(This is the second installment of a continuing seriesÂ posing 3 questions to Republican candidates statewide)Â
Vicki Stogdill is running for the seat representing Senate District 18 in the Iowa Legislature.Â She has been campaigning hard for months to give this traditionally Democratic territory a new voiceÂ at the State House.Â Every race in theÂ Iowa SenateÂ this year is of utmost importance, andÂ Stogdill’sÂ effort to engage the voters of District 18Â will reveal much about the Iowa electorate at large.Â Â Voters both in and out of her district should take the timeÂ to check out her positions and background on her website, and to showÂ her support in any way they can.Â She brings to the table a long career in small business andÂ a host of new ideas to strengthen Iowa’s communities and economy.
Recently, Vicki was kind enough to sit down with The Conservative Reader:Iowa to talk about her campaign and answer three questions that will have a direct impact both on her constituents and the state of Iowa.
1.) Nearly 28% of the voters in your district are not registered with either political party, what two things would you like these folks to know about you and your candidacy before they vote in November?
A.Â I ran as an Independent/NP candidate in 2008 â€“ which demonstrates that Iâ€™m not afraid to stand up for principles before a party affiliation.Â I wonâ€™t support a bill thatâ€™s not good for Iowa, regardless of party recommendations.Â Â I want to foster greater cooperation between the two parties.Â People are tired of the â€œpartisanshipâ€ at our State Capitol, and Iâ€™d like to help minimize that.Â Instead of the two parties going to their â€œopposing cornersâ€ in a disagreement, I will attempt to sit down and discuss where there are differences and find common ground, without compromising on principle.Â I will put â€œpeople before politics.â€
B.Â I will self-impose term limits to allow more Iowans to have a chance to participate in the process.Â I want to bring my business experience, creativity and problem-solving skills to the Iowa Capitol and have a positive influence on improving the future of our State.Â Letâ€™s bring fresh ideas and perspective to the discussion.
2.) Education is both an issue you are passionate about and one that will be front and center next session.Â What major reforms need to be implemented to improve results state-wide (and in Des Moines especially), and why should voters resist the urge to not make these changes?
First of all, I donâ€™t claim to have all the answers on how to â€œfixâ€ Iowaâ€™s Education system.Â However, I believe one of the biggest keys to restoring our State to excellence in education is to restore more local control to school districts.Â I am also a strong proponent of giving parents more choices in educating their children, and to having the dollars “follow the child” in those choices.
Iowa should repeal the â€œcore curriculumâ€ mandates and instead offer recommendations which would allow local school districts to decide how and what to teach again.Â Locally elected school boards and administrators should make curriculum decisions based on the needs of their community, such as whether to enhance vocation programs for kids who do not choose a 4-year college after graduation, etc.Â The Iowa Dept. of Education should be downsized to serve as an advisory support agency instead of an umbrella.Â The State should continue to license and certify teachers.Â School districts should conduct annual assessments (such as ITBS) and scores should be published locally for taxpayers to see what kind of results they are getting for their investment.Â The State would only step in if a school district is consistently under-performing.
While technology and cutting edge learning must be a priority — we can’t lose sight of the “tried and true” teaching methods and foundational basics that have served us well in the past.Â And throwing out “old” methods just because theyâ€™re old isn’t necessarily progress.Â Teachers should have the ability to use their creativity again – to inspire kids to learn, with oversight from their local school administrators and school boards, instead of the State.Â Iowa must stop trying to mold each child into a cookie-cutter curriculum and teaching methodology that obviously isnâ€™t working. Iowa should continue to reject â€œNo Child Left Behindâ€ mandates.
In Des Moines our test scores and drop-out rates demonstrate that local voters need to recruit better local school board candidates and then â€œclean houseâ€ at the voting booth.Â The results of our local schools are unacceptable at best, and it is not the job of the State to fix it â€“ it is the responsibility of the community to demand it.Â Local taxpayers must hold their local school boards and administrators accountable.Â When searching for administrators, we should look first at the wealth of Iowa educators who are qualified to lead our schools â€“ instead of conducting expensive searches to bring in out-of-state educators.Â Â We have more than enough talented educators in Iowa who already know the landscape, challenges and history of our state.
A few other ideas that are worthy of consideration are to implement a dress code so students could focus on learning instead of fashion, which might also improve discipline and respect in our classrooms.Â We must also realize that itâ€™s not the job of schools to â€œsocially engineerâ€ our kidsâ€”that task is the duty and responsibility of parents.Â In the Iowa Senate, I will work with educators, parents and the business community to arrive at recommendations which will prepare students for a career path after graduation.Â Iowans deserve better than what weâ€™re currently delivering in Education, and I will work tirelessly to achieve positive results for Iowaâ€™s kids, parents and taxpayers.
3.)Â Should you prevail in November and enter the Iowa Senate, what are the two or three votes you would most like to cast, and why?
While there are many bills Iâ€™m passionate about seeing passed â€“ these three are among the most commonly suggested from my constituents, so they will be top priorities for me in the upcoming session:
A.Â Voter ID â€“ because NOT verifying the identity of voters is unconstitutional â€“ and my vote is disenfranchised when fraud is allowed to potentially cancel it out.
B.Â Â Property tax reform â€“ on all classes of property.Â For businesses, this will spur more expansion and investment which in turn will create more jobs when we stop penalizing the very engine of economic growth.Â For homeowners it will mean leaving more money in the pockets of those who earned it. For farmers, it will mean using a funding formula that doesnâ€™t penalize them for success.
C.Â Â Education Reform, as discussed above.