The Kim Reynolds Workforce Crisis

Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, 12/9/21

The biggest challenge facing the Iowa Legislature’s 2022 session is the Kim Reynolds Workforce Crisis.

In Iowa manufacturing, health care, education, our service industries…everywhere across our state there just aren’t enough workers.

And yet, too many Iowans are still leaving for better opportunity and better jobs in other states.

This disconnect should concern everyone.  An economy that doesn’t have enough workers or enough opportunity for hardworking Iowans is fundamentally broken.

Remember that before the pandemic, local Iowa chambers of commerce were telling legislators that they had three issues: workforce, workforce, and workforce.

Two years later, the Reynolds Workforce Crisis has only gotten worse. Iowa has more job openings than people without jobs, and there are fewer Iowans working today than nearly a decade ago before Kim Reynolds took office.

Kim Reynolds’ workforce crisis is negatively impacting virtually every industry in Iowa – especially health care. The Kim Reynolds Workforce Crisis is driving up health care costs for all Iowans and making it harder for Iowans to get critical and timely medical care when we need it.

The Iowa Republican agenda is driving working people, and especially young people, out of Iowa, and is repulsive to businesses and investors who might be looking at starting a new business in Iowa.

During the 2022 session, Senate Democrats will tackle this issue head on. We have an agenda to solve the Kim Reynolds workforce crisis and fix Iowa’s economy.

 We know how to attract more workers and employers to Iowa.  We will directly respond to the real-world concerns raised by Iowa’s business and community leaders.

Senate Democrats will focus on:

  • expanding career and technical education, and apprenticeships
  • making child care more available and affordable throughout Iowa
  • expanding broadband
  • fully funding public and higher education
  • increasing Iowa’s affordable housing 
  • and other steps to get Iowa’s economy back on its feet.

We will press the Reynolds Administration to go beyond toothless commissions and committees and instead take full advantage of the new federal investments in infrastructure, health care, child care, and education in President Biden’s infrastructure and Build Back Better bills.

Unlike Iowa Republicans, Senate Democrats believe in Iowa’s future, and we have a plan to make it happen.

Republicans are focused on their latest culture war distraction. They don’t have a plan to solve Kim Reynolds Workforce Crisis, so they’re trying to distract folks with new extremist ideas like banning books and jailing teachers and librarians.

Let me tell you – when current and prospective teachers see headlines like that, it only accelerates the Reynolds Workforce Crisis.

Iowa business leaders have repeatedly told Statehouse committees that these red meat Republican culture wars cause people and businesses to leave Iowa, and they make people think twice about whether or not they want to relocate to our state. 

Iowa Republicans refused to listen, and that helped create and accelerate the Reynolds Workforce Crisis.

We’ve got to set aside the red meat culture wars and focus instead on growing Iowa’s economy, putting more money into the pockets of working Iowans, and rebuilding Iowa’s reputation as a great place to live and raise a family.

That’s how Senate Democrats will take on Iowa’s number one problem: the Kim Reynolds Workforce Crisis.