Letter to the editor: Gov. Reynolds wants to tear Iowa’s safety net

Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Gov. Reynolds wants to starve Iowa’s safety net and, consequently, its people.

In her recent Condition of the State address, Governor Kim Reynolds used her platform to kick struggling Iowans while they are down. At one point in her speech, Reynolds lamented that Iowa’s “safety net has become a hammock.” The implication, of course, is that Iowans experiencing hunger, poverty, illness or housing insecurity need to stop leeching off taxpayer dollars and get back to work.

Reynolds loves to champion “public-private partnerships” as a way to solve problems. Yet when it comes to helping Iowans access life’s basic necessities, she prefers to pass the buck to the private sector. In this current legislative session, Governor Reynolds and the Iowa GOP are proposing harmful legislation that benefits the wealthy while gutting public schools, unemployment benefits and food assistance.

Johnson County is home to an impressive slate of private sector helpers like nonprofits, churches, philanthropy clubs and community groups. Collectively, these groups are doing an amazing job of improving the lives of so many of our neighbors. Even so, critical gaps remain in our local safety net. If the private sector can’t fix the issues facing Johnson County, how can we expect it to solve the problems facing other communities in our State?

Everyday Iowans are being left to fend for themselves while out of touch politicians like Governor Reynolds recline from their hammocks of privilege and power. We deserve leaders that care about the well-being of ALL Iowans and will work to strengthen our safety net, not starve it.

John Boller is the Executive Director of the Coralville Community Food Pantry and a board member for the Iowa Hunger Coalition.

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