Cathy Glasson answered the Coalition’s seven questions on child and family policy issues. Read how she plans to address these issues if she were to become Iowa’s next Governor.
Budgeting for Iowa’s Priorities
What is your plan to tackle tax policy issues to ensure a stable and adequate state general fund to pay for Iowa priorities, like children’s health, safety, education, economic security, and development?
The tax cut that was passed by the Republican Legislature, nearly 2.2 billion over 6 years, is another example of this legislature and Governor failing Iowans. If and when Governor Reynolds signs this tax bill, we must work to repeal it. We are already failing to fund the things we care about, like education, like healthcare, as it is. Allowing this tax bill to take effect will put Iowa into a decades long deficit that will have devastating consequences for Iowa’s children and families. I support a progressive tax policy where the wealthy and higher income tax brackets pay more than middle and lower income families and individuals. When we make the wealthy pay their fair share and when we reverse some of these corporate tax breaks we hand out to the tune of 400-600 million dollars a year, we can fund the things that are important to Iowans like healthcare,education, and building lasting economic security for the state.
Family Economic Security
What actions will you take to reduce multigenerational poverty and ensure that all children have access to equal opportunities to achieve success?
Our campaign is dedicated to tackling poverty by reducing income inequality through bold, progressive policy initiatives:
- I am the only gubernatorial candidate campaigning on a state-run universal single payer healthcare system . It’s time to put an end to bankrupting families and pushing them into poverty by providing everyone with universal health care. Getting the greed of the private insurance companies out of our health increase families wages and actually save the state money
- $15 an hour minimum wage in three years and keep it indexed to inflation – No one should be working full time and live in poverty. One my first day in office I’ll call upon the Iowa Legislature to pass a $15 minimum wage as it’s first order of business
- Making it easier for workers to form or join a union and fighting to reverse right to work legislation in the state of Iowa. Everything workers enjoy today (pension and health care benefits, 5 day work week, 40 hour week, paid vacation and sick leave) is the result of hard-fought union victories. Strong unions and employee associations are the first line of defense against employers and corporations who intentionally keep wages low to reap massive profits.
Early Education and Child Care
How will you support affordable child care and access to programs, promote the importance of quality, and address child care workforce needs?
We have to implement a series of important reforms immediately to address affordability and accessibility of child care. Here is a start:
- Increase child care assistance (CCA) reimbursement levels to the current market rate
- Extend exit eligibility to the 185 percent FPL to reduce cliff-effect disincentives especially when we raise the minimum wage to $15/ hour
- Create new child care contracting programs through the Department of Human Services to fund areas where there are critical need
- High quality begins with a well-educated, well-compensated workforce. My administration would increase minimum education levels to at least a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential with compensation increase following our $15 minimum wage requirement.
Afterschool and Summer Learning
How would you ensure that all children and youth have access to high-quality before- and afterschool and summer programming?
All after-school and summer programs should be made available in every school district with the support and collaboration of community partners. These programs should be held to a minimum standard of quality that exceeds current DHS Child Care Licensing Requirements. Technical assistance for such programs should be aligned to 20 th Century Schools standards as currently operated by the Iowa Department of Education. And the level of education and professional development of these programs must be raised.
Health and Well-Being
What actions will you take to ensure access to services to address the developmental, emotional, and mental health needs of infants, children and young adults?
The action by the legislature this year was a promising start that looked good on paper but once again, Kim Reynolds and the Republican Legislature chose window dressing and half-measures instead of addressing mental health needs in the state of Iowa.
We are overdue providing the kind of support children need. The best approach for mental health is to lead with preventative care and intervention. A mental health system must begin by ensuring that adults from parents and grandparents, to child care providers, and teachers, and coaches, all recognize that they are an important part of childhood mental development and have access to resources that provide best practices for early childhood development.
At the prevention level, we must fully fund child welfare and other child abuse prevention services, along with strong regulatory controls over early care and education environments to ensure they are emotionally safe places for children, so we can minimize or eliminate negative impacts on children. At the intervention level, we must expand the recommended system of county-based mental health providers that include a system of care coordinators to ensure the interventions are proportionate and appropriate to the issues presented.
Further, if Iowa were to enact a single-payer universal healthcare system, as our campaign is proposing. The mental healthcare programs and costs for all Iowans, including children, would be covered.
Safety and Security
What actions will you take to reduce the number of children who are subject to abuse and neglect, and how will you ensure that youth aging out of the foster care system have a promising future?
The best way to reduce child abuse is to reduce stresses on families by ensuring they have health care, housing and a well-paying job. That is the backbone of our campaign. If we raise the minimum wage to $15/hr, expand unions, and create a single-payer universal healthcare system, we could improve the lives of all Iowans and remove economic stressors for families that can play a factor in childhood abuse and neglect.
A fully funded foster care system is an important safety net for children. As far as transition, the age of the child should not be a criteria, but rather his or her readiness to live independently. A state that is facing one of the lowest unemployment records in the nation and in its own history should be state that can find useful employment for all its citizens regardless of their circumstances. In any event, foster care workers should continue to support young adults through a successful transition (be it independent living, group homes or other options).
How will you address the issue of human trafficking and ensure the broad-based training needed to educate all Iowans that serve, teach, protect, respond or utilize our natural resources?
My administration first task would be to ensure this problem is not hidden. In keeping with that, I would strengthen Iowa’s foster care and family support system to prevent youth from having to live on the streets and place themselves in vulnerable situations that increase the likelihood they will be victimized by human trafficking. We should also increase mental health support services within Iowa high schools to identify at-risk teens who might fall prey to exploiters, as well as provider routine screening and intervention with teens to address a variety of mental health issues affecting young adults.
This questionnaire was developed by the Children’s Policy Coalition and shared with all gubernatorial campaigns. Candidates were given the option to respond to these questions through an in-person meeting, submitting written responses, or both. All responses are printed without editing.