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Kinney faces Hora for Senate District 39

Republican challenges incumbent Democrat

NORTH LIBERTY– State Senator Kevin Kinney faces a challenger for his District 39 seat on the ballot for Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Kinney, a Democrat, was first elected in 2014.
District 39 includes the towns of Swisher, Shueyville, North Liberty (Madison Twp.), Oxford, Tiffin, Frytown and Hills and the townships of Monroe, Jefferson, Oxford, Madison, Clear Creek, Hardin, Union, West Lucas, Washington, Sharon, Liberty, Pleasant Valley, Lincoln and Fremont. The district also includes portions of Washington and Keokuk counties.
Both candidates were sent the following questions, by email. Below are their responses as the North Liberty Leader received them.
The Candidates
Kevin Kinney: Kinney was born and raised outside of Oxford, where he still lives and works on his family’s Century Farm. Prior to his 2014 election to the state senate he served 28 years with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and served three terms between 2005 and 2014 on the Clear Creek Amana school board.
Heather Hora: Hora lives and works with her husband and three children on their family farm in Washington.
Why are you running for the Iowa Senate? Why do you feel qualified to occupy a seat in the legislature? And, what do you feel you would bring to Des Moines for the benefit of citizens, if elected?
Kinney: I am running for re-election to the Iowa Senate to continue serving my community by making sure our families are safe and that all of our communities get the jobs and job training they need. As a deputy sheriff, farmer, and state senator I know how to listen to people and work with all of my neighbors to get things done and keep people safe. In Des Moines I will continue to draw on my record of service and experience with law enforcement, rural issues and local public education to work across the aisle for ordinary Iowa families.
Hora: As a farmer and mother to my three kids, I directly see the impact of the laws passed at the statehouse. I want to cut burdensome and unnecessary red tape and expand markets for the products our state’s farmers work hard to grow and produce. I want to keep taxes low for Iowa families and small businesses. Iowa students, including my children, deserve the best education so they are prepared for success. I feel the best way to accomplish that is by empowering parents and teachers.

What do you see as the most pressing issue affecting the citizens of Iowa in general and District 39 in particular? And, as one voice in the Senate, how would you go about addressing them?
Kinney: Iowa may have a low unemployment rate but there are currently 44,000 Iowans looking for work and 60,000 unfilled jobs. Those statistics are a warning that without better job training Iowans will be left behind in the labor market. That’s why my top issue around state and right here in our district is job development, especially in rural areas. That’s why I co-sponsored and advocated strongly for the legalization of industrial hemp production in Iowa. We got it through the Senate and in my next term I’ll be working closely with partners from both parties in the House to get it passed and signed next term.
Hora: My priorities in the Iowa Senate will be our farmers and producers, our children and our hard-working families. I will address those goals by returning power to local school districts, eliminating needless red tape for Iowa’s small businesses so they can expand and create new career opportunities and allowing Iowans to keep more of what they earn. I want our farmers to focus on the land and their business, our teachers to focus on giving our children the education they deserve, and our working families to flourish.
CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) have come under scrutiny in Johnson County with the Board of Supervisors seeking a moratorium on new facilities as well as local control over regulating such facilities. What is your stance regarding such facilities and state Vs. local regulation?
Kinney: I support state control over this issue and do not support a moratorium. Iowa farmers should face an even regulatory playing field across the state.
Hora: I believe state regulations are the proper method of regulating CAFOs. I also believe livestock producers should work hard to care for the land and their community. My husband and I won the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award because we put in that work to provide for our family, care for the land, and be considerate of our neighbors.

Iowa passed the so-called “Heartbeat Bill” banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. What is your position on this legislation?
Kinney: This legislation incorrectly places legislators in between a woman and her doctor.
Hora: As I mentioned before, I have three kids. And I knew each of them were alive when I heard their heartbeat for the very first time. It is not something you usually forget. I believe in protecting life and support legislation that accomplishes that goal.

What is your position on Second Amendment issues such as: Constitutional carry, “Shall issue vs. May issue,” bans on common semi-automatic rifles, “Stand your ground” legislation, magazine capacity, etc.?
Kinney: I carried a gun almost every day for 30 years. I strongly support Iowans’ rights to protect themselves and their families as well as hunt. But owning a gun is a serious responsibility. Iowa needs real, in-person certification classes that ensure people are truly able to safely operate their firearms so that they are not a danger to themselves or others.
Hora: The right to bear arms is a right guaranteed to us, the citizens, by the United States Constitution, and the government should not be passing legislation that contradicts that right.

Do you favor tax increases or new taxes to meet increased demands? Or do you favor reallocating existing revenues? If budget cuts were on the table what programs would you fight to preserve? And what programs would you be willing to cut back or eliminate?
Kinney: I believe the state has a fundamental responsibility to provide a quality education, benefits to its employees and affordable healthcare. Instead of meeting many of those goals, we currently give out hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful tax credits to large, mostly out-of-state corporations. A government of and for the people should be focused on guaranteeing affordable services to ordinary Iowans, not lining wastefully lining corporations’ pockets.
Hora: The state’s budget has grown over the past several years, when in reality, that money belongs to those that earn it. Iowans work hard to earn every single dollar and if the state is going to spend it, we need to ensure we are using those dollars efficiently and effectively.

Do you support or oppose extending SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education sales tax)? And, how would you address, as one voice in the legislature, the annual battle over school funding? Is there a better way to fund schools in Iowa than the current system? Or, a way to provide more stable financing, which would allow school districts to know in advance what state aid they can expect?
Kinney: I support extending SAVE. This is a common-sense way to ensure our school can receive the funding they need into the future. I would support any system that ensures our schools are no longer underfunded, have predictable budgets, and does not unduly burden ordinary Iowans, like local property tax increases surely would.
Hora: Last year, the Legislature passed a bill to start working on the higher costs rural areas have to transport students to school than urban areas, and equalizing that playing field. In rural areas when it costs more to transport our children to and from school, we lose those dollars to use in the classroom, where it really counts. I would consider supporting an extension to SAVE if reforms are implemented to eliminate wasteful projects. Giving our kids the best education and making our schools the best is a priority for me.

Should the state, local government, or the business community at-large determine what the minimum wage should be?
Kinney: The state government should absolutely set a statewide minimum wage, and it needs to be at least modestly increased in Iowa. In areas that can bear a higher minimum wage local governments should be able to set a higher minimum wage than the state level as well.
Hora: When the state makes decisions for businesses, it makes those businesses a lot harder to run. We have people in our community who want to work. If businesses want those people to come work for them, they will pay them a competitive wage to attract them. Government does not need to get involved in these decisions and should not be increasing the amount of regulations they have to follow when the state could be focusing on making our tax code competitive with other states, making it easier to start a business here, and making our state a great place to live for our families.

The bottom line: Why should residents of District 39 hire you to be their elected representative in the State Senate?
Kinney: I came into office in 2014 promising to work across the aisle to keep Iowans safe and help rural communities. I’ve done that. There is now an Office of Human Trafficking and a longer statute of limitations for kidnapping and sexual assault; industrial hemp production is well on the way to legalization. Last year I was the only Democrat to get a bill passed in the Senate. I have a track record of bipartisan accomplishment and experience on the ground in our communities serving people as a deputy sheriff, school board member and neighbor.
Hora: I am a proud member of my community, a proud mother, a proud farmer and a proud Iowan. In all of these important roles, I have seen the effects the laws passed in Des Moines can have on the agriculture industry, for our schools, and for our family. I vow to be a strong voice for our community at the Statehouse and work hard for each and every single one of you. I vow to protect the values our community holds dear. I vow to bring the experiences and concerns I’ve heard over the past several months to Des Moines, and do whatever I can to make the lives of you and your families easier and better.