Royce Phillips is a Republican candidate running in a contested primary in Iowa House District 77 which includes Western and Southern Johnson County. The seat is open after State Representative Sally Stutsman (D-Riverside) announced that she would not run for reelection.

Phillips is the former mayor of Tiffin. Phillips, a native of Forth Worth, Texas, Phillips also previously served on Tiffin’s city council and has been the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Coralville since 1983. He is a member of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce and a past president and member of the North Corridor Rotary Club.

Phillips completed a survey sent by Caffeinated Thoughts.

Why do you want to serve as a state legislator?

Several years ago I was “drafted” by 4 sitting city council members to run for mayor.  They got me elected, with some door-knocking.  We had 2 good terms and I learned a great deal.  I learned I had some political abilities that should translate to the state house, such as vision, consensus building, citizen response, capital projects, taxes, and many others.  Several citizens have encouraged me to take this “next step” and I considered it for a long time.

Describe your worldview and what role that would play as a state legislator:

My worldview would be that of a conservative Christian.  I have 3 degrees in theology and have been a pastor for 33 years.  I say I am a Christian first, a conservative next, and a Republican if the first 2 line up with that.

Your top three issues of concern are?

  1. The moral and ethical concerns in all areas
  2. Financial soundness and reasonable taxation
  3. Planning for the 21st century–infrastructure, technology, education, and other areas

What is your position on education, in particular Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core and high stakes testing?

As a former high science valedictorian I value adequate education immensely.  As the winner of both the science and math awards, I believe we cannot emphasize quality education enough.  I have a masters degree and halfway toward a doctorate.  Education is extremely important.  That said, I believe that most efforts by the federal government, and many by the states, are misguided.  In that I would include Common Core and programs like it.

How do you define local control in education?

I define local control in education as the local school board.  The state’s role is providing “encouragement” and resources.

When does someone become a person and at what point should they be granted all constitutional protections of a person under the law?

Someone becomes a “person” at conception.  Their abilities clearly change at birth and throughout their lives. I believe the right to life, and all other constitutional protections begin at conception.

Do you support recently passed legislation in the Iowa House allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision:

I think the key to allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision is the parental supervision. I see no problem with that concept. There are many under 14 who are fully capable without it, but I like the safeguard of an adult being present.

Do you support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment:

I support fully Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment.

Do you support raising any taxes. And, have you supported raising any taxes in the past? If so, which ones?

I believe taxes are high enough already.  As mayor we cut the city tax levy 3 times in 4 years.  The only reason it was only 3 was that we cut a little too much one year and had to wait a year for it to catch up. That would be my attitude in the statehouse.  The only way I could see myself raising ANY tax would be to cut another tax an equal or greater amount.

What will you do as a state legislator to lessen the tax burden on farmers and small businesses?

See my previous answer.  Also, I believe the farmers and small businesses are the backbone of Iowa’s economy.  I think we need to make it as easy on them as we can–taxes AND regulations.

Do you support traditional marriage and is there anything you hope to do as a state legislator regarding marriage and how?

I absolutely support traditional marriage.  I intend to be steadfast in that belief and practice.  As far as specific actions, I would have to see what doors I can kick open.

What is your position on Christians refusing service at same-sex weddings?

I believe this is a religious freedom issue.  Freedom of conscience is rapidly eroding in our nation. I will maintain our right to believe as the first amendment promises. Christians should NOT be punished because their views are not “politically correct” with what the government orders.

What will you do as legislator, if anything, to strengthen religious liberty?

I have alluded to this already. I will actively work in every area I can to support religious liberty.  It very well may be the most important issue of our lifetimes.

Do you support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa?

I do NOT support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa.  While I have sympathy for the Syrians and their devastated country, I am not convinced that there are provisions in place to guarantee Americans’ safety by allowing thousand of Syrians into our country.

What type of pro-life bills would you support?

I believe life begins at conception.  I will support any legislation that supports that fact. For the record, I do not believe there should be exceptions for rape or incest.  The child is not at fault and should not have to die for the wrongs of a parent.  In all cases, both mother and child should be saved, if at all possible.

Should taxpayer money pay for Planned Parenthood?

Short answer, NO.  I am all for healthcare for women, but I DO NOT believe abortion is healthcare.

In what circumstances would you go against the leadership of your own caucus if elected?

I will not violate my conscience on any issue to “get along” with ANY political party.  I will not be mean-spirited about it, I simply refuse to violate my conscience.

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