Iowa candidates field questions on water, health care, immigration, and more

Water quality and Medicaid were a few of the most talked about issues at a candidate forum recently held by the Center for Rural Affairs and the League of Women Voters of Ames and Story County. Voters were given the opportunity to ask questions in an open forum setting in Nevada, Iowa.

Candidates for the election of Iowa state Senate District 25, Chad Buss, of Parkersburg, and Annette Sweeney, of Alden, answered questions from district residents. Issues were raised such as farm conservation, clean energy, health care, clean water, and local infrastructure.

A Nevada resident was concerned with the quality of her tap water, and wished to see some change in both water quality and city infrastructure. Both candidates agreed water quality is an issue they care about and would work hard on.

Other questions were asked about the privatization of Medicaid, the future of the Leopold Center of Sustainable Agriculture, local control – especially fireworks, rural development, solar energy, and immigration.

Buss and Sweeney mostly agreed, but held differences on immigration, solar energy, and privatizing Medicaid.

Buss, a Marine veteran and manager of a chiropractic business, was motivated to run for office after the shift to privatized Medicaid resulted in more administrative costs and less reimbursements. He does not think privatization should be reversed; however, he admitted Medicaid ran more smoothly before the shift. Sweeney believes more analysis and oversight is needed and supports staying the course with privatized Medicaid.

Sweeney spoke of her experience in rural development expanding on-farm solar, affordable housing, and rural broadband. Buss also supports these topics.

On immigration, Buss emphasized enforcement of current laws and expressed frustration with a lack of progress on reform. Sweeney’s primary concerns on immigration reform are tied to farm labor.

District 25 includes Hardin and Grundy counties, and parts of Butler and Story counties. Constituents voted for the district seat in the primary election on June 5, and will vote in the general election on Nov. 6. Currently occupying the seat is Sweeney, who won a special election in April to replace Republican Sen. Bill Dix, who resigned in March.

This forum was the first in our summer series of legislative and candidate forums around the state. With many open legislative seats, 2018 is looking to be an exciting election year in Iowa. We aim to provide public spaces for honest dialogue and civic engagement in rural communities. Stay tuned for updates on future events by joining our email list.

For more information, contact Katie Rock at 515.215.1294 or katier@cfra.org.