Election 2020 Q&A: Dean Fisher
Iowa House of Representatives – District 72
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
Name: Dean Fisher
Residence: Montour, Iowa
Hometown: Montour and Garwin
Profession: Electronics Engineering, Farming, Legislator
Education: Bachelors Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology from DeVry Institute of Technology, Chicago
Family: My wife Vicki and her two children’s families
Experience: 26 years of experience in the electronics industry as an engineer, engineering manager, business manager, ten years raising cattle, 8 years in the legislature
1. What do you feel are the three most important issues Iowa will be facing during your term as a state representative/senator? How do you plan to address those issues?
The legislature works on many highly important issues simultaneously, and does so efficiently and effectively. Of course, the state budget is always a high priority, maintaining a balanced and predictable budget that keeps our spending down is always important for both our government agencies and for our economy as families, businesses, schools, and state agencies need to have that predictability.
Other priorities include growing our workforce in order to fill the jobs that are waiting to be filled in the skilled trades such as welders, machine operators, construction, nursing, etc.
Health care is also always a high priority as we continue to work to attract health care professionals to Iowa, and to keep health insurance costs down. Protecting life is also a high priority, as is protecting our right to keep and bear arms. Expanding broadband, increasing child care options, and many other priorities have been addressed in legislation by the Republicans in the legislature.
2. How would you work across the aisle with colleagues in the State House and what are you able to do to bring not only law makers, but also your constituents together in a time when there is so much division?
First, the vast majority of bills passed in any legislative session are widely bipartisan in nature. Roughly 90% are bipartisan and unanimous or nearly unanimous, about 5% end up well short of unanimous but not split on party lines, and about 5% being party line votes. Unfortunately, it’s those few contentious issues that grab newspaper headlines rather than the how well both parties actually work together. I have a proven track record of working across party lines to pass legislation. I’ve worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle in passing the Safe At Home legislation that helps victims of domestic violence. I’ve passed environmentally oriented legislation that was unanimous as well. We work across the aisle in many ways on a daily basis, especially in our committees.
3. Education funding continues to be a contentious issue in the Legislature. What steps will you take to ensure Iowa schools are adequately funded?
K-12 funding is at an all-time high and has increased over the last ten years by nearly $1 billion. K-12 education is by far the largest part of the state budget and it always gets the first bite of the apple when the budget is considered. The Republican legislature has also continued to work towards solving the problems of our rural schools with additional funding to resolve transportation cost inequities.
Public education in Iowa has not been cut or underfunded over the last -decade since Republicans gained control of the House and the governor’s office in 2011. The last time K-12 education funding was cut was during the 2009-2010 time frame when Democrats controlled both chambers and the governor’s office and cut funding for K-12 by 1.5% in 2008 and 10% in 2009. Since then, Republicans have consistently kept their promise and schools have been able to count on the funding that’s been promised to them.
4. What challenges do you see small, rural communities facing in 2020 as compared to cities and suburbs? What do you plan to do to help meet those challenges as a state representative?
We have many challenges in rural communities, some new as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some new as a result of the derecho damage, and many long term challenges that we continue to work on.
Health care is a significant issue in rural Iowa. It’s difficult to attract doctors and psychiatrists to rural areas in particular. Iowa has one of the highest percentages of elderly folks in the nation, and that poses challenges in finding enough long term health care workers as well.
Republicans have worked to expand health insurance options, we’ve implemented incentives to draw doctors and psychiatrists to Iowa, and we’ve worked to reform our mental health system.
Our rural schools continue to be challenged by the population shifts to more urban and suburban areas. I have supported legislation that has provided our rural schools with funds targeted to their high transportation costs, helping to increase the funding available for the classroom. I’ve also supported the renewal of the SAVE fund that provides our schools with funding for facility replacement and upgrades.
5. Why do you think voters should support your candidacy for state representative/senator?
First and foremost, they should support me because I have values that are clearly in line with the values of the vast majority of the folks in this district. As the fifth generation on my Tama County farm, I deeply understand that industry and the challenges our farmers face. For the past eight years I’ve demonstrated the ability to carry those values to the state capitol and implement them effectively for the benefit of this district. I’ve been successful in lowering taxes, keeping spending down, protecting the unborn, protecting our right to keep and bear arms, protecting our right to farm, and reducing burdens on job creators. I was the lead sponsor on the Safe At Home legislation that helps victims of domestic violence regain their safety. District 72 needs a Representative that understands this district and will fight for its values, and I am clearly a proven quantity in that effort.
EDITORS NOTE: Candidate forums will appear on page 3 in the weekly edition of the News Chronicle and online over the coming weeks.