Iowa House District 99 candidates on Medicaid, wages, job training
In Dubuque, two women are vying for the Iowa House District 99 seat.
are running for personal reasons. Chilton said it's God calling her, while James said it's because of her daughter's fear following the 2016 election. Both are spending the final days leading up to the election out talking to voters on a variety of issues.
On the future of Medicaid in Iowa, James thinks it's time to reverse privatization.
"I think now we have spent enough time and now it's time to roll it back and make sure that people with disabilities, our elderly and people who are poor really have what they need in order to thrive in life," James said.
Chilton isn't sure privatization is working but doesn't think it can be reversed.
She said, "I don't believe that government should give money to private insurance companies. I believe that we do need to look at a solution."
Chilton wants the state to expand vocational training so people can fill open job positions and earn better wages.
"I think our high schools should have more funding for the vocational training so that our high school students can get a job after high school," she said.
Government shouldn't mandate a higher wage, Chilton argues, because it will hurt businesses.
"If businesses are profitable, when businesses are making money, when they are able to pay more, when certain jobs are in higher demand, yes, I believe that people should make more money," Chilton said.
James believes it's important that people are able to negotiate their wages and benefits.
She said, "I want to absolutely reinstate collective bargaining rights so that we have, you know, families who are really safe in their workplace, have good wages, good benefits, and the potential to retire with security."
She is in favor of allowing cities and counties to raise the minimum wage.
"I think we need to have that conversation in every single community and I think our communities are poised best to have that particular conversation," she said, adding, "I personally would love to see a $15 minimum wage, but I think that conversation needs to happen within the context of local control.”
The District 99 seat was previously held by Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who is now running for Iowa's First Congressional District seat against incumbent Rob Blum. In an election cycle when more women are running for office or getting involved, both Chilton and James say they're seeing a lot of enthusiasm from female voters.
"There are young women seeing other women running for office and saying that, you know, we need diversity at our legislative tables and our decision making tables in order to be stronger," James said.
Chilton said, "if we want to talk about having a more balanced government, then that means voting more people in who are going to add to that diversity.”