‘You Can Find a Second Chance,’ Governor Promotes Opportunities in Annual Address
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican in her first full term, stood before lawmakers Tuesday with the opportunity to establish her legacy.
Reynolds, the state’s former Republican lieutenant governor, ascended to governor when Terry Branstad left to become U.S. Ambassador to China in 2017.
Reynolds delivered the traditional Condition of the State Address in 2018. But this year, it was her first chance to do so after voters elected her to the position last November.
"A place where it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, young or old, male or female," Reynolds told lawmakers assembled in the House chamber, "...where your last name and zip code aren’t nearly as important as your ability to dream and willingness to reach for it. A place where, if life got in the way of those dreams, you can make a new start. And if you’ve made mistakes, you can find a second chance."
Reynolds told of the need to expand opportunities for those not living the benefits of the state's improved economy, an economy that she called "soaring."
Among her proposals:
--A constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights for non-violent felons after they leave prison. That idea may face some Republican opposition.
--$20 million for increased rural broadband access, something Branstad previously failed to convince lawmakers to do with property tax credits.
--A 2.3 percent per student funding increase for K-12 public schools. The current year saw just a 1 percent increase, which districts complained didn't even keep pace with the cost of inflation. House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard, of Charles City, wants at least 3 percent.
--$20 million to fund the governor's signature piece of legislation from last year, Future Ready Iowa, which would provide scholarships for students to receive post-high school education.
--$3 million for teacher training to recognize signs of mental illness in children.