CHARLES CITY, Iowa- A debate held Tuesday night allowed for potential voters to hear from the candidates for Iowa Senate district 26, incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm and republican challenger Waylon Brown.
On the top of both candidate’s agenda is funding education after hearing concerns from several rural schools about state aid the last several years.
“We need to fund the statutes,” says Senator Wilhelm “The Senate has been passing the bill two years out, hopefully we can continue to do that. It gives the availability for school districts to know what their budgets are going to be, OK state funding they’re going to be to getting for their budgets in a timely manner.”
“I want to make sure that we are providing the very best education we can for our students and we need to make sure that we’re doing it in a sensible reasonable way,” says Brown.
Last legislative session, a discussion ensued about finding sustainable funding for water quality initiatives.
“Water quality is an issue that obviously didn’t happen overnight and we’re not going to come up with a solution overnight,” says Brown. “It’s going to take a collaborative effort not just from the agricultural industry, but everybody as a whole to come with sustainable sensible solutions that are going to help continue to improve water quality.”
“The biggest thing right now for water quality initiatives is finding sustainable long-term funding,” says Wilhelm. “We need to have a conversation and outlook about where we find the money and how do we administrate it.”
Each candidate also had their own point they feel is critical to Iowans, the state budget and the topic of mental health.
“We did a re-design a few years back on the state’s mental health, I think we should revisit it to see if it’s working,” says Wilhelm. “If not, how we can change it up but we also have to start striving ahead. We’re ranked 49th now in United States for critical beds and we need to get back to be being better than that.”
“I want to make sure that we are spending money wisely that we have in our hands and I want to make sure that we don’t have any wasteful spending going on,” says Brown