Gazette Editorial Board
State Rep. Renee Schulte, R-Cedar Rapids, played a prominent role in guiding a complex, bipartisan bill reforming Iowa’s mental health system through a divided Legislature that saw few such accomplishments.
We believe Schulte should be returned to the Statehouse to finish that job, and to continue to advocate for her district on other issues.
Her opponent, Democrat Art Staed, a former lawmaker from Cedar Rapids, is a well-qualified challenger and a fighter for education, but Schulte has earned another term.
State Rep. Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, is the Legislature’s top Republican serving as Speaker of the House, but he’s remained in touch and committed to his local constituents. He’s provided steady leadership in the House and has set a reasonable tone during highly polarized times.
We admire his commitment to fiscal responsibility and tax reforms. Democrat Mark Seidl of Cedar Rapids is a thoughtful, hardworking challenger, but we’re sticking with Paulsen.
State Rep. Nick Wagner, R-Marion, is a young up-and-comer in the Iowa House, chairing the Local Government Committee and vice chairing the budget-writing Appropriations Committee. That’s given him a front-row seat for important legislative debates over local taxation and budget issues. We believe he should keep that seat.
Wagner’s opponent, Democrat Daniel Lundby of Marion, comes from a proud political lineage as son of the late state Sen. Mary Lundby.
But we believe Wagner’s experience and his watchdog budget skills give him the edge.
State Rep. Todd Taylor, D-Cedar Rapids, has the broad experience and working knowledge of important legislative issues, including job creation and education, that give him a clear edge over Republican challenger Lance Lefebure of Cedar Rapids.
Solon Democrat Dick Schwab’s impressive, vast and deep experience as a businessman, entrepreneur, community leader and school board member make him our pick.
We also were impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of his Republican opponent, Bobby Kaufmann, son of well-regarded longtime lawmaker Jeff Kaufmann, of Wilton.
But we see Schwab as someone who will bring multiple, valuable perspectives to Des Moines.
Widely respected Democrat Sally Stutsman has served five terms on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, experience that will serve her district well as the Legislature tackles property tax reforms and continues work on mental health changes.
Stutsman has pledged to take a collaborative approach to lawmaking, which will be important on those and other major issues. Stutsman, whose husband, Roger, operates the family’s farm, also brings a strong rural perspective.
Her opponent, Steve Sherman of North Liberty, is a sincere candidate asking valid questions about state policies, especially fiscal, but Stutsman’s long record makes her our choice.