressed in other areas in the coming year.
We must get past the partisan obstructionism and finally address legislation that bans late-term abortions so communities like Council Bluffs can avoid becoming the "Late-Term Abortion Mecca of the Midwest." In addition, it is wrong for Senate Democrats to continue to obstruct a vote of the people on the basic definition of marriage, defying the unmistakable message delivered by the voters last election.
I believe it is essential that we help those along our western border as they battle the flooding. They, like other flooding victims, are a wonderful example of the resiliency and profound sense of community that exists amongst the people of Iowa.
Make no mistake; our work does not end today. It is only just beginning and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
Thank you for giving me the honor of serving as your State Senator. Please feel free to contact me with your questions, comments and ideas. I can be reached at 712-898-2505 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to forward my newsletter on to your family and friends.