Jim Steffen (R-Argyle) says southern Lee County needs a new voice in Des Moines.
Steffen works at the Iowa State Penitentiary. He also serves in the Iowa National Guard.
This run for state office is the first time Steffen has ever run for political office.
Steffen entered the race in House District 83, which spans 2/3 of Lee County, because of action taken by his opponent, Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) and his fellow House Democrats.
He says it was not a vote, but rather the walk-out by the caucus in February to prevent a debate on several pieces of gun legislation.
“When they did that in Wisconsin, it really made me mad,” says Steffen, “and then they turn around and do it here and it was the same thing. I went to a couple of Lee County meetings because I was going to run for supervisor, but when I spoke about that, they asked me to do this.”
As soon as he made up his mind, Steffen had to get on the ballot because he missed the original deadline for the June Republican Primary.
He tried a write-in campaign during the primary, but fell short of the required votes because redistricting led to the number being based on a congressional seat instead of a seat in the Iowa House.
Steffen’s mission was accomplished, though, via a county convention over the summer.
He says if elected, he will be a hard worker who is willing to listen and work to get things changed.
Steffen wants to shrink the size of Iowa’s government and lower all taxes, though he acknowledges that those are not the only way to encourage job creation and retention.
“It’s not just taxes, it is the restrictions and regulations that need to be looked at,” says Steffen. “If they are not current or they are really restrictive, we need to remove them so businesses can compete.”
Steffen’s example of what he calls an out-of-control regulation is when a small business with 2-3 employees has to build a handicapped accessible bathroom.
Steffen says he supports Governor Terry Branstad’s plan for gradually reducing commercial property taxes and would encourage the state and lawmakers to reach out to businesses in other states or even countries to see if they are interested in moving to Iowa.
Steffen says his vision for education in Iowa relies on local control from the districts and counties. He says the Iowa Department of Education’s primary role would be standardized testing and working with community colleges and universities.
Steffen also says the state should not fund preschool.
“I don’t see them learning any more between preschool and kindergarten then they would coming out of kindergarten or 1st grade any better than they were,” says Steffen. “If they want to do it, school board or locally, that is fine, but I don’t think it should be state-mandated.”
Steffen says he opposes an increase in the gasoline tax and supports a proposed constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman.