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Iowa Democrats say Republicans are fighting a 'culture war' instead of focusing on improving the state

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Iowa Democrats say conservatives are too busy fighting a “culture war” on the state capitol to improve Iowa’s rural areas and attract young people to the state’s 38 most rural counties. I say I’m trying

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Iowa’s population has grown 4.7% since the 2010 census. However, 38 rural counties in Iowa have experienced net population declines since the 2010 census. Her five most populous liberal counties in Iowa saw net population increases.

According to the US Census Bureau, 8 out of 10 US college students return to where they grew up or within 10 miles of it. but, washington post Brain drain studies show that more than 25% of college students studying in Iowa leave Iowa or move to Illinois after graduation.

Democrat Ryan Melton, currently contesting Iowa’s fourth seat, said Republican policies held by Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa, R-Iowa) are pushing young people out of the state. . tweet on saturday.

“Too many young people are leaving the state. This will get worse if civil servants don’t respect them and want affordable college, fulfilling career opportunities, and reproductive rights.” ‘, Melton wrote in a tweet.

Iowa Congressman Bobby Kaufman, R-Wilton said in an interview: Daily Iowan This was a bipartisan issue, not partisan politics.

“Overall, this is a very bipartisan issue,” Kaufman said. “So it’s one of the fun areas to be able to hear everyone’s opinions, Democrats, Republicans, etc.”

With bipartisan support to keep rural residents, Iowa legislation on the issue has moved forward in the state legislature. Last year, the Iowa legislature passed bills on broadband, childcare, rural economic development, and recreational development in the state.

But many Democrats are trying to do more, blaming Republican policies for keeping young people out of the state.

A July survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found that economic factors were the number one factor young people consider when migrating.

Iowa Senate Minority Leader Zach Walls (D-Coralville) said the Republican Party has no plans to save small towns.

“They’ve completely abandoned their small towns in rural Iowa and instead turned all their attention to the issues of the culture wars that are pushing young people out of our state,” Walls said. “In both our small towns and big cities, the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening, and Republicans are pushing for tax cuts that will provide overwhelming benefits to the ultra-rich and big corporations. We’ve exacerbated this problem by passing it.”

Over the past decade, the bottom 20% of Iowa household wages have fallen 6.1%, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The survey found that the middle 20% increased by 4.3% and the richest 20% increased by 8.5%.

The bottom 20% of Iowa households had an average income of $24,800, and the top 20% of households had an income of $215,900.

Iowa’s minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour for a 40-hour workweek. If you pay the minimum wage, your annual pre-tax income will be $15,080.

The median income in Iowa is $51,873. The US average is $51,916.27. The US median wage is $34,248.45, while Iowa is slightly above the national median at $39,083.20.

Looking at these data points, Iowa’s annual income tends to be closer to the national average. However, the state still struggles with income inequality.

Kaufman said income inequality is not a big issue in his district and there are companies that offer high wages to help his district.

“We have a strong job market, which means my district can name a small-town company off the top of its head with good wages and great benefits.” said Kaufman.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for July 2022, the unemployment rate in Iowa was 2.5%. According to Iowa Workforce Development, he had 84,059 listings on online job boards as of Sept. 14.

Walls also said young people are concerned about climate, reproductive rights, college costs and wages.

“Young people are rightly concerned about the future existence of the planet, but this is a perfectly reasonable concern, not an extreme one. But it’s a perfectly normal and reasonable concern for people of all ages,” Walls said.

A Pew Research Center poll found that 74% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but is illegal in all or most cases. Only 25% think so.

According to another Pew Research Center survey, 67% of Gen Z and 71% of millennials believe climate change solutions should be a top priority.

Walls said young people are looking for state-funded public education. Republicans voted to cut funding from Regent University in a recent budget.

“Republicans have systematically failed to fund local colleges and institutions, leading directly to higher tuition fees, making college more difficult for middle-class families to attend.” Walls said.

Republicans limit annual increases in the state’s public education budget to 2.5% to allow for inflation.

Democrats and teachers say 2.5% isn’t enough. The Democratic candidate for governor of Iowa, he recently announced that Deidre DeJear would increase the state’s public education budget by 4% annually and channel his $300 million in cash to Iowa’s schools from the state’s budget surplus. announced an education policy plan, including discretion.

Related: Deidre DeJear Makes Public Education a Top Priority at Campaign Event

Kaufman said the Iowa legislature has made progress on key issues affecting young people, such as childcare and broadband internet.

“If you’re young and want to have a family, look to childcare. I think we’ve made some significant policy changes and investments in childcare,” Kaufman said. He said, “When you look at broadband, it’s pretty big. [coverage] desert region of Iowa. As the Governor asked, we gave him $100 million two years ago, and we gave him $100 million last year to get it done. ”

In 2021, the Republican-controlled Iowa legislature passed a budget resolution to fund the state’s broadband program, Empower Rural Iowa, with $100 million. Gov. Kim Reynolds also created a task force to address Iowa’s childcare shortage and allocated $13 million to future-proof Iowa’s childcare grant.

Related: Governor Reynolds creates task force focused on expanding childcare availability

Walls said this is only part of what matters to young people, and social issues and political culture are just as important. Walls also accused Republicans of “arming cynicism” to siphon hope from the left.

“Republicans and certain right-wing authoritarian forces in this country want young people to feel frustrated and like there is no difference between parties. That is their strategy, yes, It’s about confusing the differences,” Walls said.

Walls also said policies including education, recreation and social issues will be voted on in November this year.

“To fight for our interests, the most important thing we can do is participate in the election process, make sure that our friends and classmates are registered to vote, and vote this November. It’s about making a plan to vote and show off,” Walls said.. “And the Republicans hope we don’t.