On Election Night this November, there will be one Republican and one Democratic candidate on the ballot Iowa House District 19. One candidate, however, has chosen not to put the capital “R” or the capital “D” next to his name and, instead, will run as an independent.
Richard Dedor, age 34, currently of Urbandale and originally from Mason City currently works in the marketing department at Hubbell Realty. He said he wants voters to support him based on the issues and not based on his party affiliation.
“It allows me, as a candidate, to look at every issue from the perspective of is this going to do the most good for the most people, and what kind of policies can we support which do that,” Dedor said. “Forget if it’s Republican or Democrat. What’s the best idea to help the most people.”
As an Independent candidate, Dedor will not be running in the Primary, but it still remains to be seen whether this will be an advantage or a disadvantage for his campaign.
Dedor has four main issues that he is focusing on: education, health care, tax reform/policy and building a stronger economy and job market in Iowa, with tax reform and policy, and the economy tying right back into education.
One of the main issues Dedor sees with education, and an issue that has been at the forefront of the discussions for many years now, is funding schools and Dedor said that this applies to preschool all the way through post-secondary education.
Although he said it is a good thing that the dollar amount that is spent on education increases each year, he believes that the state should be spending as much as needed to adequately fund schools in Iowa.
“But the conversation we don’t have at the State House is ‘what is that result?’” Dedor said. “We don’t talk about what do we really need our kids to walk out of high school with, and, as a part of that, are we teaching our kids the right way?”
Dedor said that they need to figure out what students need to be successful in the future, and then decide from there how much they need to spend on education.
Dedor said that finding the money for this would be determined by the way taxes are done in Iowa and it comes down to their priorities.
One of Dedor’s big talking points on tax policy was corporate tax credits. He said that you can’t just pull them off the board, however, and that the State would have to slowly pull them back.
What he proposes is that a business who takes advantage of a tax credit in Iowa would have to pay money back if they fall short of their agreement or their promises.
“If new business A gets a tax credit and part of your application says ‘in five years we will have hired a hundred new people…,’ if you only meet half of that goal, you owe half of that money back to the State,” Dedor said. “You don’t get to keep what you don’t deliver and we don’t operate that way in the State of Iowa.”
Dedor cited a recent news story regarding Amazon looking for a city in which to build its new headquarters, stating that while they will take any incentives a city and state are willing to give them, they are more interested in the workforce and human capital that comes with moving into that city and state, once again, tying right back into education.
Economy and Job Force
When it comes to the economy and the job force, Dedor said that that, once again, is an education issue. He said that with an unemployment rate of under 3 percent, there are not enough skilled workers in the state to fill certain jobs, and he thinks that Future Ready Iowa will help.
“We have to ensure that we’re investing in education so that a kid can afford to go to a 2-year technical school, or make the big investment and go to a 4-year school for whatever thing they want to go into,” Dedor said. “Future Ready Iowa gets us a part of the way there, the rest of it is the money. We have to make it more feasible for these students to get that education so that we can hire them to do work.”
A part of his economic plan would also be to start an Iowa Startup Fund, that would be run just like a venture capital fund.
“Businesses can come and pitch, and a group of people… they would make strategic investments in local businesses,” Dedor said.
“It’s a way for the State to play an active role in driving us forward and ensuring that the company has skin in the game, we have skin in the game and the taxpayer is a part of that.”
Dedor said that it was “massively, massively important,” that Gov. Kim Reynolds recently signed a mental health care bill, but that the next step is figuring out how to fund mental health going forward, which was not a part of that bill.
He said a part of funding mental health services would be in the form of property taxes.
“I’m not someone who’s typically in favor of raising taxes, but we have a need in our communities,” Dedor said. “And if we can pay for it here, we can save for it on the criminal justice side. We don’t have to put so many people in jail and that kind of thing.”
While he believes its a hard task with partisan politics, Dedor said that they need to have an honest discussion about the Managed Care Organizations (MCO) in Iowa and how they have affected those who use them.
“I think the data’s going to say the people of Iowa who rely on that service have been hurt,” Dedor said. “We don’t have enough oversight.”
He thinks they need to rebuild the state-run system, but that it would save money and would have more oversight.