Speaker Upmeyer’s Opening Remarks for the 2018 Legislative Session

Welcome back to the Iowa House!

It has been 262 days since we adjourned the 2017 session. Normally, that would sound like a long time, but today it sure feels short.

In those 262 days, we have done exactly what was intended of this citizen legislature. We went home to our families, we went to work and we spent time with our communities.  Most importantly, we spent time listening.

I am so proud every time I talk with one of you or I pick up a newspaper and see the engagement you have with your communities. Countless miles, meetings, and conversations are what filled those 262 days.

So today, we call the Iowa House back to order and we bring with us the benefits of being home to live, work, and listen. We will do with that experience what I believe we do better than anyone else in the country, we will put it into action.

Last month, Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to the lowest it has been in 17 years, 2.9%! However, I know that behind that number are too many Iowan’s who lack the training or the experience for the high-skilled and high-wage careers that many employers are looking to fill right now.

This is about the essence of the American dream, upward mobility. We have so much talent in this state, we cannot let it slip away. We must connect today’s workforce with training and certification so they can achieve that dream… a career and security for their families.

We must work both in our classrooms and with employers so that our future workforce gets an effective education that prepares them for the careers and emerging industries that will drive our state forward.

I want Iowans to find their American dream right here at home and I am happy to work with Governor Reynolds on a plan of action that will focus on results that will benefit every Iowan and every community.

If Iowa is going to be a place that our children and grandchildren choose to stay, we must also offer them access to the affordable healthcare they need and the quality they deserve. For years, I have complained about burdensome federal regulations stripping us of our ability as a state to address our own needs.

With the collapse of the individual insurance market, we have seen the consequences of failed federal policies. I am tired of complaining, I am tired of waiting. It is time for us as a state to act.

Before long, Iowans will begin to see how federal tax reform benefits each of them and their families. Individual taxpayers in Iowa are estimated to save over $1.5 billion, and more money in Iowan’s pockets is a great thing.

Because of federal deductibility, federal tax cuts for Iowans could mean a higher state tax burden in future years. Those tax cuts were intended to remain with the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa. Let’s make sure that happens!

We have a huge opportunity to grow the state of Iowa with tax reform. We should be excited about this but we must also be pragmatic. It must be done in a way that benefits Iowa families while also protecting the sustainability of future budgets.

No single one of us can get anything done without working together and finding some level of consensus in this room. Do not let the days of this session slip away waiting for someone to reach out to work with you. Be the one who reaches out and inspires others to come together. Let there be many fingerprints on our work, and we will be more successful because of it.

Our ability to turn ideas into action is the hallmark of the Iowa House. Now I want us to get down to business, so maybe I can help by wrapping up this speech!

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get back to work!

Thank you.

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