Iowa House District 2 voters will decide today between a veteran incumbent Republican and a Democratic challenger running for elected office for the first time.
Megan Jones, the 31-year-old Republican from Sioux Rapids, has represented the district since 2013. Her focus, she told the Signal, is to keep the state heading forward on the path she and her fellow GOP colleagues have set.
“I really want to keep Iowa moving forward,” Jones said last week after she and Odor debated in Spencer. “I think we made a lot of really great strides this last legislative session and the years that I have been in office. We are the No. 1 state in the nation, so to go back from there, I think it would be a really unfortunate situation.”
Jones credited the work she and other legislators have done as playing a role in securing the state’s top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings released early this year.
Her opponent, 38-year-old Ryan Odor, a Democrat from Spencer, sees issues with Republicans’ path for Iowa, such as Medicaid privatization complications, the recent abortion legislation, consecutive mid-year budget cuts and perceived future revenue complications created by the recent tax reductions.
Odor came away from the debate feeling good about how he said he was able to talk about how, if elected, he’d be able to work closely with Republicans, not just Democrats, while still highlighting some of the issues where he and Jones disagree.
“It was good conversation,” he said. “I felt with this particular forum we were able to share some thoughts and were able to disagree. It just showed my ability to speak out with Republicans and be able to share some of that.”
Both candidates had issues they wished they had been able to discuss more at last week’s debate.
Jones wished there had been more opportunities to talk about the GOP’s fiscal policy, which she said has contributed to balancing the budget and putting the state on sound fiscal footing going forward.
“We needed to create a little bit of a buffer there so that if our forecasts came in wrong again, then there wouldn’t have to be cuts,” Jones said. “I think that was smart budgeting on our part. We wanted to be careful and proactive.”
Odor was surprised no questions were asked about collective bargaining changes and how it was something no Republican campaigned on during the last election cycle.
“Then, all of a sudden, they took collective bargaining away from all of our public employees,” Odor said. “That is an area that I’m really surprised didn’t come up and there really wasn’t anywhere to have that conversation either.”
The Spencer Signal will post local election results as soon as they are released.
Polls close at 9 p.m. tonight.