MASON CITY, Iowa – A debate held Thursday by those at KGLO radio reviewed the candidates running Iowa House District 8, incumbent Republican State Rep. Terry Baxter and his challenger Democratic candidate Nancy Huisinga.
The forum started out addressing a concern at the top of the list for many this next legislative session, water quality. With Wright County approving the Prestage Farms pork processing plant, both candidates addressed how agriculture has an impact on the state’s water.
“We are in an agricultural-based state and because of that we are going to have a lot of unique issues related to that and our district is a very rural district,” says Baxter. “What people don’t realize is how much better we have gotten at water quality over the last 13 years. Farmers used to put the fertilizer right on the top of their land and now they are injecting it into the soil.”
“We need to hold the corporations responsible for what they put into our water,” says Huisinga. “We need to make sure that all of these kill facilities are only holding the amount of hogs that they are suppose to be, not the same owner just changing the name of their business.”
Another topic brought to light is the subject of gun control, an issue Baxter pressed on Husinga.
“I’m an advocate for the Second Amendment,” he says. “The right to keep and bear arms, especially for those who are trained and equipped. There’s training that goes into getting a concealed carry permit. I like that safety training, I like that aspect of being able to screen the public, look to make sure that we don’t have mental or psychological issues or those kinds of things.”
“I think the Second Amendment is not going anywhere,” Huisinga says. “I do have concerns about concealed carry. I can’t tell you that I feel safe walking into a box store knowing that anyone anywhere has a gun.”
Budget cuts came up as well with the question about the estimated revenue conference meeting earlier this month and deciding to lower its prediction of total state tax collections by nearly $50 million, where would the candidate cut from the budget.
Baxter explained that the number given by the organization is actually not as high as they gave and is closer to $14 million, but says they overspent this year. Huisinga says they should not cut funding and find a way to make it work, saying there is plenty of money.
Another topic of concern, especially Huisinga as a nurse, is the state of Iowa’s mental healthcare after the governor closed down two of the states facilities earlier this year.
“I understand why they closed them down,” says Baxter. “They were old and archaic, but we do have a crisis on our hands. We need to modernize them and look at the plan regionally.”
“It’s better than it was now but we don’t raise psychiatrists in Iowa, we just don’t, says Huisinga. “But hospitalization has never been very long in the last in my career hospitalization from 12 has not been very long, like I said it was lacking before this before this closure.”