Election 2020 Q&A: Dave Degner
Iowa Senate District 36
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
Name: Dave Degner
Profession: Truck driver/driver instructor
Education: North Tama HS (’96), BA in Political Science and Intl. Affairs, University of Northern Iowa (’20)
Experience: I grew up working on our family farm, and was a small business owner for 15 years in the transportation industry. I was in the US Army Reserve for 9 years, I have worked as a Community College instructor for 3 years, and currently drive a truck for a local company as well as a volunteer driver for the Northeast Iowa Foodbank and Chair for the Tama Co. Democrats.
1. What do you feel are the three most important issues Tama County will be facing during your term as a state senator? How do you plan to address those issues?
I believe the three most important issues facing folks in Tama County are access to affordable health care, which includes mental health care and women’s health care needs. The first step that needs to be made, is addressing the absolute disaster that has been medicaid privatization. Second, is our public education system. The attacks on teachers and public employees must stop, and funding for our public schools has not kept up with inflation. Public money should go to public schools, and be adequate enough to provide the best possible education available for our students. Our students and our teachers deserve better, and they will finally become a priority again once I am elected. And finally, water quality. Our water and our environment should not simply be an afterthought. We need a robust plan to clean up our waterways, and incentivize renewable energy solutions for farmers and homeowners, such as solar and geothermal, and provide low cost funding options for small rural communities to take more ownership in their own energy production, by installing their own wind turbines.
2. Healthcare costs and access to healthcare have been challenges for rural areas like Tama County, which is without a hospital and has areas struggling to provide 24-hour emergency services. How will you meet those challenges in the state senate?
Access to health care is priority number one. First, we expand medicaid coverage, and aggressively seek out ways to offer more health care options through the marketplace, whether they be private, public or hybrid programs, low cost options need to be available to all Iowans. Mental healthcare and women’s healthcare options must be available, and I believe that we should be offering incentives such as more scholarships and student loan forgiveness for doctors and health care workers who live and work in rural Iowa. We can also find ways to encourage county or community based health care cooperatives, and immediately make emergency management and first responders essential public services in the State of Iowa.
3. What efforts would you promote in next year’s legislative session to allow Tama County’s land, environment, and agriculture economy to thrive together?
What I often hear from farmers is that they feel they are being penalized or silenced by Des Moines. When we move forward on solutions to address water quality and environmental protections, farmers need to have a seat at the table. We get things done when we work together. Instead of penalizing, let’s give farmers and landowners increased incentives and the tools they need to lead the way in protecting our water, air and soil. Agriculture fuels our state economy, and we can’t afford to put any more burden on them in a time of record low commodity prices and trade disputes.
4. Why should voters in Tama County vote for you on November 3rd?
In the current political climate of extreme negative partisanship, I believe that people are looking for someone who puts politics aside, and focuses simply on providing solutions to our shared problems. And I say shared, because the cost of, and access to health care is a problem that affects both liberals and conservatives. Water quality in our state does not care if you are liberal or conservative, and the best investment we can make for our children’s future is to provide them with the absolute best public education available for all students. We currently have elected officials that only care about their core base of supporters, and ignore the rest of their constituents. This is shameful. The majority of people are not far left or far right, most of us fall somewhere in the middle, and we deserve representation in our statehouse that reflects that. I believe that as an elected legislator, I have an obligation to represent all of the people in this district, whether they voted for me or not. That does not mean we are always going to agree on everything, we are not. But once elected, I will listen to everyone, and will talk with anyone. I will be the voice of all people of district 36 in the Iowa Senate, and I have an obligation to do what is best for all of them, and not ignore those who did not vote for me. That means I am also willing to work with fellow Republican lawmakers to try to find common ground, as long as we are always putting the people of this district first.