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Candidates for Senate District 39 discuss Medicaid, bipartisanship at forum

GTNS photo by David Hotle

Iowa Senate District 39 candidates Heather Hora, left, and Kevin Kinney, right, attended a candidate forum in Washington Tuesday evening.
GTNS photo by David Hotle Iowa Senate District 39 candidates Heather Hora, left, and Kevin Kinney, right, attended a candidate forum in Washington Tuesday evening.

Iowa Senate District 39 incumbent Kevin Kinney, D, and challenger Heather Hora, R, met Tuesday during a candidate forum held by the Washington Chamber of Commerce in the Washington Performing Arts and Events Center.

During the debate, Kinney explained he lives in rural Johnson County on his family’s century farm. He said it has been an honor to serve the public for the previous four years. He also said he has worked in a nonpartisan manner to accomplish things for the state, including introducing legislation on human trafficking and on industrial hemp. He said while the hemp bill passed out of the senate, the house hadn’t considered it yet.

“I want to go back to Des Moines and I want to work on the hemp legislation so we can create jobs in Iowa and give farmers another alternative for crops,” he said.

Hora, who lives outside Washington, said she had served on the national pork board for three terms, chairing the membership committee as well as serving on the Washington County Pork Board. She has traveled around the world learning about trade. She said she was also the president of the Iowa Children’s Museum Board and was the youngest Republican Woman chair in the county.

“I have three children in school now and I wanted to make sure Iowa is a place they will want to come back to and help make Iowa that place,” she said.

Kinney discussed the privately run Medicare program, saying 10 percent of funding is going out of state rather than to Iowa patients and providers. He said he had been caught by surprise when the privatization had been announced.

“We need to get control of the system,” he said. “There have been businesses forced out of business because of lack of payments.”

Hora said she believes the issue is being “oversimplified,” saying public Medicaid had problems which is why it had been changed. “I think the question we need to ask is what is broken about it,” she said. “Once we see why the change was made we need to see what is good and what is bad. That is a conversation we all need to have.”

Hora and Kinney both stressed the idea of legislators working together across party lines to get things accomplished.

“I have a proven track record of working across the aisle to get good bills passed into law,” Kinney said.

Hora explained she did not know where the division between parties that has been seen over the last few years came from, but she said she has worked with a variety of people with a variety of beliefs.

“It is just about coming together as a unit and getting done what is best for the people,” she said.