Skyler Wheeler is a Republican candidate in Iowa House District 4 that includes most of Sioux County (Sioux Center, Orange City and Rock Valley). There is a three-way contested primary to replace State Representative John Kooiker (R-Boyden) who decided not to run for another term after winning a special election to fill the seat that was vacant after State Representative Dwayne Alons (R-Hull) passed away.
Democrats currently do not have anyone running, and this is a safe Republican district so it’s likely that the winner of the primary will be the next State Representative for the district.
Wheeler grew up in Olympia, Washington, the state’s capitol. He had many friends and peers who had a parent or two employed by the state. One of his best friend’s dad is a lobbyist for different cities in the state while another friend’s dad used to drive around the governor.
Government was always of interest to Wheeler. His parents are avid conservatives. He has nine siblings as his father is a pest control technician while his mother is a stay-at-home mom. He has been blessed with seven nieces and nephews.
Wheeler is married to Jess, and they attended high school together and met at church in sixth grade.
Wheeler’s interest in politics continued as he attended Grays Harbor Community College to play baseball. He broke several baseball records at the school and was a first-team All-West Region selection. He earned a scholarship after his second year at Grays Harbor to attend Northwestern College in Orange City.
Having never been to Iowa, Wheeler packed up with a buddy and took off for the Midwest. It is here he found the place he wanted to call home.
Skyler graduated with his Bachelor’s in political science. A couple months later, he took a job with Iowa Information Inc. of Sheldon as the Inside Sales Coordinator.
Wheeler began his Master’s degree program online through Regent University. He is going for a Master’s in government and is weighing the option of a possible graduate certificate in Law and Public Policy.
Wheeler has always eyed getting involved in politics. When he was still a teenager, he joined his county’s start-up Tea Party group. He also attended events around town where different Republican candidates spoke.
Northwestern College recreated its College Republicans group while Wheeler attended school there, and he was an early member. After graduating, he volunteered for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, becoming a Sioux County Co-Chair. He has also volunteered for Christians United for Israel, as well as for the Orange City two-precinct caucuses (now named the caucus manager for that precinct on that night).
He and Jess currently attend Cornerstone Baptist Church in Orange City. They also attend a weekly Bible study with other young adults from the area.
Wheeler took time to answer a survey that Caffeinated Thoughts sent.
Why do you want to serve as a state legislator?
Former Rep. Dwayne Alons served our district with an unapologetic passion for Christian conservative principles. Rep. Alons was not only a well-liked and respected voice in Sioux County, but he was a leader among Christian conservatives across the state and especially in Des Moines.
I am running for the Iowa House because I believe in continuing the fight to advance, promote and defend Christian conservative principles in Des Moines. I am a full-spectrum conservative who will defend the positions that matter most to Fourth District voters.
Describe your worldview and what role that would play as a state legislator:
My worldview begins with the Bible and taking it in its literal form. Using the Bible as my compass, I come to conclusions that life is precious, marriage is one natural man and one natural woman, taxes should not be overbearing, and the government’s job is to reward those who abide by the law and punish those who do not. As a state legislator, I will use the Bible as my starting point for making decisions on what legislation I should support and which I should oppose.
Your top three issues of concern are?
- Protecting unborn and innocent life from conception to natural death
- Protecting our religious liberty against an increasing amount of opposition
- Defending our Second Amendment rights and instituting Stand Your Ground and Constitutional Carry.
What is your position on education, in particular Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core and high stakes testing?
I firmly oppose Common/Iowa Core and will lead the fight in the Iowa House to demolish it. I also oppose NGSS as it pushes climate change and leaves out lessons on the human body and even excludes high school physics. NGSS also pushes evolution even more. I am also opposed to high stakes testing as it puts unneeded stress on the teachers, students and parents. My wife was a much better student than I was in high school and college, but I would do much better than her on tests. Based off of some of these new education requirements, a brilliant student like her could have been held back because she performed poorly on a test. It also forces teachers and schools to really put the pressure on because schools with bad test scores may/will lose funding.
How do you define local control in education?
Local control of education means leaving the education decisions to the people that are closest to the students. Parents, school board members, teachers, etc. should be making decisions on the academic side as well as how to make improvements to the school and what individual students need to succeed. Back in the 1950’s, Iowa’s schools used to be fully funded on property taxes. Now, with the federal and even state governments funding so much of our schools, the idea of local control is gone. The federal and state governments don’t give this money away without forcing what they want on those who take the funding. What we need is to get back to funding our schools locally and not allowing our school districts to be controlled by the federal or state government.
When does someone become a person and at what point should they be granted all constitutional protections of a person under the law?
Life begins at conception and should end in a natural death. A person should be granted all constitutional protections at the moment of conception.
Do you support recently passed legislation in the Iowa House allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision:
Yes. I believe it is important to teach kids how to properly use handguns as well as defend themselves. I played collegiate baseball and I give much credit to my development of skills for that particular sport starting at a young age. The more you practice, the more you know and it will increase the amount of responsible gun owners we have.
Do you support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment:
Yes, I fully support Constitutional Carry and the Second Amendment. I also support Stand Your Ground and would like to implement a “Second Amendment” Sales Tax Holiday like they have in Louisiana for Iowa gun owners.
Do you support raising any taxes? And, have you supported raising any taxes in the past? If so, which ones?
No, I do not support raising taxes and I can’t think of a tax I ever would have supported in raising in the past. I am a fiscal conservative and believe we should really be cutting taxes right now, especially in Iowa.
What will you do as a state legislator to lessen the tax burden on farmers and small businesses?
This is especially important for the district I’m hoping to represent. I believe the tax coupling bill was an absolute must for farmers and small businesses, and I’m glad they got it done this year. I will push each year for coupling as long as it helps our farmers and small businesses. Obamacare is another killer of our small businesses, and anything we can do at the state level to lessen this I would support. Anything we can do to cut taxes for the farmers and small businesses I am for. We need to create a tax incentive to keep them here and not allow them to go west to South Dakota (my area specifically) as well as allow them to grow (get rid of the regulations and taxes that are restraining it).
Do you support traditional marriage and is there anything you hope to do as a state legislator regarding marriage and how?
Marriage is between one natural man and one natural woman. I will support any legislation that defends this definition or helps promote the definition. As for doing something as a state legislator now, I would work for a Constitutional Amendment that would define marriage as the above. This is a bit of a long process in Iowa, but it’s absolutely worth the fight.
What is your position on Christians refusing service at same-sex weddings?
I believe Christians have every right both in the Constitution and in the Bible to refuse service at/or for same-sex weddings. Acts 5:29 states that we are to obey God rather than man, and that’s exactly what they are doing. They are also exercising their First Amendment rights. I will join those in the Iowa House to push to protect Christians from any more persecution in this state.
What will you do as legislator, if anything, to strengthen religious liberty?
Both of my predecessors (Dwayne Alons and John Kooiker) have sponsored legislation protecting Christians from persecution. I will continue this fight. As a Christian, I should not have to worry about getting into a lawsuit or even going to jail for following the teachings of Jesus.
Do you support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa?
No, I firmly oppose this. We cannot properly vet them and people who come to this country must come through the legal process like millions of immigrants have before them.
Would you support a bill supporting Personhood? Do you also support bills that bring incremental change on the life issue?
Yes, I would support a bill supporting Personhood. Specifically, I would have helped push the recent bill that was shot down in Sub-Committee defining life at conception. As for the incremental change, Dwayne Alons had supported these because he knew that the absolutist fight wasn’t working. In the House, I will begin with the life at conception bill, but if we can’t get it done, we need to make strides in the Personhood fight somehow.
Should taxpayer money pay for Planned Parenthood?
No it shouldn’t, and I will NOT vote for a budget that funds Planned Parenthood. It shouldn’t go to any organization involved in the abortion industry.
In what circumstances would you go against the leadership of your own caucus if elected?
I am to obey God rather than man. I am not seeking this position because I want 99 friends or even 50 for that matter. My job would be to represent the most Conservative district in the state, and I will do so. I will absolutely go against leadership when it comes to anything that does not fit my Christian conservative beliefs and those of my constituents.