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2018 Issue #10

Issue 10, October 03, 2018

Articles in This Issue:


ELECTION FOCUS: Governor & Congress

Iowans will go to the polls in a few weeks to vote for the people that will repersent them in Congress in Washington DC and as Governor in our State Capitol.  You do not want to wake up the day after the November 6 election and realize you should have voted, that your vote could have made a difference.

We know many of our readers have complained about not knowing enough about the candidates.  This year, we asked the candidates for Governor and two of the state's most competitive Congressional races to tell us about themselves and talk about their vision for long term supports and services for Iowans with disabilities.  We asked them to keep it short - 500 words or less. 

If you see something you like, we hope that you will follow up with the candidates and get involved in their campaigns.  Volunteers can door knock, write postcards, march in parades, make calls, help with office work, poll watch, give rides to the polls, donate, put up yard signs, and more.  Whatever your interests and talents, campaigns are always looking for help.

Some important dates to remember:

  • Monday, October 8:   First Day for Early Voting
    Absentee ballots will be mailed and early voting begins in county auditor offices and at satellite voting locations. Call your county auditor for more information.
  • Monday, October 22:  Worry-Free Postmark Date
    Mailed voter registration forms postmarked on or before this date are considered "on time" to be pre-registered for the election.
     
  • Saturday, October 27:  Voter Pre-Registration Deadline
    The deadline to pre-register to vote and to request an absentee ballot by mail (auditor's offices must be open 8 am to 5 pm on this date).   After this date, a person may register to vote at the auditor’s office or at a satellite absentee voting station and vote an absentee ballot using the same process as registering to vote on election day.  
     
  • Saturday, November 3:  Auditor's Offices Open for Early Voting
    Voters can vote an in-person absentee ballot at their county auditor's office (open 8 am to 5 pm).
     
  • Saturday, November 3: Special Absentee Requests
    Voters admitted to hospitals or nursing homes after midnight on November 3 may call to request delivery of an absentee ballot. Deadline for a telephone request is 5 p.m. on election day (November 6).
     
  • Monday, November 5: In-Person Absentee Ballot Deadline
    Last day to request and vote an absentee ballot in person at your county auditor’s office.
     
  • Tuesday, November 6: ELECTION DAY!  
    Polls are open 7 am to 9 pm.
Need more information?  Contact ID Action at 866-432-2846 or visit idaction.org/vote/

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MEET FRED HUBBELL: Democratic Candidate for Governor

A fifth-generation Iowan and lifelong progressive, Fred Hubbell has spent his life investing in Iowa and working to better his community by putting his time and resources behind expanding access to health care, improving mental health services, and increasing access to higher education opportunities — all while raising a family and running successful businesses. 

A proven leader who knows how to balance a budget, Fred holds vast experience in both the public and private sector. He successfully ran several large companies including Younkers in the 1980s during the farm crisis, and Equitable of Iowa. Fred was twice called to public service. First, in 2007 to lead the Iowa Power Fund, helping Iowa invest and become a leader in renewable energy. Then, in 2009, to help lead the Iowa Department of Economic Development and clean up the disastrous film tax credit scandal. 

Alongside his wife, Charlotte, the Hubbell’s stepped up to help address the mental health crisis by supporting Broadlawns Medical Center in increasing mental health beds by 50 percent and adding two new psychiatrists. For over thirty years, Fred has worked to increase access to quality, affordable health care for every Iowan through his work with Planned Parenthood, and serving as chair of the Mid-Iowa organization in 1984, as well as on the board of Mercy Medical Center. Fred has served on the Iowa College Foundation Board, the Simpson College Board, and personally sponsors numerous scholarships to expand higher education opportunities to more Iowans. 

Following the 2008 flood in Eastern Iowa, Hubbell helped lead a disaster relief campaign, The Embrace Iowa – 2008 Iowa Disaster Fund, donating $2 million for local organizations aiding flood victims. He currently resides in Des Moines, with his wife Charlotte, and has three children and three grandchildren.

Hubbell's Lt. Governor running mate is Rita Hart.  For more information or to get involved in the Hubbell/Hart campaign, go to fredhubbell.com, call 515-664-2351, or email info@fredhubbell.com.

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One in seven Iowans has a disability, and many rely on support services that are funded through local regions or the state’s Medicaid program to live independently.  How will you work to improve Medicaid and Iowa’s regional mental health and disability services system, including ensuring access to home and community based services?

Throughout my career, I’ve worked to expand access to quality health care and support those who provide it. That includes my time on the board of Mercy Hospital, as Chair of Planned Parenthood, and while helping Broadlawns Hospital expand their mental health services.

The decision to privatize Medicaid has been a disaster. More than 40,000 individuals have been denied care or experienced a reduction of services, and it’s shamelessly clear that managed care is costing the state millions of dollars. Managed care has forced more than a dozen businesses to close their doors. Complaints against the MCO’s are up more than 150 percent according to the state Ombudsman. Medical providers continue to struggle with delayed and denied payments, and the complex bureaucracy has made it more difficult to provide routine care.

That's why on Day One of my administration, I am committed to reversing the failed experiment. As governor, I will take steps to immediately prioritize the health care of Iowans and support the good work being done by providers across the state. 

Medicaid should not be a one size fits all program. This is most evident with our state’s long-term services and supports (LTSS) population. We should carve out the LTSS population with minimal disruption and place those individuals back into care that reflects their unique needs. For those who receive home and community based services (HCBS), the state should truly prioritize the waivers that help to keep them in their home and out of costly institutional settings.

Lawmakers must work together to address the chronic underfunding of Medicaid and implement cost strategies that don’t put a target on the state’s most vulnerable populations. The state doesn’t need to choose between compassion for our fellow Iowans, and addressing conditions before they become chronic or require emergency treatment; both are possible and can be cost effective. 

Privatized Medicaid has exacerbated Iowa’s opioid abuse problem. Treatment providers report lengthy delays in care as they seek authorization for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services, only to receive authorization for 7-10 days of treatment when their requests are finally approved. Federal Medicare by contrast, approves MAT services for a period of 12 months.

I’ve spent more than a full year listening to law enforcement, community providers, consumers of mental health care, and their families. Mental health impacts every community in this state and I’m committed to addressing the crisis. It starts with the mental health plan our campaign proposed last December: investing in community based treatment, immediately adding 50 - 75 acute care beds, establishing a youth mental health system, and investing in diversion and substance abuse programs. 

I’m running for governor to put a balanced budget behind the right priorities, including investments in health care and mental health treatment. I have a proven record in the public and private sectors and know how to get our state back on track. Iowa deserves a government as good and decent as its people. It’s time to deliver on that promise together.

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MEET JAKE PORTER: Libertarian Candidate for Governor

Jake Porter was born in 1988 in Missouri, lived in small communities with populations between 100-1000 people for his first 18 years, and graduated from a high school in the Lineville-Clio Community School District which unfortunately had to consolidate several years ago.

HIs political philosophy was largely shaped by something that occurred in the late 1990’s.  His grandmother battled cancer for several years and was waiting for FDA approval to try foreign drugs.   She passed away in early 2001, but the idea that the state could deny someone medication stayed with him.  That is why, a few years ago, he fought the prosecution of the late Benton Mackenzie who was prosecuted by the state of Iowa for using cannabis oil.

He has a BA in Business Administration from AIB College of Business in Des Moines and is a small business marketing consultant.  He has held many position,s Libertarian candidate, Presidential campaigns (including Chief of Staff) and has been a Business Manager for a weekly newspaper in St. Joseph (Missouri), retail store manager, Yahoo! and Apple employee, and Secretary of State candidate.  

Porter's Lt. Governor running mate is Lynne Gentry.  For more information or to get involved in the Porter/Gentry campaign, go to jakeporter.org, call 515-361-5428, or email jake@jakeporter.org.

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One in seven Iowans has a disability, and many rely on support services that are funded through local regions or the state’s Medicaid program to live independently.  How will you work to improve Medicaid and Iowa’s regional mental health and disability services system, including ensuring access to home and community based services?
 
I would revert Medicaid back to the system we had before the privatization took place.  We can then work with all stakeholders including the people on these plans to make the system better.  The Governor should not act as a dictator especially when it comes to decisions that impact tens of thousands of Iowans.  Additionally, people with large state contracts shouldn’t be able to donate to the politicians that negotiate their contracts.

The state should look at opening additional mental health facilities where it makes sense and the Governor should involve stakeholders and the members of the legislature in any action taken.  I don’t believe this was done when the mental health facilities were closed.  
 
As Governor, I would encourage the legislature to not treat addiction issues as criminal justice issues as doing so increase costs to the taxpayers and makes it less likely that people will seek treatment for their addiction if they believe they will be prosecuted for having the addiction.  
 
Sound budgeting and prioritizing spending will resolve the mid-year budget cuts we have witnessed in the past few years.  The state should not spend more money than they take in which forces cuts to money already allocated by the legislature for programs such as these.  By ending corporate welfare to large financially sound corporations, we will make great progress in balancing the state’s budget.

I will be a Governor for all Iowans and will not tolerate any discrimination by the state or my administration to anyone with a mental or physical disability.

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MEET KIM REYNOLDS: Republican Candidate for Governor

Kim Reynolds understands the challenges families face because she’s faced them herself. A fifth-generation Iowan, she grew up in a working-class family in St. Charles, Iowa. A recognized leader in state and local issues, Kim served as county treasurer and state senator before becoming Lieutenant Governor and Governor.

As Lt. Governor, she served as the chairwoman of the National Lt. Governors Association. In this role, she led nationwide discussions on policy, economic development, and issues affecting states across the country. 

Kim has made Iowa a national leader in STEM education; and she’s led economic development trade missions to China, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, working towards increased exports, more foreign direct investment and new jobs for Iowa. 

Throughout her entire life, Kim Reynolds has never forgotten her working class roots. As a teenager she worked as a waitress at Younkers, and later as a checker at Hy-Vee all while raising a young family and getting her college degree. 

That’s why her top priorities as governor are creating good-paying jobs, cutting taxes, investing in public schools, and increasing opportunity in every part of Iowa. Kim and her husband, “First Dude” Kevin, have been married 36 years, have three daughters and nine grandchildren. 

Reynolds' Lt. Governor running mate is Adam Gregg.  For more information or to get involved in the Reynolds/Gregg campaign, go to reynoldsgregg.com, call 515-361-5428, or email info@reynoldsgregg.com.

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One in seven Iowans has a disability, and many rely on support services that are funded through local regions or the state’s Medicaid program to live independently.  How will you work to improve Medicaid and Iowa’s regional mental health and disability services system, including ensuring access to home and community based services?

Regarding the new managed care system, I need to be able to look Iowans in the eyes and make sure that I have a program that is sustainable and will be able to take care of their loved ones for the long term.  Not only today but tomorrow and into the future. The old system was not going to allow us to do that.

In order to guarantee that those most vulnerable Iowans today, and in generations to come, have the necessary care available to them, we had to make adjustments to the system.

As I was preparing to be sworn in as the Governor of the State of Iowa, as I traveled the state and it became abundantly clear that mistakes had been made. I said in my Condition of the State that I believe this is still the right direction, and I do, but I also acknowledged that mistakes have been made. 

I’ve made several changes over the past year the current managed care system. First, I brought in new leadership to the Department of Human Services. I asked Director Foxhoven to look at the system; I wanted to know if this was the right direction to go or if we need to do something different. I asked him for his honest opinion. When he came back to me, he said managed care was the direction we needed to go, but some changes had to be made. So we sat down and we started systematically looking at what we needed to do to stop and take care of some of the concerns I had heard. 

Iowa will soon bring in another Managed Care provider so that people will continue to have choices. I believe competition is a good thing. 

We brought in a new, independent, actuary, which made recommendations for what the rates should be. We invested more money into the system because we needed to.  This year, when we did the contract negotiations, it was based on experience. Two years of experience. We didn’t have that before.  

I absolutely will not continue to travel across the state and meet with people who are providing services to our loved ones and hear that they are not being paid for the services that they are providing. There are new requirements to ensure accurate and timely payments.  There are financial penalties.  Failure to pay these providers, in a timely manner, will result in their money being withheld.  

And we are going to circle back and we are going to figure out what we need to do next. If anybody tells you we need to go back to old system, that’s not true, we just can’t. The old system is not sustainable; we don’t have the infrastructure there. 

I am working hard to make sure we are doing better, and I’m going to continue to stay on top of it as we move forward so that I can look parents in the eyes and tell them that we are going to have a system in place that will be there today, tomorrow, and into the future to take care of their loved ones.

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MEET ROD BLUM: Republican Candidate for US Representative (Congressional District 1)

Rod Blum is a businessman from Dubuque and is currently serving his second term as a US Representative representing Iowa's First Congressional District.  His father quit school in the 10th grade and lied about his age so he could enlist in the Navy during WWII.  His mother cleaned houses to help make ends meet.  His father always told him that if he “played by the rules” he would live a better life than them.  He believes he has achieved that American Dream.

Blum graduated Loras College with a degree in finance, and later went on to receive a master's degree in business administration from the University of Dubuque.  He is the former CEO of Eagle Point Software, and co-owner of Digital Canal Corporation, a software company that grew from 5 to 325 employees in just five years, earning him the Iowa Entrepreneur of the Year award in the High-Tech category. 

Blum has worked as a real estate developer, high school basketball coach, student pilot and conservative columnist.  Blum was born, raised, and still lives in Dubuque with his wife, Karen.  They have five children. 

You can see a map of Congressional District 1 here.  For more information or to get involved in the Blum campaign, go to rodblum.com, call 319-435-8622, or email info@rodblum.com.

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One in seven Iowans has a disability, many of whom rely on support services funded through the state’s Medicaid program.  What actions will you take in Congress to make sure Iowans have access to the supports and services they need to live, learn, and work in their communities?  

I believe in protecting access to the state's Medicaid program for those who genuinely need it—children, those who are disabled, and the elderly. Medicaid resources need to be preserved for the most vulnerable among us who have nowhere else to turn. For these reasons I am a member of the U.S. House Disabilities Caucus and regularly visit with Medicaid providers and consumers like Hills & Dales and their clients in Dubuque. The government has a sacred duty to protect the dignity of all human life persons. This duty is served by supporting those with unique healthcare and living needs. Because I have kept close to these important populations through advocacy, fundraising and offering work opportunities to persons with varied abilities, my care is sincere. Even as a conservative I have publicly stated, that not a dollar should ever be cut from persons with special needs. 
 
With Medicaid providing health care coverage to more Americans than any other insurer, reforms are necessary to ensure a sustainable budget for future generations of those who are in dire need of this program. Some legislation I have sponsored and supported in Congress includes:
  • Cosponsored legislation, H.R. 6898, the Maintaining Protections for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, to protect the provision in the Affordable Care Act that ensures coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions.
     
  • Voted for H.R. 1648, the American Health Care Act. This legislation made essential reforms to Medicaid to refocus its resources on the nation’s most vulnerable populations and prioritize those who truly need assistance over able-bodied working adults.
     
  • Cosponsored H.R. 1772, the AIM HIGH Act, which directs the Department of Education to establish accessibility guidelines for institutes of high learning to ensure visually impaired students are able to access and use instructional materials.
     
  • Cosponsored H.R. 1734, the Access Technology Affordability Act, which creates a tax credit for blind individuals to purchase access technology that allows them to convert materials into formats usable by a blind person.
Also, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enables individuals with disabilities to put more money into their Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. ABLE accounts allow families of disabled people set aside money in a tax-favored account to save for their education. The legislation also allows many disabled individuals to roll money from their 529 plans into their ABLE accounts, as well as qualify for the Saver’s Credit. The Saver’s Credit is a tax break for low- and moderate-income taxpayers who are saving for retirement. 

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MEET ABBY FINKENAUER: Democratic Candidate for US Representative (Congressional District 1)

In 2014, Abby Finkenauer was elected to represent Dubuque as a State Representative in the Iowa Legislature. At the State Capitol, she fought for Iowa's working families and was a vocal advocate for women. 

Finkenauer comes from a working class family in Dubuque County. Her father was a Union Pipefitter Welder, her mother worked for the Dubuque Community Schools. She learned the value of public service and giving back to the community from her family, particularly from her grandfather who was a Lieutenant in the Dubuque Fire Department.  Her family taught her that when there is work to be done or a problem to solve you say “yes.”

Finkenauer is the youngest of four siblings, all first-generation college graduates. She earned her degree in public relations from Drake University.  After college, she worked at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque with Jackson County, Jones County, Delaware County, Clayton County, and Allamakee County affiliate foundations. She formerly served on the board of Greater Dubuque Development Corporation.

Recently, she received the 2017 “Rising Star Award” from the Democratic Activist Women’s Network (DAWN’s List).  She was a Page in Congress and at the State Capitol.

You can see a map of Congressional District 1 here.  For more information or to get involved in the Finkenauer campaign, go to abbyfinkenauer.com or email info@abbyfinkenauer.com.

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One in seven Iowans has a disability, many of whom rely on support services funded through the state’s Medicaid program.  What actions will you take in Congress to make sure Iowans have access to the supports and services they need to live, learn, and work in their communities?  

One of my top priorities in Congress will be to defend all Iowans’ access to quality and affordable healthcare, including those with disabilities and individuals who rely on the state’s Medicaid program. Healthcare is a human right, and I will always fight for every American’s access to quality and affordable care. 

A disastrous attempt to privatize Medicaid in Iowa has resulted in reduced funding and slashed services, ultimately denying necessary care to Iowans across the state. We should be working to better provide for underserved communities, not stripping away coverage and making their lives harder. I will stand against cuts to Medicaid and any other programs that ensure Iowans have access to vital services they need. Medicaid is an essential program for countless Americans and using it as a political bargaining chip is shameful. 

Similarly, the recently enacted tax plan puts pressure on Congress to make cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, in order to reduce the federal debt. While I take the federal deficit extremely seriously, the best way to reduce the deficit would have been to not increase it by $1.6 trillion to give tax cuts to the richest Americans and huge corporations.

We must fight to protect and build upon the progress we made in the Affordable Care Act, toward the goals of achieving universal healthcare coverage and lowering the cost of care. In Congress, I will oppose efforts related to the Affordable Care Act that would jeopardize long-term care by restructuring Medicaid into per capita caps or block grants, as well as attempts to phase out the Medicaid expansion, taking away health coverage for low-income seniors under the age of 65.

 I am running for Congress to be a voice for all Iowans, particularly those who have been underserved in the past. We need representation in Congress that’s working for Iowans to improve our healthcare system and expand coverage. It’s time for the partisan political games that have too often controlled the healthcare conversation to end, and it’s time for leadership that puts Iowan families first. 

 

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MEET CINDY AXNE: Democratic Candidate for US Representative (Congressional District 3)

Cindy Axne is a small business owner, parent and community activist.  A fifth-generation Iowan, Cindy grew up in a tight-knit family on the south side of Des Moines. Her childhood included weekends and summers spent on her maternal grandparents’ farm in Warren County, 4-H activities, and playing 6-on-6 basketball for the Valley High Tigers. 

Following her graduation from the University of Iowa, Axne worked in strategic planning and leadership development for the Tribune Company in Chicago and earned an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. She and her husband John later moved to Wisconsin, where they started their small business. When their sons were 3 and 1, they moved back to Iowa to raise their family.

From 2005 to 2014, Axne worked for the State of Iowa, helping over twenty different state agencies deliver government services more effectively and efficiently for taxpayers. Since then, she has focused on growing the digital design firm she runs with her husband John.  Axne is active in her church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and serves as a mentor with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa. She lives in West Des Moines with John and their teenage sons, Gunnar and Rafe.  

You can see a map of Congressional District 3 here.  For more information or to get involved in the Axne campaign, go to cindyaxneforcongress.com, call 515-518-0384, or email info@cindyaxneforcongress.com.

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One in seven Iowans has a disability, many of whom rely on support services funded through the state’s Medicaid program.  What actions will you take in Congress to make sure Iowans have access to the supports and services they need to live, learn, and work in their communities?  

Every American should have access to high quality, affordable healthcare.  In Congress, I will fight for a real public option and will work to protect the Affordable Care Act. I will also fight to prevent the return of lifetime limits in insurance plans, and will make sure that people cannot be discriminated against for having a pre-existing condition.  

Recently, our state government privatized Medicaid, which has created an unnecessary burden on the folks who depend on Medicaid for their healthcare and support services.  In Congress, I will fight against all efforts to privatize Medicaid at the federal level, and ensure that all Iowans have the access to the support services and care that they need to thrive in their communities.

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MEET DAVID YOUNG: Republican Candidate for US Representative (Congressional District 3)

David Young is a sixth generation Iowan. His family homesteaded in Pocahontas County in 1881. Emigrating from Germany, they were drawn to America by the promise of freedom, liberty, and by the endless opportunity available to anyone who works hard.

Grandson of a tenant farmer and a preacher who built a church in Laurel, Young learned about Iowa values and to have a strong Iowa work ethic from a young age.

Growing up in Van Meter, Young played little league baseball and was a paperboy in town. Eventually, his family moved to Johnston and he worked summers at the Iowa State Fair.

Upon graduating from high school, Young attended Buena Vista College and graduated with a degree in English from Drake University.

Most recently, Young was Chief of Staff to Senator Chuck Grassley.  Young was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 2015.  

You can see a map of Congressional District 3 here.  For more information or to get involved in the Young campaign, go to www.davidyoungforiowa.com, call 515-996-0092, or email info@davidyoungforiowa.com.

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One in seven Iowans has a disability, many of whom rely on support services funded through the state’s Medicaid program.  What actions will you take in Congress to make sure Iowans have access to the supports and services they need to live, learn, and work in their communities?   

For nearly four years, I’ve traveled to all 16 counties in the Third District every month and have sat with Iowa families in hospitals and in the homes of Iowans with disabilities to speak with them about their struggles and triumphs.

I take their stories with me to Washington, D.C. and advance legislation which helps Iowans with disabilities live better lives. I wanted to share what I’ve done to protect Iowans with disabilities and how I’ll continue to fight if Iowans again allow me to represent them in Congress. 

After meeting with Iowans who are blind about their struggles to access technologies to help them find good employment, I introduced a bipartisan bill to provide a tax credit to make the purchase of this equipment more affordable. Seventy percent of individuals who are blind are either unemployed or underemployed. My legislation helps the blind have the freedom to live more independent lives.

In February, the House of Representatives voted on legislation which I was convinced would undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It would have restricted legal action against establishments which were not compliant with the ADA. I stood up to Republican leadership in the House and voted against this bill. I’ve always said I would protect those with disabilities and I’ll continue to do so regardless of party positions or politics.

When meeting with Iowans with disabilities living in rural areas of the district, they often share how they want to live independent lives, but access to reliable transportation is lacking. As Iowa’s only voice on the Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked to make sure our rural communities aren’t left behind and can connect to other communities with public transportation funding.

Additionally, I recently introduced the ‘Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act’ which requires insurance companies to cover reconstructive surgeries for children with birth defects and congenital abnormalities. Some insurance companies won’t cover these surgeries -saying they are cosmetic. There is nothing cosmetic about these surgeries. They are needed to help children live healthy and active lives.

Earlier this year, I also introduced the ‘Veterans Burn Pit Exposure Act’ which helps veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. When our service members came home, they were left to deal with disabilities and illnesses caused by their exposure to these burn pits. My bill requires the Veterans Administration to recognize burn pits as contributing to their disability which them gives them access to the care they deserve.

Finally, I will continue to protect those with pre-existing conditions. We all have members in our family or have a friend with a pre-existing condition. They deserve access to affordable and quality health care just like anyone else. I have advanced legislation to protect those with a pre-existing condition. 

Those are just a few of the steps I’ve taken to protect Iowans with disabilities. If re-elected, I will continue to stand up for all Iowans and help those with disabilities receive the justice, equality, and care they deserve. 

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MEET MORE CANDIDATES

Learn more about the Democratic, Libertarian, and Republican candidates on the ballot this year here.  

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PDF VERSION

Get this issue in PDF (format of our mailed version) - click here.

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