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The Change That Should Be

Welcome 2017! Yesterday, the Iowa Legislature convened for the 87th General Assembly and today, Governor Branstad gave his last Condition of the State address. In less than two weeks, President-Elect Trump will be sworn in to office. It feels like we are on the fast track. Hold on for the ride!

Since the election, Every Child Matters in Iowa has been involved in opportunities to engage our allies around children and working family issues. Federally and on a state level, it has become clear that policy changes affecting services for our kids are on the table.

Iowa is facing the trifecta of leadership with a Republican controlled House, Senate and Governor’s office. This is the first time since 1998 that Republicans have been in this position, coincidentally also while Governor Branstad was in office. The last trifecta in Iowa was held by the Democrats in 2010, under Governor Culver.

Over the past few weeks, speculations have been made about potential changes coming down the pike: changes in education with the implementation of school vouchers that will affect our public schools; a challenge to the rights of unions to bargain for benefits and salaries that could have an impact on working families; a challenge to the minimum wage that could negatively affect the local municipalities that superseded the state’s minimum wage, and declining revenues that will mean little new money for programs that benefit our kids.

At the federal level, a pressing concern is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most commonly known as Obamacare. Congress has taken swift action in 2017 and voted last week to start debate on a budget resolution that will overhaul the ACA, leading to the repeal of the law. The vote could happen as soon as this week!

In Iowa, 150,000 benefit from Medicaid expansion and 45,000 benefit from subsidized coverage through the Marketplace. Repeal could cause more than 230,000 Iowans to lose coverage.

Please, take time out of your day and call Senator Grassley (202-224-3744) and Senator Ernst (202-224-3254) and ask they vote ‘NO’ to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

While we wait and watch as legislation is introduced that could harm our kids, we will work to keep you informed. We need to be THE voice to make sure our kids have a strong education, their physical and mental health needs are met, families feel supported, and all kids have a shot at the American Dream.

I read a great definition for advocacy the other day:

Advocacy: to change “what is” into “what should be”

This is the time for all of us to step up and share our voices for kids. As we start to work on state and federal issues, we want to hear from you about your interest. Please CLICK HERE.

We look forward to working with you to create the change that “should be”!

Sincerely,

Kelli Soyer, MSW, LMSW
State Director
Every Child Matters in Iowa