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The following editorial was published in The Fort Dodge Messenger on May 6:

In January, Gov. Kim Reynolds set out an ambitious agenda for Iowa lawmakers. With the 2019 legislative session now over, the governor can look back on what was accomplished with a good deal of satisfaction.

Not everything she advocated was approved but major progress in moving toward the goals she outlined in her Condition of the State Address was achieved.

“The biggest winners of this legislative session were Iowa students, families, farmers, small business owners and our rural communities,” Reynolds said in a statement issued just after the Legislature adjourned. “We made historic investments into pre-K-12 Education and put more money into community colleges and our public universities. We protected job creators who hire individuals with past criminal offenses and funded the Future Ready Iowa Initiative, so that Iowans can get the skills they need for cutting-edge careers.”

Among the most important actions by the Legislature were increased funding for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education and the creation of a first-of-its-kind Children’s Mental Health System for the state. Additionally, the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, which got the Legislature’s approval, will help make sure that no part of the Hawkeye State is left behind as we ready our state for continued success in the 21st century.

Reynolds asked the Legislature to begin the process of amending the state’s constitution to make essentially automatic the restitution of voting rights to felons once they had completed their sentences.

Even though this action had strong support among lawmakers it failed to achieve approval this year. We applaud the governor’s commitment to keep this proposal moving forward when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

We commend the governor and members of the Legislature for continuing to keep the state’s finances in good order. Frugal management of the monies provided by Iowa’s taxpayers long has been a priority of the Republican Party. Reynolds and the GOP majorities in both houses of the Legislature are keeping faith with that important goal.

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Looking to the future, the governor has an innovative vision for Iowa.

“We will also continue our focus on growing the economy as well as create opportunities to attract top talent to Iowa by sharing our story as a vibrant, affordable and welcoming state,” Reynolds said.

The Messenger thanks the governor for her superb leadership and dedication to keeping Iowa a wonderful place to call home and a state with an exceptionally bright future.

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