Sioux City attorney Jim Carlin is running in a contested Republican primary in Iowa House District 6 that covers southwest Woodbury County which includes the southern half of Sioux City and Sergeant Bluff. The winner of the June 7th primary between Calin and Jacob Bossman will compete against the Democrat candidate, Perla Alarcon-Flory, to replace State Representative Ron Jorgensen (R-Sioux City) who is retiring.
Carlin is originally from the east coast but chose Iowa as the place to build a life and family because of its values and the friendliness of its people. He has been a resident of Sioux City since 1992. Carlin and his wife Donna have been married for 20 years and together they raised three children, Wesley, Whitney and Hannah. They are the proud grandparents of Bennett, Anne and Clara.
Carlin has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a juris doctorate from the Marquette University School of Law.
Carlin is an attorney who has represented individuals and families in the state courts of Iowa for over 24 years. His passion for justice and the dignity of the individual has guided his career.
He is a veteran of the United States Army.
He has served as a highly involved and vital advocate for children and is a founding board member of the “Giving Exchange,” a non-profit corporation, with a vision to cultivate self-sustaining infrastructure for orphanages. The Giving Exchange has provided a septic tank, bathrooms, showers, hot water, Skype classroom, library, beds, bicycles and a chicken farm enclosure to meet basic needs, provide food and create a revenue stream for orphans in Nairobi, Kenya.
Carlin has been an active member of the Woodbury County Republican Party’s Central Committee for six years and has been a volunteer for candidate campaigns, poll watching and with The FAMiLY Leader.
He has served as an assistant football coach at Morningside College; in a church nursing home visitation program for eighteen years; volunteered as an instructor for federal inmates at Dismas Charities; and served as a youth basketball coach at Upward Sports. He is a member of Morningside Assembly of God Church.
He is also a member of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), National Rifle Association, and American Legion.
He also attends Sioux City Men of Valor an interdenominational men’s Bible study.
Carlin completed a survey Caffeinated Thoughts sent to all legislative candidates.
Why do you want to serve as a state legislator?
I have decided to run for the Iowa House of Representatives, because, like a lot of grandparents, I am very concerned about the kind of future my grandchildren will have. I think we all want them to have the same freedoms, values, education and opportunities we have had or better. I believe we have a responsibility to them to do all we can to make that happen.
Describe your worldview and what role that would play as a state legislator:
My worldview consists of values that I believe elevate the dignity and potential of the individual. They are faith, freedom, family, sanctity of life, lower taxes, limited government and the free market. The decisions I make will be guided by how legislation elevates or marginalizes the individual when interpreted through these core values.
Your top three issues of concern are?
I am concerned about Iowa’s tax policy which has created a business climate that ranks 40th in the country. We are losing businesses to Nebraska and South Dakota because of our high corporate tax rates, personal income tax rates and property tax rates. The tax revenue that is lost as a result of that has to be made up for by the remaining businesses and tax players through higher commercial and residential property taxes. Northwest Iowa, in particular, has been hurt by Iowa’s tax policy. I would be an advocate for tax reform that offers a more level playing field with our neighbors. Presently, there is no long term path forward.
Iowa used to rank in the top of the country in education. A recent US News and World Report study ranked our high schools nationally at 45th. Our elementary schools’educational growth was ranked last by a 2012 Harvard study. I believe this is due in large part to the federal and state bureaucracy. Much, if not all, the decision making authority has been taken from local school boards, teachers and parents on taxes, spending and curriculum by that bureaucracy. The process of education has become more about preparing for a test that teaching the substance of the course material. I am concerned that not enough attention is being given to history, classics and critical thinking skills which would provide a more well rounded education that would translate better in the real world.
Traditional family values build lives. They have a place in the conversation of government due the profound implications of departing from them. Fatherlessness has unequivocally been shown to be one of primary causes of crime, poverty, mental health problems and addiction. It is time to have a reality based conversation about the economic and social implications associated with departing from the traditional family as a foundation. Children need a the active involvement of a mother and father to guide them in their formative years.
What is your position on education, in particular Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core and high stakes testing?
I believe children were better educated prior to Common Core. SAT and ACT scores certainly speak to that as well our decline in ranking among western nations. I am not comfortable with a nationalized educational process because it grants the federal government too much power not delegated by the Constitution. The process should be results driven but that can be done more than adequately by the states. I would be in favor of some form of testing to know whether a child has learned enough to move on to the next grade. I recently spoke with a retired educational administrator who simply stated that “You will not fix the classroom until you fix the home.” I think there is a lot of wisdom in that statement. Dogmatic abstractions may look good on paper but its reality based results we should be concerned with.
How do you define local control in education?
Local control of schools means giving voting parents, teachers and school boards some decision making authority on taxes, spending and curriculum. I am not opposed to some oversight from the state government but not to the point where school boards have no meaningful authority in spending or curriculum. Parents should be empowered with a significant tax credit or tax savings account if they desire to place their children in private school as an alternative.
When does someone become a person and at what point should they be granted all constitutional protections of a person under the law?
I believe life begins at conception. I would be in favor of a Constitutional Personhood Amendment recognizing that truth.
Do you support recently passed legislation in the Iowa House allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision:
Children under the age of 14 should be permitted to use handguns with adult supervision for the purpose of safety training and familiarization with handguns. I do think though that the age of the children should be reasonably set at 10 or older.
Do you support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment:
I have my concealed to carry permit and am a member of the NRA. I am an advocate for the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and the right to carry a concealed weapon.
Do you support raising any taxes. And, have you supported raising any taxes in the past? If so, which ones?
I do not support raising taxes. I have not been in position to ever raise taxes.
What will you do as a state legislator to lessen the tax burden on farmers and small businesses?
South Dakota has no corporate taxes or personal income taxes and has boomed economically. Iowa has the second highest corporate tax rate and 5th highest personal income tax rates and ranks 40th in business climate. It has resulted in little incentive for new businesses, lower salaries, higher costs for good and services, and less take home pay. Our tax rates have been shown to be unproductive when compared with our neighbors who have lower rates and are generating the same per capita tax revenue. Abolishing or lowering the corporate tax rate and lowering the income tax rate would get Iowa on the right side of the Laffer Curve. It would generate more tax revenue and allow farmers, businesses and Iowans to keep and invest more of the money they earn. Iowa would also benefit from a less onerous regulatory climate that simply costs business and farmers too much.
Do you support traditional marriage and is there anything you hope to do as a state legislator regarding marriage and how?
I have been married to my wife Donna for 20 years. Traditional marriage is the foundation of society. I believe the exclusivity and commitment of marriage between one man and one woman elevates how men, women and children are valued. I would be in favor of a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
What is your position on Christians refusing service at same-sex weddings?
The 1st Amendment of the Constitution provides for freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof. Ministers can not and should not be forced to serve in gay weddings in violation of their conscience or the tenets of their faith.
What will you do as legislator, if anything, to strengthen religious liberty?
I would be in favor of a law similar to the Georgia law was vetoed which provided that ministers could not be forced to officiate gay weddings. I also do not believe religious organizations should be forced to hire gay employees.
Do you support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa?
I do not support Syrian refugees in Iowa until such time as there is an accurate vetting process in place to determine whether a refugee presents a threat of harm. Our first responsibility is to protect the citizens of this state and our country.
What type of pro-life bills would you support?
I would support a bill recognizing the Personhood of the unborn. Bills which bring about incremental change on the life issue have the potential to save lives. They are controversial because they may also, in some measure, be perceived as an acknowledgement that life does not begin at conception. I know I would want to save every life and that would make this decision on incremental change a very difficult one.
Should taxpayer money pay for Planned Parenthood?
There should be no taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.
In what circumstances would you go against the leadership of your own caucus if elected?
I would not violate my conscience or values just to be in agreement with leadership. There are instances where the interests of two groups of people must compete against each other. There are also some instances where some degree of pragmatism is needed. I would, however, strive to be in harmony with my conscience and core values. If a conflict arose between my party and my values, I would side with my values.