Candidates for Iowa Governor Talk Kids and Families with the Children’s Policy Coalition

“I think it starts with supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage, because that’s a floor. …We know $15 an hour is not a living wage, but it’s a lot better than the $7.25 where we are now.” That was former Iowa Democratic Party chair and gubernatorial candidate Dr. Andy McGuire’s response to a question about child poverty, one of many posed to her by members of the Children’s Policy Coalition (CPC) during our May 1st meeting.

Members of the Children’s Policy Coalition with Dr. Andy McGuire

The Coalition, made up of some 30 state-based organizations committed to raising children’s issues in state and federal elections, has invited all major party gubernatorial candidates to discuss challenges facing Iowa’s kids and families—from the need for affordable high-quality child care and early learning, to ensuring family economic security, to safeguarding kids’ health, safety and general well-being.

Dr. McGuire was one of six Democrats and Republican incumbent Kim Reynolds invited to meet with the group. A week later, we sat down with another candidate, former US Department of Agriculture official John Norris. “We’ve got to find the revenue to be able to support fully funding child care throughout the state,” he said in response to a question about the lack of quality, affordable early childhood education in Iowa. The CPC also met with retired businessman Fred Hubbell on May 14, who stressed the importance of public-private partnerships to address some of these issues. You can read coverage of the meeting in the Des Moines Register and his written responses to the Coalition’s questionnaire.

Members of the Children’s Policy Coalition with John Norris

Most recently, the CPC talked with nurse and union organizer Cathy Glasson on May 22nd. On the topic of safety and security, she expressed, “The best way to reduce child abuse is to reduce stresses on families by ensuring they have health care, housing and a well-paying job.”

The candidates each provided thoughtful answers to all the questions we posed. You can find full videos of the meetings with transcripts as well as written responses to our questionnaire at the CPC website. Check them out!

Our next governor will have significant influence when it comes to issues affecting the well-being of Iowa’s kids and families. Voting in the primary is an important first step in being a voice for our kids. Iowa’s Primary election day is June 5 – just a week away!

–Jill Applegate, Program Manager, Every Child Matters in Iowa