Candidate Forum — State Representative, Sue Cahill — Democrat
What do you feel are the three most important issues Iowa will be facing during your term as a state representative? How do you plan to address those issues?
Education is a broad topic. It includes quality early childhood through K-12 experiences. When a child leaves high school, they should be prepared for their next step in life. That also includes quality community college programs where students can gain skills for a trade/profession or prepare for the regents universities. I will advocate for funding of the educational systems. I will address it from an equity and economic development standpoint.
The second is health care access and mental health care access. I have two sons who are Type 1 diabetics. They have paid out of pocket for the $300 vials of insulin they need to stay alive. Health care is a right. I will work to lower costs of prescription drugs and make sure Iowans have access to health care services.
The third is creating a strong climate for businesses and workers. We must have good paying jobs to keep our next generation of workers in Iowa. I support raising the minimum wage so workers don’t have to juggle multiple jobs. We must create systems for small businesses to thrive on Main Street as well as businesses in industrial parks. When providing incentives for businesses, we need to ensure they are providing good paying jobs and essential services.
Some would say the Iowa Legislature has become too partisan and divided. How would you try to overcome that?
We will not move forward if we cannot work together. I consider myself a servant leader. I have connections with many people representing the diverse groups in our community and am committed to bringing change to the statehouse. As the State Legislator for HD71, I will work to reach people in all parts of the district, on all parts of the political spectrum, to find common ground and create a Marshalltown/Marshall County that works for everyone.
Education funding continues to be a contentious issue in the Legislature. What steps will you take to ensure Iowa schools are adequately funded?
My family moved to Iowa when my oldest son started school. My husband, a native of Fort Dodge, knew that Iowa had the best education system in the nation. Funding for our educational systems is an essential part of growth. It is an economic development issue of preparing our next generation of workers, entrepreneurs, creators and leaders. It is an investment whose payoff may not be seen for ten or fifteen years. It is the right investment that we must make.
What role do you think the state should play in economic development?
Economic development does not just include bringing a big business to the state. It includes providing incentives for small businesses to anchor Main Streets. It includes making the state a desired place to live and work. It means supporting clean water and air, enhancing recreational opportunities such as trails and waterways. We must improve infrastructure and work with agricultural businesses to find the balance of feeding the world yet protecting resources.
Why do you think voters should support your candidacy for state representative?
I have a proven record of action. When I saw inequities in our school system, I didn’t just complain, but rallied others to affect change. After the 2018 tornado devastated my city council ward, I collected over $12,000 in gift cards and distributed them, talking with those affected across the North side of Marshalltown. After the Derecho storm that affected the entire community, I was out helping neighbors cut trees and serving meals. I listen to the needs of our community and work to find solutions to make Marshalltown/Marshall County a better place. I will continue to seek common sense solutions to the issues that affect our state.
When I have been met with barriers, I faced them head on. I aim to bring that same toughness to HD71. I am running because I have learned if you want something better for you and your family, you have to make it better for all families.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE:
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Profession: Teacher, Marshalltown Community School District
Education: Masters of Education — Graceland University
Family: Husband, John, died in 2006. Six adult boys. Jim, Tim, Tom, Pat, Mike and Joe.
• Marshalltown City Councilor – First Ward.
• Grassroots advocacy that changed the structure of our school system from two middle schools to one,
• President of the Marshalltown Education Association for three terms,
• President of the Iowa State Education Association regional Mid-Iowa Board,
• Elected member of the ISEA state-wide Executive Board,
• St. Mary’s Board of Education/Marshalltown Area Catholic School Board,
• The Marshall County United Way Board,
• The Marshalltown Business and Education Alliance,
• The Marshalltown Youth Foundation,
• The 2018 Tornado long-term recover housing committee,
• Various additional committees related to Tornado recovery for businesses,
• MICA Head Start Board and Read by Third committees,
• Coach for MASC soccer,
• Cub Scout leader
• Adult leader of various activities involving my children,
• Owner of my own home-based childcare business for 10 years,
• Trainer for Iowa State Extension Services in Child Care certifications.
These opportunities have allowed me to work with issues and policies. I have worked at the grassroots level and at the elected official level. I have worked with all stakeholders to resolve issues. I listen and work to find common sense solutions.