(DES MOINES) – House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow (R-Windsor Heights) delivered closing remarks on the 2016 session to the Iowa House of Representatives today. The following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you Madam Speaker.
We began this legislative session with high ambitions. Ambitions to meet the priority needs of Iowans by passing a balanced budget, giving K-12 schools funds they could count on, and working towards policies that lead to greater economic prosperity in our great state.
In my opening remarks on the first day of session, I promised that House Republicans would work quickly and diligently to resolve K-12 education funding. Keeping with that, the first bill that we brought forward for debate was Supplemental State Aid for the coming fiscal year. We resolved this issue by directing 77% of new state revenue to the tune of $135 million in new funding for K-12 schools.
House Republicans are committed to protecting hardworking taxpayers’ dollars. This year, our caucus championed a bill that prevented a $95 million tax increase on small businesses, farmers, teachers, seniors, homeowners, parents and students.
For the last several sessions, it has been a priority of House Republicans to bring forth legislation to combat the horrendous crime of human trafficking. We have followed through on this priority by moving a series of bipartisan bills to both directly combat human trafficking and crimes often associated with it.
It is important for Iowans to be able to enjoy a safe water supply and clean water for recreation. After considering many different ideas and proposals, our caucus moved forward on the Water Quality Improvement Plan that would have secured a significant investment for water quality in the state that addressed both urban and rural water quality efforts. While I am disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement with the Senate this year, I’m hopeful that we can come back next year and accomplish a sustainable funding plan for water quality projects and improvements across the state.
Finally, we were able to once again pass a budget conforming to the House Republicans budget principles of spending less than we take in and not using one-time money for ongoing obligations. Iowans expect us to fund their priority needs with the revenue they send us. While it is not always easy, it is the responsible thing to do.
As we close out this session, I want to thank every single person who contributed to the work we accomplished this year. From the custodial staff who keeps this building beautiful, to our wonderful pages who kept us smiling on some of the toughest days. Special thanks to our Leadership pages, Ben and Alex for all of your hard work.
Thank you to Minority Leader, Mark Smith and the Democratic Caucus for working together with us while asking the hard questions and offering a different perspective.
To the Governor, Lt. Governor, and all the hardworking staff on your team. Thank you for your passion and desire to move our state forward and improve the lives of all Iowans.
Thank you, to the Chief Clerk’s office and LSA for your support throughout this session. All of you work overtime to see that the job gets done.
I want to thank our staff – Jeff, Brad, Lew, Jason, Kristi, Amanda, Carrie, Brittany, Monica, Mackenzie, Tony, Terri, and Colin. All of you play a critical role in our ability to get things done.
To Zach and Liddy: I don’t know how I could have done this with without you. Your friendship and counsel has been indispensable. Not only are you each incredibly valuable to me, but also to the entire House Republican Caucus.
To my Republican colleagues, it is a tremendous honor to serve as your leader. Thank you for entrusting me with this opportunity, and for your steadfast patience and support. It was a joy and a privilege to work together on tough issues, and to see our unity grow. I look forward to seeing many of you return next year, and wish all of our retirees the best as you take your next step.
I also want to express my gratitude to Speaker Upmeyer for her tireless work this session. Under your leadership, we worked efficiently and effectively. Thank you for your friendship and advice along the way.
Finally, my greatest appreciation goes to my family. My wife Amanda’s support means the world to me, and her sacrifices are profound. To Owen, Noah and Sophia, I am finally able to answer the question they have been asking a lot lately: Yes, Daddy is done at the Capitol.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.