Is Iowa Becoming the 'Florida of the North'?

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The state of Iowa was thought at one time to be a “purple” state — a tossup in presidential elections and a split congressional delegation. But that’s not true today. Iowa is a deep red state with a Republican governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and both chambers of the state legislature as well as both Senators and all four House reps.


This hasn’t sat well with the left. Biden said the state was “unrepresentative” of the Democratic Party and yanked Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating caucus, giving it to South Carolina and rewarding his old buddy, Rep. Jim Clyburn.

Now the Washington Post has jumped into the argument with both feet, calling Iowa the “Florida of the North” for Gov. Kim Reynolds’ emphasis on LGBTQ issues.

“Republicans in the Iowa legislature, empowered by the state’s recent ‘red wave,’ have embarked on an ambitious new agenda that includes a costly school choice bill and legislation targeting the LGBTQ community, a historic divergence from Iowa’s history as a civil rights bastion,” Washington Post reporter Annie Gowen wrote.

“A joke among statehouse reporters is that Iowa is becoming the ‘Florida of the North’ — without the beaches,” she added.

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Gov. Reynolds and Republicans in the legislature passed the most revolutionary school choice bill in the nation. To deal with some of the objections made by public school advocates, the bill would give $1,200 to a school district for every child who leaves to attend a private school. Eventually, about 10% of Iowa’s students will decide to attend private schools at state expense.


But it’s the LGBTQ issues that have liberals whining about “targeting” transgender people.

So far this year, many of the bills that have drawn the most attention have been aimed at the LGBTQ community — a total of 29, according to a tally by One Iowa Action, the statewide LGBTQ equality organization. About 12 are still in process, including proposals to prohibit spending on diversity and inclusion offices in state universities and to allow health-care providers to refuse care on the basis of religious beliefs. The House has passed a bill that would prohibit the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Two bills, one that limits bathroom use in schools to “biological sex,” and a curriculum and school library measure that removes the requirement to teach students about HIV, are awaiting the governor’s signature.

“From about 2019 until this year, attacks on LGBTQ Iowans have been exponentially increasing,” said Keenan Crow, One Iowa Action’s director of policy and advocacy. “I believe it’s primarily because of the governor and her shifting priorities. It seems for whatever reason, she wants Iowa to be more like Florida.”

But the fact is, Iowans have rejected One Iowa Action’s agenda and are perfectly fine with the legislature’s moves.

“My own personal feeling is that we’re moving from a purple [state] because the message the Democrats are using is not the message the average Iowans want to hear,” said state Rep. John H. Wills (R), who helped shepherd the governor’s school choice bill through the legislature. “I think in general Iowans support all Iowans but not teaching those types of things in third grade and having underage people doing transition surgeries and taking hormone blockers. We’re trying to be supportive of all Iowans but the other side is happy to promote the most egregious, far-left agenda and that is where we are at.”

The left can gripe all they want to. Politics is about convincing people that you’re right and your opponent is wrong. Iowa Republicans have been able to do that despite intense propaganda that accuses them of being inhuman.



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