By Kelly Terpstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
The midterm election is fast approaching for Iowans — 68 days from Thursday to be precise.
Troy Price was quick to point out that countdown during a stop in Charles City on Wednesday.
“Look who’s counting,” he joked.
Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, has been touring the state in recent weeks to get the word out about his party with the big election date of November 6 looming.
At the top of his list of issues to tackle and help change at the ballot box is what he said is the lack of funding for education under current Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Price gave several examples such as the kindergarten teacher in Davenport who only received $25 for the whole school year to purchase supplies. Price said she spent $1,000 out of her own pocket to equip her students with the resources necessary to help them learn better.
“The governor says that we just don’t have money. Well the fact is we don’t have money because she’s given it all away to out–of–state corporations,” said Price.
Price also recalled talking to someone in Dubuque that knew of a school in northeast Iowa that had 36–40 kids in its classroom. He said the student–teacher ratio goal should be 17-1.
He also said that 64 school buildings in the state have been closed in the last five years.
“When the schools are not healthy, people know it and people are feeling it out there,” said Price, who took over as chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party in July 2017.
In addition to the underfunding of schools, other states have been cherry–picking teachers away — enticing them with higher pay. Price said the loss of collective bargaining rights in Iowa doesn’t help.
“It’s a real concern,” he said.
Another area that Price said needs fixing is the closure of 36 Iowa Workforce Development Centers over the course of the last seven years. There have been nine shut down just in the past year, he said, and the majority of these closures have been in rural areas.
“That’s meant 100,000 fewer Iowans are accessing Workforce Development services,” said Price.
Price also touched on topics such as the lack of mental health care in the state, as well as the privatization of Medicaid. He said Republicans have made cuts across the board except for tax cuts and credits.
“Those have been held sacred,” he said.
Price said there are 95 Democratic candidates in the 100 districts in Iowa — the most in 30 years.
Price made the rounds on Wednesday morning with a trek to Dubuque, then stopped at Cedar Falls in the afternoon. He made a brief stop in Charles City, then it was off to Mason City and the evening was closed out in Spencer.
The midterm election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.