I present my position statements in this section, but I offer an introduction to frame the effort. The first 3 issues are my main motivation for seeking office. The position statements on each topic will focus on my perspective and thoughts about how to address the issue. These statements are not legal documents ripe for parsing out some point of friction. Instead, consider them food for thought. Please give me your feedback. There are many other worthy issues, and with your help, I will build from here.
Since the 60’s, the earth’s atmosphere has warmed beyond known cyclic variations. Burning fossil fuels creates an insulating blanket of CO2. The consequence of continued CO2 elevations and elevated temperatures is, and will be, more unstable weather, including droughts and floods. If you disagree with this premise, then read no more as it is critical to get agreement on these facts before any interventions will be accepted. If you agree with the premise, then you will agree that we all should be doing something to change this direction. We can make efforts on a personal level, at work, in our cities and counties, but especially in our state and federal governments. One of my main motivations for running is I don’t see our current Republican leadership addressing this concern. So what would Spencer do? The goals are simple: reduce carbon output and increase carbon sequestration. Perhaps further legislation to promote electricity from solar and wind. Perhaps incentives to use cover crops to capture more carbon. Switching to a more carbon-neutral environment is in the best interests of people in House District 49, in Iowa, in America and the world. There are many other possibilities, but we need buy-in from state leaders to try. I certainly would like to try.
As a teenager in Ohio, I remember seeing a picture of the Cuyahoga River on fire. A river on fire? That’s not right, and gratefully in 1972 the federal government passed the Clean Water Act. This worked but was not applicable to agricultural water. We don’t have burning creeks and rivers in Iowa, but rest assured, Iowa has one of the largest collections of impaired waterways in the country. One of the romantic objectives of the Clean Water Act was that all waters should be drinkable, fishable, and swimmable. This is far from our reality. We have seen endless turmoil in Iowa to reduce pollution of our waters without much success. We are even poor at monitoring the quality of our water sources. The current Nutrient Reduction Strategy is pretty ineffectual, but at least it is an attempt to do something. We can learn from other states and try to impose riparian buffers to filter runoff. We can again promote cover crops to filter and reduce runoff. There are ideas to consider, but we need leaders willing to promote these ideas and to have government act on behalf all the people and not just private interests. It is the role of government to protect the public trust of clean water. In the meantime, do not drink from, or swim in, most Iowa waters.
I am a doctor and am grateful to serve people in central Iowa. I have learned to operate and survive within a healthcare system that is a profit-driven mess. You might catch a theme here. If the service is driven by profit, then there will always be winners and losers. If you have money and/or excellent coverage, you will get the best that American medicine can provide. If not, an illness or injury may be financially ruinous.
The idea that everyone in HD 49 and Iowa deserves affordable healthcare is still distasteful to many and especially our Iowa Republican leadership. In 2016, Governor Branstad and the republicans thought Medicaid recipients would be better served by having a private for-profit insurance company manage the healthcare of Medicaid patients and not the state government, which is not for profit. The results include denied service, late or no payments to providers, and poor health outcomes; who would have guessed? Until you have leaders in the legislature seeking to provide healthcare to all, in a not-for-profit mindset, we will see no end of this abuse.
We have the Veteran’s Administration and Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, which are steps in the right direction. We can do more in Iowa to improve affordable care, as has been done elsewhere in the world. This does not mean there is no place for for-profit enterprises; consider Medicare Advantage and other supplemental programs you can buy. Forty years of practice have taught me that no one wants to be sick or see the doctor, in part because it costs so much. There is no reason healthcare in HD 49 or Iowa or the USA should be a ruinous financial experience. We spend more on healthcare and frequently have worse outcomes than other parts of the world. We can do better, and it starts with trying to involve government with a not-for-profit mindset.