Zach Whiting felt good Wednesday.
Though for him Election Day was more of a formality – the Spirit Lake Republican ran unopposed – he was very pleased with the results, which he said showed how hard his campaign worked and connected with Iowa Senate District 1 voters.
Among the state legislative races Tuesday, Whiting’s 21,167 votes received was a higher total than all but one other candidate across the state.
“I liken that number, again, not to be boastful, but to say we worked really hard and we resonated with people district-wide and across party lines,” Whiting said. “That’s something I’m very proud of.”
Now that Whiting’s two-year campaign is behind him, he’s ready to serve.
He’ll soon head to Des Moines for a get-together with the Senate Republican Caucus. There, senators and senators-elect will get to know each other and discuss priorities for January.
Whiting said he’s looking forward to meeting his colleagues, learning their priorities and identifying what they can accomplish.
“Certainly having a unified government for another two years – Republicans maintaining control of the House, expanding the majority in the Senate and, of course very importantly, keeping Gov. Reynolds in office – that’s going to allow us to have a little bit more flexibility to be offensive in the policies that we develop and craft,” he said.
Whiting’s priorities remain the same as the ones he shared with voters while campaigning.
He said he wants to work on job training and building a skilled workforce to help the district’s employers fill jobs. That could come through partnership programs with community colleges and high schools.
The budget also will be a top priority.
“I want to continue to look at how we budget and how we estimate our revenue to build our budget and make sure we don’t have to make midyear budget cuts, which I’ve been critical of when Democrats did it years ago and when Republicans have done them over the last year or two,” Whiting said. “I want to find a way to minimize that disruption so that we craft what I would like to be a fiscally conservative budget, but we make sure that we’re keeping our promises to people that we do appropriate money to.”
Additionally, Whiting wants to build upon the mental health legislation approved last year. He said he wants to add to what he called the legislation’s “framework.”
“How can we add meat to that skeleton? How can we fund that? I think there’s a critical question,” Whiting said.
Whiting also wants to look more broadly at tax reform, hoping to make it more equitable for everyone, he said.
He also wants to make good on a campaign priority to pass through a measure to voters to add the equivalent of the Second Amendment to the state’s constitution.
“That’s something I campaigned very hard on, something that’s very important to the people of District 1,” Whiting said.
Whiting will continue to work on staff for Congressman Steve King, who also won re-election on Tuesday, out of King’s Spencer office.
For more election coverage, see the Signal’s complete results.