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These are the real issues Rita is ready to fight for.

Tackling Political Corruption In Washington

Too often in Washington, the loudest and most powerful voices drown out the rest of us. Special interests are able to use money and influence to stymie progress on all the issues we need action on – lowering the cost of health care, investing in education, and raising wages for everyone. That’s why Rita wants the first bill she votes on to be tackling political corruption in Washington.

In Congress, Rita will work to:

  • Close the revolving door by banning members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, permanently.
  • Prevent conflicts of interest by banning members of Congress from owning individual stocks or serving on corporate boards.
  • Pass a “No budget, no pay” law so members of Congress are forced to do their job in a timely fashion.
  • Get dark, unaccountable money out of politics by reversing the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
  • Let voters pick their representatives instead of letting politicians pick their voters by ending partisan gerrymandering.

Jobs And Growing Our Economy

Rita understands that no matter where you live — a city, a small town, or out in the country — every Iowan should have the opportunity and security that comes with a good job with good benefits. Rita founded the Clinton County Economic Development Coordinating Council and created a framework for small-town mayors to work together to spur economic growth.

In Congress, Rita will work to:

  • Spur job creation and improve coordination between local governments, economic development organizations, and businesses by appointing a full-time staffer to focus on economic development in the district.
  • Look out for families and businesses hurt by the coronavirus crisis and do everything we can to get people back on their feet and back to work—safely.
  • Invest in education by reducing the cost of college and increasing the availability of high-quality job training and apprenticeships.
  • Close the connectivity gap, provide work from home opportunities, and ensure small business the opportunity to compete by investing in rural broadband.
  • Increase take-home pay for working Iowans. That starts by raising the minimum wage.
  • Tackle the national debt and deficit so we do not pass a crushing debt onto our children and grandchildren.
  • Expand affordable, quality child-care options for all families.

Making Health Care More Affordable And Accessible

Ensuring access to quality, affordable health care is personal for Rita. Her mom lived with a damaged heart for most of her life as a result of a battle with rheumatic fever when she was young. Rita’s mother spent years in and out of local hospitals and the Mayo Clinic. Only the miracles of modern science allowed her to live a longer and healthier life.
Tragedy also struck Rita’s nephew, Tucker. After his first year of college, he was accidentally shot and became a quadriplegic. Tucker is fortunate to have affordable insurance that covered his needs, but the providers of the services he needs are dependent on a working Medicaid system. Once already, Tucker had to move after his care providers were unable to continue providing the skilled care he needed.
We all have some version of these stories or know someone who does. Just in the past few months, too many Iowans and Americans have been hurt by the coronavirus including seniors and vulnerable people who have pre-existing conditions.
Fortunately, Rita’s mom and Tucker both had health insurance. Health care should be a right, not a privilege. That means everyone should have access to critical care and no one should go broke because they can’t afford it.

In Congress, Rita will work to:

  • Build on the successes of the Affordable Care act like protecting coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and allowing young people to stay on their parents’ plans.
  • Expand coronavirus testing and contact tracing with federal investment and coordination—we have to know where the virus is circulating so Americans can get back to work.
  • Ensure our hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers have the resources and protective gear they need to keep themselves and our communities safe.
  • Fix Medicaid privatization by repealing the waiver Iowa was granted by the federal government that allows out-of-state MCOs to provide less care while pocketing taxpayer dollars and threatening our rural hospitals.
  • Protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security for our Seniors
  • Create incentives for high-need providers in rural areas like psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and OB-GYNs.
  • Improve access to mental health treatment and guarantee mental health parity.
  • Reduce the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices for seniors, increasing transparency in billing, and making it easier and faster to produce less expensive generic drugs.

Investing In Education

Rita attended Iowa public schools, graduated from North Iowa Area Community College and the University of Northern Iowa, and spent 20 years as a teacher in small rural school districts in eastern Iowa. She taught junior high and high school English and, after leaving the classroom, she ran school-to-work and gifted and talented programs.
Rita has seen firsthand the impact that quality education can have on a person’s life, ensuring that our children have even greater opportunities than we’ve had.

In Congress, Rita will work to:

  • Invest in job training, apprenticeship, continuing education, and public-private partnership programs to provide the next generation with the skills they need for good jobs with livable wages and good benefits.
  • Reduce student college debt by allowing people to renegotiate their loans to get lower interest rates – just like the big banks get every day.
  • Work with educators, instead of politicians who have never been teachers in a classroom, to develop assessments instead of relying on high-stakes, standardized testing.
  • Make early childhood education available to every child and affordable for every family. The research is clear – investments in early childhood development ensure that children have more successful, safer, and healthier lives

Growing Iowa’s Agriculture

Rita has lived in rural Iowa her whole life. She grew up on a dairy farm, taught in rural schools, and owns and operates a corn and soybean farm south of Wheatland, Iowa with her husband Paul. They started on their farm during the depths of the farm crisis while living in a mobile home. Rita describes their farm investment as the best decision she and Paul ever made.

Iowa agriculture has continued to face crisis after crises exacerbated by ill-conceived policies out of Washington. Farm incomes have been declining for a half decade and Washington politicians are making it worse. That doesn’t just hurt farmers. It harms the entire rural economy.

Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit our farmers especially hard, while Washington left them behind, initially excluding them from small business relief.

Rita recognizes that because of climate change and changes in the ag industry, now is the time to lay the groundwork for the future of the ag economy.

In Congress, Rita will work to:

  • Encourage the ingenuity of the great American farmer to find practical solutions and help farmers lead in the fight against climate change by paying for environmental services like sequestering carbon. Make it more economically viable to engage in regenerative practices like planting cover crops, installing edge of field practices, and using research-driven technologies that include precision agriculture.
  • Make sure Iowa farmers hurt by the coronavirus crisis have the relief they deserve and Iowa workers have the protective equipment necessary to keep our supply chain moving.
  • Keep Iowa a leader in green energy by fighting for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and ending the EPA’s waivers to Big Oil companies like Exxon Mobile and Chevron that are depressing prices.
  • Encourage and incentivize research, development and promotion of alternative fuels.
  • Open new markets to our exports while guaranteeing a level-playing field for American workers.

Caring For Our Veterans

We have asked so much of the men and women who have answered the call to serve our country. Our veterans courageously sacrificed for our freedom and security. The very least we must do is keep our promise to them and their families when they return home.

Veterans deserve the best and most efficient health care possible at the Veterans Administration as well as opportunities to find and keep good-paying civilian jobs when they leave military service. Rita worked with veterans and community leaders to create a model Home Base Iowa program in Clinton that created incentives for veterans to move to Clinton and provided community supports so veterans would have opportunities when they return home. She knows firsthand how valuable veterans are to our communities as well as the unique challenges they face transitioning back to civilian life.

In Congress, Rita will work to:

  • Increase education, training and apprentice programs, and partnerships with public and private businesses for veterans to use their unique skills to strengthen our economy.
  • Invest in mental health and homelessness programs to ensure every veteran receives appropriate services and does not fall through the cracks.
  • Adequately fund and hold the VA accountable to ensure our veterans get the top-notch physical and mental health care they deserve while opposing risky schemes like privatizing the VA that hand care over to for-profit companies.
  • Cut bureaucratic red tape, reduce wait times, and expand access to care, especially for veterans in rural communities like ours.