State Senator Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa) is running for his 2nd term representing Iowa Senate District 40 in the Iowa Senate. He is unopposed in the upcoming Republican primary on June 7. Currently he does not have a general election opponent.
Rozenboom is a farmer, agri-businessman and life-long Iowan who was born and resides in Mahaska County, Rozenboom is a graduate of Pella Christian High School. He attended Calvin College in Michigan. After college, he returned home to farm with his father and brother before taking a position in sales and production management for Wake’s Inc., a local agricultural supplier. After 30 years with Wake’s, he and his brother now operate Rosewood Farms, a family farming operation in rural Mahaska County.
Prior to his election to the Iowa Senate in 2012, Rozenboom served on the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors.
Besides farming and family life, Rozenboom has served as an elder and deacon in the Bethel Christian Reformed Church and served several years on the board for the Oskaloosa Christian School. He served on community boards for many years, including serving as chairman for two local agencies: the Human Services Resource Council, an organization that provides emergency needs for low income families, and the Christian Opportunity Center board, which provides residential and vocational services for special needs adults. Senator Rozenboom is also a member of the Mahaska County Farm Bureau and Oskaloosa Rotary Club.
Rozenboom is married, and he and his wife, Becky, have two children. Their daughter and son-in-law live in New South Wales, Australia and have three children. The couple’s adult son lives and works in Alaska.
Rozenboom completed a survey sent to all legislative candidates by Caffeinated Thoughts.
Why do you want to serve as a state legislator?
Because I believe each of us should step up and take responsibility for ourselves, our family, our church, our school, our community, our state, our country and our world when called to do so. God has given each of us a set of skills and experiences that we must use to serve Him and our neighbors. In my case I find myself doing something I never aspired to. However, after re-districting occurred following the 2010 census, I was asked to consider serving in the Senate because the incumbent’s political views were not consistent with those of District 40 voters. I believe my experience in business and as a County Supervisor equipped me to play a constructive role in establishing policy for the state of Iowa, I believe my political views are a good match for the people I represent, and I believe I have been called to do this at this point in my life.
Describe your worldview and what role that would play as a state legislator:
My worldview is certainly shaped by my faith. I believe that we live in a world beset with sin, that God sent His Son to redeem us through His sacrificial death, and that we are called to accept His promise of an eternity in His presence. Further, we are commissioned to demonstrate that promise to others. What that means as a legislator is that we must be able to discern that which is good from that which is evil. The Judeo-Christian values that guided the establishment of this country must be recognized, valued and upheld. Those values can be either strengthened or weakened by most political decisions.
Your top three issues of concern are?
1. Social issues. I will always fight to protect the unborn baby and traditional marriage. 2. Government spending. There are essential roles that government must play, including providing for the poor, the sick and those with special needs. However, government cannot be all thing s to all people. We must recognize the difference between providing for those that cannot provide for themselves, and enabling those who will not provide for themselves. 3. Water quality. Because of my experience in agriculture, and because of my committee assignment as the ranking member (hopefully chairman) of the Natural Resources and Environment committee, I believe we need to accurately assess the condition of our natural resources, and carefully target our financial resources.
What is your position on education, in particular Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core and high stakes testing?
My education as a student and as a parent was in the Christian school, but I passionately believe that Iowa’s education system must be effective for every student. I am a firm advocate for school choice, whether it be public, parochial, private, Christian or home schooling. I believe that we need to return our schools to more local control, with far less influence from the state, and certainly no influence from the federal government. I believe we have largely abandoned proven teaching methods in favor of untested methods that Common Core and the Iowa Core have tried to force on our schools. I believe that we need to once again let our teachers teach, let our administrators provide a positive teaching environment, and let our local school boards make decisions.
How do you define local control in education?
Let school boards control their own budgets and spend education dollars as they see fit. Change collective bargaining rules so that school boards and administrators can reward those who do an excellent job of teaching, provide additional training and support to those teachers who are struggling, and encourage those who are failing to find another line of work.
When does someone become a person and at what point should they be granted all constitutional protections of a person under the law?
When they are conceived. And at that point they should be valued and protected by their mother, their father and by society.
Do you support recently passed legislation in the Iowa House allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision:
Yes. We are taught at a very young age to keep our hands off of hot surfaces and not run in front of cars. Teaching and learning safety and responsibility begin immediately regardless of the potential danger. Why should guns or other weapons be any different?
Do you support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment:
Yes. Just like I support the Constitution all of its amendments.
Do you support raising any taxes. And, have you supported raising any taxes in the past? If so, which ones?
Generally speaking, I resist raising taxes. Having said that, I did support raising the gas tax rate in 2015. And here’s why: the gas tax is indexed to gallons, and is not assessed as a percentage. Therefore the gas tax does not recognize inflation as an economic factor, while our infrastructure costs are inflated over time. I have often been told that “conservatives don’t raise taxes”; my response is that “conservatives don’t kick the can down the road and burden the next generation with debt because we were unwilling to maintain infrastructure.” We complain, rightfully so, that our national debt is immoral because we are passing that debt on to the next generations. That’s what we have been doing with our transportation infrastructure. Passing the burden on to our children by borrowing money (counties) and by creating a maintenance deficit by not fixing our roads and bridges.
What will you do as a state legislator to lessen the tax burden on farmers and small businesses?
Iowa is known as a state with friendly people and unfriendly tax policy. We addressed the excessive commercial tax policy in 2013, and also slowed the growth of property tax for homeowners and farmers in that same legislation. I believe we must reduce the income and corporate tax structure so that we can encourage more economic growth in Iowa, and stop the use of tax incentives to draw new industry to our state. With respect to farmers, I’ll go back the water quality matter. I firmly believe the quality of Iowa’s water has been badly misrepresented by the popular media and by many activists. To avoid excessive and punitive farm tax policy, we must properly assess our water and soil resources, and carefully target money to those geographic areas and conservation practices that achieve real progress.
Do you support traditional marriage and is there anything you hope to do as a state legislator regarding marriage and how?
Yes, I absolutely support traditional marriage! Sadly, the courts have taken this issue away from the legislative process for now, but I will continue to try to influence our culture in private and public conversations, and by praying that our state and our nation will return to our Judeo-Christian values.
What is your position on Christians refusing service at same-sex weddings?
I believe it is a clear infringement on their Constitutionally protected religious rights. And it’s sad!
What will you do as legislator, if anything, to strengthen religious liberty?
I will always advocate for and vote for any legislation that does strengthen religious liberty, and I will oppose any legislation that even hints of restricting that liberty. It seems to me that our rights often “die from a thousand cuts”. We must always be on guard to recognize when another freedom is being restricted, no matter how slight the restriction may be.
Do you support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa?
I supported and participated in the welcoming of refugees from Vietnam and Laos a couple of generations ago, and still have the same heart to welcome those who are truly oppressed. But this is clearly different. I will not support allowing those refugees just because the federal government says we must. I do not trust the current administration for a minute to properly identify who is a refugee and who is a terrorist. We certainly should have learned that lesson from Europe by now. I will not support Syrian refugees into Iowa until Washington figures out who is legitimate and who isn’t.
Would you support a bill supporting Personhood? Do you also support bills that bring incremental change on the life issue?
Yes and yes. As I stated earlier, I believe that life begins at conception and science continues to support that belief. I also believe that every life that can be saved should be saved. In a perfect world we would simply, as a culture, recognize the value of all live, born and unborn. That will not happen overnight, and until it does I feel compelled to save every live we can!
Should taxpayer money pay for Planned Parenthood?
Absolutely not! Planned Parenthood has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that they promote and profit from abortion despite their lip service to “women’s health”. It is an affront to any taxpayer to use their money for such an evil practice.
In what circumstances would you go against the leadership of your own caucus if elected?
There is no question that I will always support the unborn child and marriage defined as between one man and one woman at any time, any place, regardless of leadership wishes. That is non-negotiable. There are other times as well in the past that I have resisted the wishes of leadership. Ultimately, I represent Senate District 40.