Doug Gross: Gov. Reynolds’ ‘Symbolic Message’ of Rejecting Federal Money is Bad for Iowa

Politics

FILE- In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Part 1: Gov. Reynolds’ ‘Symbolic Message’ of Rejecting Federal Money is Bad for Iowa, Doug Gross Says

In less than a month, the extra $300 a week in federal benefits for Iowa’s unemployed will disappear instead of in September when it was set to expire. Gov. Kim Reynolds joined several other Republican governors in making that decision. Reynolds said it’s time for people to get back to work and that businesses need workers and people should no longer fear COVID-19.

Doug Gross was the Republican nominee for Iowa governor in 2002 and served as Chief of Staff to former Gov. Terry Branstad. Gross said Reynolds has done well handling the pandemic when “she hasn’t been overtly partisan and political,” but he criticized some of her previous decisions such as her choice to reject $95 million in federal money meant for coronavirus testing in schools.

Part 2: Possible Democratic Candidates for the 2022 Midterm Elections

The U.S. Census Bureau’s delay in analyzing and sending demographic information to states means Iowa lawmakers will likely gather again in special session this fall to approve new district boundaries rather than this spring like they typically would every ten years.

Redistricting delays may delay decisions in major Democratic races like Congress, governor and U.S. Senate. Congresswoman Cindy Axne, State Auditor Rob Sand and former Secretary of State nominee Deidre DeJear are looking at their options. So are Waterloo State Rep. Ras Smith, former U.S. Senate candidate Michael Franken and former congressional candidate J.D. Scholten. An Insiders panel discussed the possible Democratic candidates for the 2022 midterm elections.

Part 3: Why Iowa’s Pandemic Recovery Has a Long Way to Go

The day after Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that she is ending the federal $300 a month additional unemployment benefit, she held an event at the Food Bank of Iowa in Des Moines to honor those who have helped feed the hungry. Here’s one statistic that jumped out about food insecurity in Iowa.

The Food Bank of Iowa reports that before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, 305,100 Iowans were considered food insecure. In May of 2020 — during the worst of shutdowns and layoffs — that spiked to 458,850 people. It’s better now, but still 405,100 people may struggle to find enough to eat. That means 100,000 more Iowans now are on the brink of going hungry than were before the coronavirus emerged. That shows how much recovery still remains.

Insiders Quick 6: Doug Gross and Jessica Vanden Berg

In the Insiders Quick 6 … how lawmakers should fund prisons and schools and whether U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley will run for re-election.

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