As delivered by Senator Jack Whitver
President Schneider, Senate Minority Leader Petersen, colleagues and friends, I stand before you very proud that we honored the bold commitments we envisioned at the start of this Legislative Session.
We came together to ease the tax burdens on hard-working Iowans, provided new access to affordable healthcare for Iowans in need of coverage, enhanced our mental health system, made steps to continue improving our water quality, work toward developing and expanding our skilled workforce and maintained our commitment to revitalize rural Iowa.
On a personal note I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement this Legislative Session. I delivered my opening remarks as the Senate President and today deliver closing comments as a Senate Majority Leader, who is proud of our caucus for their dedicated commitment to their constituents, the state of Iowa and their fellow Senators. Despite challenges that we encountered this session, they remained focused and did not lose sight of why they are here – to do the people’s work.
Colleagues, we adjourn today able to go home to our districts and tell our constituents we kept our word, honored our commitment to them and produced historic results that will help our state forge a path of success for future generations. That starts with tax reform.
Tax reform is something we stood up to talk about for years during our time in the minority, and pledged to accomplish when given the opportunity to govern in the majority. I am proud of the tireless dedication of Senate Republicans to see through with this promise.
We never wavered on our commitment on making tax reform happen. This is something Senate Republicans and I spoke about repeatedly during my entire time at the Capitol. When it came to giving hard-working Iowans a tax break, we did not stand up to speak to hear ourselves talk.
We rose to speak because we believe this is necessary. We spoke about this passionately because we want to see our great state grow. We stood up for those whose pleas for help fell on deaf ears for nearly two decades. Simply put, we made our vision a reality to lend a helping hand to an overwhelming majority of Iowans, and unleash limitless opportunities for years to come.
Iowa families deserve to have more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. Though it took 20 years to fulfill our pledge, we leave here today able to say we accomplished what we set out to do this General Assembly.
On the first day of this 87th General Assembly, I encouraged my colleagues to think big and act boldly. I knew if we dared to dream big the legislation we passed would positively impact our state and set the course for an economic revival in Iowa. We came here every day with the goal of keeping our word to the voters who sent us here. Promises made, promises kept.
Passing tax reform is a giant step in that economic revival as it plays a significant role in helping us compete with neighboring states. This bold initiative not only helps draw new people into our state, but it also rewards hard-working Iowans by providing them with more resources to prosper and live comfortably in their communities.
Over the last two years, we worked to expand our workforce, strengthen our economy, rejuvenate our Ag industry, ease the tax burdens on Iowans, create financial stability for our rural communities and school districts, and provide students with a top-notch education. As we bring a close to this 87th General Assembly, I stand before you proud of the work we have accomplished on behalf of Iowans. Though we did not always see eye to eye on policy; it is hard to argue the positive results that it generated for the future of the state we love.
We can all agree that Iowa is the best state in the country. Now, people outside of Iowa are beginning to understand what we have known for years.
My friends, we find ourselves at a defining moment in our great state. We can make the decision to go backward and hope better days lie ahead, or we can put our strong Iowa work ethic to the test to continue forging a path for economic growth and prosperity. We have made great strides in the last two years, but our work is far from finished. Senate Republicans remain committed to finishing what we came here to do: Improving our business climate, making education a priority and working to create new career opportunities across this great state.
In closing, I want to thank my Senate Republican colleagues, Senator Petersen, the Senate Democrats, the Senate Republican and Democrat caucus staffs for putting in so many hours researching bills and helping to keep us informed, the staff in my office, staff in the Senate President’s office, the Secretary of the Senate and his hard-working people and the sergeant at arms, our door keepers, Randy Wallace and everyone who makes a Legislative Session successful. It is an honor to work with all of you.
It’s a great day to be an Iowan; let’s work to make tomorrow even better. Thank you.