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Fisher, Cahill move forward on plans for legislative session

State lawmakers representing districts in Marshall County started work at the Iowa Capitol wrapped up the first week of the 2021 legislative session, but their work has only just begun.

State Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour) has served the 72nd district for the past seven years, while newly elected State Rep. Sue Cahill (D-Marshalltown) is serving the 71st district for the first time.

Fisher hopes to expand parental choice in the education system, develop a conservative budget, protect Second Amendment rights and push a pro-life amendment to rule against the Iowa Supreme Court’s to guarantee a right to an abortion in the Iowa constituion.

Part of expanding school choice includes supporting legislation that would eliminate open enrollment based on income restrictions. Five school districts are impacted by this restriction including Des Moines, Davenport, Postville, Waterloo and West Liberty school districts.

“That’s just not right,” Fisher said. “The vast majority of the families in our state have a right to open-enroll their kids to another district except for those particular communities.”

He also looks to provide additional support and resources to law enforcement in response to increasing protests.

“I’ve been very appreciative of the work the Iowa State Patrol has done to protect the capitol, they’ve put up a lot of crap from the Democrat activists at the capitol and throughout the state,” Fisher said. “Whatever we can do to help bolster them up and not just show our support, but give them the tools and resources that they need is certainly important to me.”

Despite having a Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature, Fisher said all priorities on his agenda will still be difficult tasks.

“All of them are challenges,” Fisher said.

After teaching in the Marshalltown Community School District for 23 years and running an in-home daycare for 12 years, Cahill said education is one of her top priorities and fully supports increased funding for childcare services.

“I’m deeply interested in making sure that our child care facilities, whether they are a home or a or a center, have quality services and that they have qualified personnel, and that those who are working in those can earn a decent wage,” Cahill said. “I think we need to make sure that we have registration, and some other certifications that they need to abide by to make sure that we’re checking on the quality of the services, but I also think that it’s a field that is very underpaid for the work that they do.”

Cahill also said she supports expanded access to mental health services in Iowa schools, having seen many students struggle with mental health issues throughout her years of teaching.

“As a teacher, I’ve seen kids come into school very young who have mental health issues,” Cahill said. “We need training for staff and we need qualified, certified personnel, whose expertise is working with childhood trauma or trauma-informed care to help students be able to maneuver their work as they move through the school system.”

Appointed to the Veteran’s Affairs committee, Cahill also plans to be a voice for her constituents living in the Iowa Veteran’s home in Marshalltown.

State Sen. Jeff Edler (R-State Center) did not return calls made by the Times-Republican before press time.

Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.

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