DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds tried to establish her own identity as she stood before lawmakers in her historic Condition of the State Address on Tuesday.
Iowa has never had a woman deliver the annual speech in its 172-year history. Reynolds embraced the moment, saying, “What a country and state we live in, where a small town girl from rural Iowa can become governor and have the opportunity to serve Iowans at the highest level. I hope that can be an inspiration to every waitress, every grocery checker, every overworked and stressed out mom, and the little girls who dare to dream: In Iowa, if you’re willing to work for it, those dreams can come true.”
Reynolds shared her thoughts on what the day was like in this interview during the Channel 13 News at 4.
During her speech, she never mentioned her predecessor Terry Branstad--the country's longest-ever serving governor and for whom she served as lieutenant governor--but she did criticize the transition he led to privatize the state's Medicaid delivery services. "I still believe managed care is the right decision for Iowa, but it has become very clear that mistakes were made in how it was done," Reynolds told lawmakers.
Democrats, who have been sharply critical of the transition, rose to their feet, eventually joined by some Republicans. Afterward, State Senator Nate Boulton of Des Moines, a candidate for governor, held a news conference. He said, "It's good to admit that mistakes have been made but the primary mistake that was made was switching to this private managed care system in the first place. It's threatening the health security of thousands of Iowans and we need a new course of action."
Reynolds also pushed for tax cuts for individuals and stressed it is a necessity because of the federal tax cuts passed by Republicans in Washington, D.C. .
"Here’s the thing," Reynolds said, "because of an outdated provision in Iowa’s tax code, Iowans will see a tax increase if we don’t pass tax reform at the state level. Iowa is one of only three states that allow taxpayers to deduct their federal taxes. While that might sound like a good thing, right now it’s not."
There will be no Iowa tax reductions for most companies under Reynolds' immediate plans. She wants lawmakers to study corporate tax cuts and whether they can get rid of any tax credits and work on those changes the following year.
The governor also addressed the sexual harassment scandals that have plagued the country, including the Iowa Statehouse, where former Republican Senate Communications Director Kirsten Anderson settled her lawsuit for $1.75 million after she said she was fired after complaining about sexual harassment she suffered on the job.
Overall, the governor called for a 2.7% increase in state spending next year, but she also had to complete $35 million in emergency spending cuts to the current budget year by calling for reductions and appropriations. The governor also plans to budget $55 million for each of the next two years to pay back some of the money borrowed for previous budget shortfalls.
Democratic candidate for governor Andy McGuire of Des Moines offered this statement:
“Today, Gov. Reynolds delivered her first Condition of the State address filled with lots of promises and political rhetoric. Only time will tell if her administration is truly committed to taking action and correcting her mistakes or if they are more of the same empty, election-year promises that we’ve seen from previous Branstad/Reynolds administrations."