2017 Session Opening Remarks

Monday marked the first day of the 2017 legislative session and I offered the following remarks to the members of the Iowa House:

Thank you Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen of the House. It is my great honor to welcome you, your families, and friends back to the Statehouse to begin the 87th General Assembly. 

Thank you to the people of Clive, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights for placing your trust in me to represent you in the state legislature. It is a great honor I never take for granted.

Speaker Upmeyer, it is an honor to begin another session with you in the chair. Thank you for the courage and determination you’ve shown in leading our caucus.

To House Republicans, thank you for again electing me majority leader. I look forward to serving each one of you in our new, expanded majority.

To the newly elected members, congratulations and welcome. I am excited about the fresh perspectives, knowledge, and ability that each of you brings to this body. I know all of you are eager to get to work and will do a tremendous job for the people of Iowa.

Representative Smith and House Democrats, I have enjoyed working with you in the past to better serve the needs of Iowans. While we will have our disagreements, Iowans expect us to work together, and I look forward to working with you and your caucus to craft better policy wherever possible.

Most importantly, words in a speech will never come close to expressing my gratitude to my family. My wife Amanda is a blessing and a treasure, and without her - none of what I do here would be possible.

In a few days, I will see a third different presidential portrait hanging in the well since I first took the oath of office. Time moves fast, leaders change, and history marches on. Whether you have been here twenty years, or this is your first day, we all need to make the most of the time we have been given.

Through six years of divided government, House Republicans have held to the foundational principle that government should live within its means. Despite opposition from those whose solutions have been to spend more and tax more, we have changed the conversation about how budgets in this building should be crafted.

Each and every dollar that we touch in this place belongs to the people. Not only will we continue to be zealous stewards of Iowans’ hard-earned money, we will look for ways to leave more of it in their pockets.

Every year, the budget presents new challenges but House Republicans are committed to funding the priority needs of Iowans and leaving here in April with a balanced budget.

We are here to fight for hard-working Iowans who want an opportunity for greater prosperity rather than creating greater government dependence.

We will work to unleash the power of Iowa’s business and industry and free our economy from the grip of government. One of the greatest hindrances to entrepreneurship and economic growth is over-regulation and over-taxation.

Instead of empowering government by extending its reach, we should empower Iowans by stepping aside. Our work should not be an exercise to find the limits of what government can do, but to let the people of this great state be the engine for our future prosperity.

One of the great challenges we face is the ongoing work to improve the quality of our water. Last year, this chamber passed a plan that would have devoted significant new resources to water quality efforts. Our work on this important issue should continue this session.

House Republicans are committed to setting Supplemental State Aid to schools in the first 30 days of session. We will also look for ways to give our local school districts more flexibility and provide them with additional freedom to set policies that fit their own unique districts.

Going further, we will focus on students and families, and work to do more to remove barriers that parents may face in choosing their children’s education.

House Republicans will remain committed to protecting unborn life and securing Iowans’ constitutional freedoms.

All of our work this year is to build a stronger future for this state. Our vision is not just to resolve the issues of today, tomorrow, or even the next election. Let us set forth to make Iowa even greater for the next generation and beyond.

With this in mind, House Republicans will be bold and ambitious. With hard work and diligence, we are determined to make our time here of great consequence to the future of the state of Iowa. Our time is now.

To close, my prayer today is that Almighty God’s hand of providence continues to rest on the people of the state of Iowa and the work that they have sent all of us here to do.

Thank you Madam Speaker.

To watch a video of my opening day remarks, click here.


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