Speaker Upmeyer’s Weekly Newsletter

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Iowa: The Best Place to Raise a Family

Labor Day is near which brings us a much deserved long weekend to spend with family and friends.  This also means that classes will resume for the thousands of students from all across the state.  Good luck to all Iowa students who will soon be heading back to school in the coming days or who have already begun their school year!

Since first being elected to the Iowa House, one of my primary goals has been to make Iowa a great place to raise a family or grow a business.  Over the years we’ve made great strides to improve the state’s business climate and make Iowa as family-friendly as possible.  Whether that’s providing a world-class education to our children or easing the tax burden on Iowans, House Republicans have always put families first.  This hard work is paying off.

Earlier this month, a SmartAsset study ranked Iowa as the best state in the country to raise children.  SmartAsset, a personal finance and technology resource, placed three Iowa cities in the top five of their rankings, while no other state had more than two cities in the top ten.  The report looks at 13 different metrics like economic mobility, quality of schools, cost of living, and child health statistics to devise these rankings.

For the second year in a row, SmartAsset ranked Cedar Rapids as the number one place in America for children.  This is attributed to high performing schools with graduation rates and test scores on the rise, as well as a higher chance for economic mobility compared to other cities.  Cedar Rapids also ranked at the top due to a high concentration of “kid-friendly establishments.”  The report ranked the Des Moines-West Des Moines metro fourth in their study based on the area’s high graduation rates, and the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro fifth because of its affordable housing and graduation rates.

House Republicans understand that a world class education system helps attract parents to live, work, and raise their families here in Iowa.  As Iowans, we’ve always valued a quality education and are proud of the schools in our communities.  That’s why each year that Republicans have been in the majority, we’ve increased funding for our K-12 schools and have protected education’s share of the state budget.  We’ve ensured that our schools have the absolute best teachers in Iowa classrooms through innovative education reform in 2013.  Strong schools are vital to Iowa’s economic future which is why we continue to invest in education and make it our top priority.

House Republicans also recognize the high costs of childcare that Iowa families experience.  When you factor in multiple children, childcare expenses can rack up quickly.  Over the last few years, House Republicans have looked at ways to make childcare more affordable and more accessible to Iowa families.  We’ve expanded eligibility so that low-income parents can continue to receive assistance while working or going to school.  This makes it easier for parents to further their education and gain the necessary skills for good-paying careers while knowing that their kids are being taken care of.  Childcare assistance gives struggling Iowans a hand-up and provides many families with the support and opportunity that they need to climb the economic ladder.

Over the last few years, we’ve come a long way towards making Iowa the premier state to raise a family or grow a business.  However, there’s more that we can do.  House Republicans will continue to look for solutions that leave more money in the pockets of Iowa families, expand job opportunities, and provide a quality education for Iowa’s kids.

As always, please keep in touch.  I look forward to traveling the district and much of the state continuing to visit with Iowans over the coming months.  If you would like to touch base in the meantime, you can reach me at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-3521.

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