Editor’s note: The Iowa State Daily reached out to Gov. Kim Reynolds six times for an interview and received no response.
Incumbent Kim Reynolds (R-IA) faces challenges from Democratic candidate Deidre Dejear and Libertarian candidate Rick Stewart for the position of governor.
Meet the candidates
Reynolds was the first woman to be elected as governor of Iowa in 2018. Reynolds grew up in Madison County and graduated from Interstate 35 Community Schools in 1977, according to the Office of the Governor’s website. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 2016 while she served as lieutenant governor.
Deidre DeJear earned a bachelor’s degree from Drake University in 2016. She owns Caleo Enterprises, a business consultancy company, and serves as a consultant for the African American Leadership Forum of Des Moines.
Rick Stewart is running as a Libertarian candidate against Reynolds and DeJear. Hailing from Maquoketa, Iowa, Stewart said his family has been established in Iowa since 1853. Stewart received an associates degree in agricultural mechanics, his bachelor’s degree from Coe College and a Master’s in Business Administration. He founded Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a cooperative which employs over 600 employees according to Libertarian party Co-Chair and Information Technologies Director Benjamin Held.
DeJear said the first thing she would do if elected is address reproductive rights is codify Roe v. Wade.
“The Supreme Court was our safeguard in protecting a woman’s right to choose, and now that they have relinquished their duty to the states, governors are now on the front line of protecting that right,” DeJear said.
According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, Reynolds aims to enact a ban on abortions after six weeks, as she also has requested for the Iowa Supreme Court to reexamine her proposed 24-hour wait on abortions.
“She will never back down in protecting every human life, including the unborn child,” according to Reynold’s website.
DeJear said Reynold’s “extreme position” on reproductive rights causes harm to women instead of creating opportunities for women to be healthy. DeJear said that Reyonlds also aims to decrease access to reproductive healthcare.
“We have to expand access to reproductive healthcare in general because unfortunately, the governor’s crusade against choice has not only limited access to abortion in the state, but it’s also limited access to routine reproductive healthcare,” DeJear said.
By routine reproductive healthcare, DeJear said she was referring to access to OBGYNs and contraceptives.
Stewart said the government–from federal, state and local–should have no position in regard to abortion. He said he would try and eliminate any law that uses the word abortion, as he believes individuals should be left with the decision.
He said the topic of abortion has been debated for ages, and that no governmental entity will come up with a proper way to address the issue.
“Now, how could any politician claim that they’re going to come up with a better answer than the ones that we’ve already got that are all different?” Stewart said.
According to a study conducted in 2018 by the Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral, 41% of cities in Iowa have children but no known child care. Stewart identified the childcare deserts across Iowa as government-made deserts.
“Child care in America was doing just fine,” Stewart said, “and then the government decided that they would make it better, and it’s been going downhill ever since then.”
Stewart said the deregulation of child care in Iowa would help communities in childcare deserts address the deficit.
“So get rid of the Iowa statute that regards child care and prices will go down, and people will be happier,” Stewart said. “Child care workers will be happier, people that own child care centers will be happier, parents will be happier–there’s nothing negative about it. Just get rid of the government.”
DeJear said she wants to ensure that every 3 and 4-year-old in the state has access to at least 30 hours of early childhood education.
“Childcare providers are not glorified babysitters–they’re educating our future students,” DeJear said.
Dejar said giving children access to early childhood education will better prepare them for kindergarten, citing interactions she has had with kindergarten teachers across the state.
“Kindergarten teachers are telling me the students are coming in less and less prepared, and then three years later, it’s shown in their third-grade reading scores,” DeJear said.
DeJear added that she would also like to provide a pathway for those in high school to attain the skills needed to operate childcare facilities.
DeJear said to address the workforce shortage in Iowa, she would establish ways for adults to be retained and access education.
“But filling the job isn’t the end-all-be-all,” DeJear said. “What we’re going to do is increase access to child care in the state, [and] what we’re also going to do is increase access to housing in the state as well.”
DeJear said retraining adults, access to child care and access to affordable housing will strengthen Iowan’s ability to remain stable and procure jobs.
Stewart said the cheapest and easiest way to address the workforce shortage in Iowa is to eliminate occupational licensing.
“I would probably eliminate all occupational licensing in the state,” Stewart said. “It’s not necessary. It reduces the number of people that can do that job.”
Stewart said the requirement to receive an occupational license from the state is largely bureaucratic, and that receiving a license does not add any value or safety for Iowans.
“The state has to hire lots of workers to run their occupational licensing schemes, and it forces people to not work,” Stewart said. “I mean, why would you have to go to college for two years to be a barber?”
Before 2021, DeJear said the state had common sense gun legislation.
“Last year for some reason, our governor thought that those safety nets no longer needed to exist,” DeJear said.
As a holder of a gun permit, Dejear said nobody asked for Reynolds to decrease the restrictions surrounding firearm procurement. She added that as she has talked to members of law enforcement, they express a desire for some type of safety net to be enacted.
DeJear said the amendment set to be on the ballot, which would hold any legislation attempting to address firearms under strict scrutiny, will just hinder the ability for future legislators to pass any legislation in regard to firearms.
“Even folks with legal opinions say that this is very, very dangerous, and it’s not something that’s good for the character of our state,” DeJear said.