Under the Golden Dome, Too – June 6

Upmeyer UTGD

With spring sports wrapped up for another year, the summer sports season has arrived. Congratulations to our spring athletes who represented their schools so well at track, tennis, soccer, and golf competitions across the district and at State. I am looking forward to following this summer’s high school baseball and softball teams as well! There is certainly no shortage of talent in our high school athletic programs.

Likewise, there is no shortage of talent in the area of academics either. I’ve enjoyed reading about the many scholarships and awards our recent graduates have received. As these young Iowans make preparations for life beyond high school, it’s exciting to think about all of the opportunities that await them.

I’m so pleased the Legislature was able to freeze tuition at our public universities for the second straight year, provide additional funding for our community colleges, and increase opportunities for Iowans who wish to attend one of Iowa’s independent colleges. I am also hopeful some will take a look at the available apprenticeship programs in the state. This past session, we invested $2.75 million to help businesses offset the cost of training new apprentices. More and more people are discovering there are great careers to be had in the skilled trades industry, and speaking from personal experience- when your home gets struck by lightning, you’ll be glad to have a skilled electrician in the area!

Regardless of the chosen path, it’s encouraging to know that when these young grads are ready to enter the Iowa workforce, good jobs will be available. Iowa’s latest unemployment rate has dropped to 4.3 percent, and employers are still consistently telling me they continue to be in need of more strong, highly-skilled, well-trained workers.

These young Iowans are the future leaders of our communities. We want to encourage them to stay in Iowa, not only by passing legislation to promote job creation, but also by making it more affordable to buy a home and raise a family in our state.

This year the House passed a bill that would help Iowans interested in purchasing their first home, save money in order to do so. The legislation would have established a first-time home buyers savings account to help individuals save money for a down payment and other costs related to buying a home. That savings, up to $3000 per person or $6000 per couple per year, could be deducted from the state income tax for up to 10 years. While the bill did not make it to the Governor’s desk this session, I believe it is a concept that deserves more work next year.

Again, congratulations to the Class of 2014. I look forward to following your continued success and wish you all the best as you begin your next chapter.

Thank you to everyone who exercised their constitutional right by voting in this year’s primary election. More specifically, while I did not have an opponent, I’d like to thank all of you who supported me. It is an honor to represent you in the Statehouse and I look forward to continuing to serve this district.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618 with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.

Upmeyer Sig