The best piece of advice I ever received—look at what people do, not what they say. When you study actions instead of words, it gives you a clear view of the individual’s character. It is easy to say all the right things. ‘Not so easy to carry through.
A perfect example is the successful campaigns that promised jobs for the thousands of Iowans currently needing one. Those poor desperate people swarmed to the polls with such hope. So, the first action by Governor Branstad and the Iowa House should have been related to jobs for Iowans (the Iowa Senate didn’t lose control from the previous election, so our expectations remain at the same level).
What was one of the first actions by Governor Branstad? Almost immediately after taking office, he signed Executive Order 70, taking away the right to vote for many people that have left the correctional system. An important factor that most people don’t understand is that social issues such as substance abuse, mental illness, domestic abuse, etc. have landed in the correctional environment and current laws place them there instead of a more appropriate location. Policymakers argue there isn’t money for long-term substance abuse treatment or mental health facilities. There is money for prisons. Felons today consist mainly of people struggling with addiction and mental illness. Since ex-felons will now have to apply to Governor Branstad to reinstate their voting rights, he has the power to screen who may vote and who may not. Not a viable system for a healthy democracy.
Let’s look at the actions from the Iowa House for Iowa jobs. One of the first bills being heavily pushed through the House is a government regulation for providing a government issued photo ID in order to vote. The strange part to this action is that Republicans are the pushers. Aren’t they supposed to be against government regulations? There have been no convictions of voter fraud in Iowa. Why would this bill have priority over measures to secure jobs for Iowans? This bill would make it difficult, if not impossible for many poor people to vote. Even if the government issued photo ID is free, funding or even finding transportation to the Iowa Department of Transportation to acquire the mandated government issued photo ID is not possible for the very poor. Thereby effectively blocking a voting bloc that tends to vote Democrat. Not very sporting behavior.
‘Almost forgot a key and disturbing action. Governor Branstad and the Iowa House were directed to sign the executive order and push the bill by the newly-elected Secretary of State. The disturbing part—they did. Why exactly does the Secretary of State appear to have more power than Governor Branstad and the Iowa House? Has it become the job of the Iowa Secretary of State to screen voters instead of register them?
And now. Drum roll please. The moment you’ve been waiting for. The actions that support the words of the newly-elected officials that they will create jobs for Iowans…well there is always next term. The first priority is securing their reelection.
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