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NDN Election Central Q&A: Republican Zach Nunn

Name: Zach Nunn

City: Bondurant

Office sought: Iowa Senate District 15

Occupation: United State's Air Force, officer

Education: B.A. in Political Science & International Relations, Drake University; Master of Studies, International Security, Cambridge University

Elected offices held: Iowa House District 30, Jan. 2015-present

1. Reintroduce yourselves to Jasper County voters, and explain why you want to serve in the Iowa Senate.

I’m proud to have grown up in our community with our family’s 100-year-old farm and serve our nation in the U.S. Air Force, as an educator and a small business owner. My No. 1 goal in running for Iowa Senate is to serve the best interests of our community. I have a proven record of working with both Republicans and Democrats to achieve: new jobs, great educational opportunities and safer neighborhoods in Iowa. I pledge to continue bipartisan cooperation to put Jasper County’s needs first at the Capitol.

2. The privatization of Iowa's Medicaid system has been plagued with administrative issues and created problems for patients and providers seeking reimbursement for services. Do you see a path forward for managed-care, or do you favor a return to the state-run Medicaid system?

We absolutely must reform Medicaid. I led legislation holding MCOs accountable to patients and providers while bringing even stronger oversight to managed care. This law is going into effect now. I reject the opposition’s plan to transitions tens of thousands of vulnerable Iowans to yet another “government managed” health care plan. It didn’t work before and the state is not equipped to transition these patients, forcing them to start over once again with no road-map for success.

Under the old system, fraud was rampant. Unscrupulous people cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in theft from Iowans most in need. Having partnerships with credible healthcare providers ensures transparency and timeliness.

Going forward, we must protect long-term care patients’ needs with dedicated assistance that is achievable under a State-administered system. Equally, the majority of Iowans on Medicaid are better cared for under a program that fights for their interests and keeps costs in check.

3. Has being on the campaign trail changed or altered your perspective on any one issue? If so, explain.

Knocking on over 12,000 doors this summer, I’ve heard from neighbors of all political perspective. Two takeaways: first, we are not a divided nation as the news and social media portray – we all want what is best for our community and we are willing to work hard. Second, we are rightfully proud of our hometown values, and we want an Iowa with economic growth, good career options, quality education, affordable living and safe streets. I believe our record as No. 1 State in the Nation for middle-class families proves we’re on the right path.

4. What do you see as the biggest issues facing constituents in your district? If elected, how will you address these issues?

Prioritizing Families & Small Business: I believe our communities deserve world-class opportunities while keeping our small town values. Four bills I will champion: invest in “learn & earn” education, including apprenticeships, tradecraft and continuing education programs – I’ve already worked with DMACC to grow these programs and create career paths that won’t leave students in-debt.

Reduce property taxes for middle-class homes to keep families in our community – this is the fastest rising cost for homeowners and makes it difficult for Iowan’s to keep a home or stay in business.

Support local businesses that grow our economy and create new jobs – as an economic development leader, I’ve helped grow hundreds of millions in Main Street businesses. Let’s do the same for Jasper.  

Quality school funding and technology for Iowa’s K-12 – I led a historic high investment of $3.2 billion for Iowa schools, hiring 2,300 new teachers and authored the bill to put $16 billion towards Iowa school construction and technology.

5. U.S. Tariffs on some imported goods have caused American trading partners, specifically China, to retaliate with counter-tariffs — shrinking markets for Iowa crop and livestock producers. The Des Moines Register reported in September, Iowa farmers could lose $2.2 billion in the trade dispute. What is your position on the Trump Administration's farmer bailout, and what would you tell Washington lawmakers about a potential looming crisis?

I am honored to be named “Friend of Ag” by Iowa’s Farm Bureau. As a farming family, I’ll always stand in support of Iowa’s agricultural roots. Equally, I served as Chief of Cyber Counterintelligence in Washington, D.C. – I can state with certainty that China steals billions of dollars from the U.S. in cyber theft, including agricultural espionage. America must stand-up to China now to ensure the long-term quality of our economy and success of our farmers. I am confident a long-term partnership with the U.S. and China will benefit every farmer over a short-term deal that only benefits Beijing. Another positive, Trump’s efforts have opened new bi-lateral trade partnerships with fresh markets for Iowa producers.

6. The first medical cannabis dispensary owned by MedPharm is slated to open this year in Iowa. Do you favor expanding the new medical cannabis law to approve cannabinoid oil for use with more medical conditions? Does Iowa's current law go far enough to allow patients access?

I led and helped pass Iowa’s first “medical cannabis” law. We created a medical board to review new illnesses and prescribe appropriate cannabinoid oil quality and quantity. It is far better for medical doctors to make this recommendation than the State Legislature. Equally, I’ve seen first-hand the dangers of overprescribing opioid painkillers. I led legislation to help Iowans recover from addiction, prevent doctor shopping, reduce overprescribing and support families suffering from drug abuse. This legislation will make a difference in the fight against opioids, help us with safe cannabis use, and save lives.

7. Iowa's total tax revenue increased by 4 percent since July 2017, compared to 1.6 percent growth in the same time period the year prior. That's due to an automatic increase in Iowa tax withholdings after federal income tax cuts. The legislature will be phasing out federal deductibility for 2019 to return revenue increases to normal levels. With Iowa's coffers strained causing mid-year budget cuts, is this still a good strategy? How will this affect public school SSA, funding for mental health and water quality initiatives in Iowa?

Iowa’s fiscal management ranks Top-3 in the nation. The best way to grow Iowa’s revenues is to grow our economy – not to raise taxes on working Iowans. As a fiscal conservative, I’ve ensured the state’s budget is balanced every year and our top priorities receive a funding increase including: K-12 education ($765 million in increases), water quality improvements ($282 million), community colleges, State universities, Medicaid, mental health initiatives, autism coverage, child care and early-literacy, State Patrol, courts, and job training and workforce programs. Importantly, we fully filled our emergency reserves. With this, Iowan’s have $127 million in surplus heading into the next fiscal year. Ninety-three percent of middle-class Iowans will receive a tax cut next year, a 25 percent tax reduction for a family of four making $75K or less a year – those dollars are a direct investment in our local communities – the best possible return for rural Iowa. 

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