Name: Phil Wiese
Office running for: State Representative
Current Position: Tree Farmer & Sales Representative
What are the biggest issues you feel should be addressed?
The number one issue that needs to be addressed is the governor’s decision to privatize Medicaid. Governor Branstad handed over the care of more than 560,000 Iowans to out-of-state corporations, and that’s unacceptable. I believe that Iowans need to treat Iowans better and that means looking out for the most vulnerable in our society–not special interest groups looking to profit off the sick and needy.
We must also address education funding in Iowa. It’s essential that we give our children the skills that they need to succeed in a 21st-century workplace, and that starts by properly funding our schools, not diverting the funding for other purposes.
Lastly, we must address the needs of hard-working Iowans who are falling behind. Too many hard-working Iowans are struggling to provide for their families. We need to change that. If you work hard for 40 hours a week, you shouldn’t have to choose between feeding your family and paying your gas bill.
What steps would you take to correct/ impact these issues?
First, we need to reverse the Medicaid privatization. The promised benefits of streamlined care and reduced costs have not transpired. Instead, we have a system where for-profit insurance companies benefit at the expense of Iowa taxpayers. There are steps that can be taken to reduce costs; tougher bargaining over drug prices would be a good start.
For education funding, we need to take a few separate, but related steps. First off, give our K-12 schools the funding that they need in a timely fashion. Our budgets are a statement of our values and our priorities; we must ensure that education takes a top priority in the state capital by giving our teachers and kids the funding they need.
Finally, the best way to help out working class families is to raise the minimum wage. We haven’t had a raise in the minimum wage in 10 years. In that time, the cost of living has skyrocketed, and it has become harder and harder for workers to get by. And by gradually lifting the wage floor over a few years, Iowa can prevent the harmful side effects that sometimes come with minimum wage increases.
What would you like voters to know about you?
I’m an avid hunter and fisher and a member of Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and the Iowa Bow Hunters Association. I’m also extremely passionate about giving back to the community through my service on the Muscatine Art Center board and my church, Calvary United Methodist.