Iowa state Sen. Rob Bacon was the guest of honor as the Hamilton County Republicans held an open house on Tuesday. Residents snacked on bacon wrapped weinies and bacon on toothpicks while they discussed politics with Bacon, who is running for the Iowa House seat in District 48.
Bacon said the move was brought on by redistricting. The new district goes from Huxley to Waverly, and Republicans already own that seat. He said it makes more sense for him to switch over to the House to represent the same constituents he has been serving since January of 2011.
Bacon has been endorsed by several organizations. Last year, he was named legislator of the year by the Iowa Physician's Assistant Society. Bacon said getting doctors to rural areas in facilities like Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City is very important. He has also received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.
Iowa state Senator Rob Bacon, center, met with his constiuents at the Hamilton County Republican headquarters on Tuesday. Bacon is running for the state House seat in District 48 this year after redistricting moved his state Senate seat. He said voters are concerned about federal issues, including Obamacare.
On the issues
Bacon said the budget, on the subject of issues, comes first. He said the state was spending $1.17 for every dollar of tax revenue two years ago. In the last two years, the budget has been reduced to 98 cents for every dollar.
"It's always important to make sure we have money and we're not like California or some of the other states, or worse yet, like the United States," Bacon said. "We want to make sure the money is there."
Iowa law states that legislators can only spend 99 percent of revenue, and Bacon said he would support a constitutional amendment of the same nature. Bacon said he expects the budget to stay right around 98 percent of revenue.
Education reform has been important to Bacon as well as Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. For Bacon, positive reform for students has to come from their families.
"All education comes down to how much support the kid gets at home," Bacon said. "You can't blame teachers and you can't blame administration when they don't get the help at home."
Property tax and mental health reform were also issues that Bacon said will be big this year. Bacon serves on the health and human resource committee as well as the sub-budget committee of that. He said every county, in theory, will have core services for mental health. That means someone living in rural Iowa will have the same services someone living in Des Moines would have, according to Bacon.
At the open house, Bacon said people were mainly concerned about federal rather than state issues, Obamacare topping that list. Bacon said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has some constituents lost while they wait to see if it will go into effect, largely depending on the Presidential election this year.
Bacon spoke to one gentleman before the open house who bought a house and is fixing it up, but finds himself in limbo with a $29,000 difference on the house if Obamacare goes into effect.
Self-described as the "Coordinator of Stuff," Becky Kepler helped organize the open house and many other events for the Hamilton County Republicans. She said visitors to the open house have been very positive.
"We're ready to elect a new president," Kepler said.
The country needs, according to Kepler, someone who is fiscally responsible. She said the debt that Obama was left with from George W. Bush has been miniscule compared to what he has run up. She said Romney and Ryan bring business and fiscal experience as well as the promise to carry a big stick against other nations. She said, at the moment, America looks weak on an international level.
Kepler organized the HC Republicans annual chili supper, which will be held this year on Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hamilton County fairgrounds. This year, the event features keynote speaker Simon Conway of WHO radio. She also helps organize an event every spring.
Kepler said the headquarters, which opened earlier this month, offers residents a chance to come in and converse with like-minded people. It also gives candidates a base to meet and talk with constituents. The HQ also distributes yard signs and bumper stickers as well as absentee ballot requests and registration forms.
The headquarters is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.