Iowa State Representative Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville) is running for reelection in Iowa House District 63 which includes Bremer County and Northern Black Hawk County. Salmon is uncontested in the Republican primary on June 7th, but there is currently a three-way Democrat primary to determine who will challenge her for her seat. She has served in the Iowa House for two terms.
Salmon and her husband Matt live on an acreage between Janesville and Denver and have lived in northeast Iowa 25 years. She was born in Oklahoma where my dad was stationed with the Army at Fort Sill. After he was discharged her family moved back to the family farm near Kingsley in northwest Iowa where she grew up. We raised corn, soybeans, hogs, and cattle.
Salmon graduated from Kingsley-Pierson High School in 1973 and later from UNI in 1977 with a degree in Business Management. Upon graduation she was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and served from 1977-1980.
Salmon met her husband in the Marines and after she was discharged they were married and have been for 36 years. Matt is a helicopter pilot and retired from the Iowa Army National Guard with 34 years of military service. Salmon was a home educator for 18 years. They had 3 sons and Salmon homeschooled them all the way through high school, K-12, graduating the youngest in 2007. Salmon helped run an area homeschool cooperative that provided group educational activities for kids such as gym, choir, drama and speech. I also served as a 4-H leader for 14 years in Black Hawk County.
Their oldest son Caleb and his wife Sheridan, along with their son Ethan, are at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he is an attorney in his own private practice.
Their middle son Jesse and his wife Lacey, along with our 3-year old granddaughter Sidney and newborn grandson Titus, are stationed in Abilene, Texas where Jesse is a Captain on active duty in the Air Force and flies C-130’s.
Their youngest son Peter and his wife Amy with our grandson 1-year old Paul live nearby in Cedar Falls where he is the new senior pastor at Trinity Bible Church.
Salmon partners with my sister and our farmer to manage the family farm in northwest Iowa. She active in ministry at her church, Cornerstone Fellowship Church and Salmon served on a missions team to Uganda and Kenya.
Salmon is a member of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, Farm Bureau, Marine Corps League, Iowa Corn Growers, and Black Hawk County Republican Women.
Salmon completed a survey Caffeinated Thoughts sent to all Republican Iowa Legislative candidates.
Why do you want to serve as a state legislator?
I ran because I love God, my family, my state, and my nation. I see my state and my nation going in the wrong direction and feel called to do what I can to turn things around.
Describe your worldview and what role that would play as a state legislator:
I am a pro-life, pro-family, pro-economic growth, constitutional and fiscal conservative. The vision I carry in my heart for the future of my state and nation is one where liberty is abundant, government is limited, families are strong, economic opportunity is plentiful, God-given rights are defended, and the Constitution and the rule of law are respected. The dignity and worth of each person are valued and honored. People have the opportunity to create, innovate, produce, work hard, take responsibility, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This applies to family, business, and educational enterprises.
Your top three issues of concern are?
I have a hard time with a question like this because everything is important and I don’t want to leave anything out.
What is your position on education, in particular Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core and high stakes testing?
I have been working over the past 3 years to unhook Iowa from the federally incentivized Common Core system of centralized control over our children’s education. This is a direct threat to the local control of schools that Iowans have always prized. I believe standards ought to be set by the local school districts. Standardized tests can provide helpful information to a teacher but there are many other factors that should be used to evaluate a student’s performance. The federally-driven hyper-testing culture in our schools due to these high stakes tests is a direct source of oppressive tyranny rolling down from the federal and state governments onto students, parents, and teachers. The Smarter Balanced Assessment pushed by the Dept. of Education and the education lobbying groups is a cog in the machine of centralized control over education and should be rejected.
Next Generation Science Standards that has been adopted by our State Board of Education is a set of standards that is mediocre, leaves out areas of critical importance and is woven throughout with teaching of man’s negative impact on the environment, of the belief in man-made climate change, and of the religious belief in evolution. They should be repealed. I have sponsored a number of bills over the years to do all these things but have run into major roadblocks in the legislature and so have made little progress thus far. However, last week the Smarter Balanced Assessment was voted to be delayed one year being implemented in the schools. Perhaps a ray of hope. The House version is worded different than the Senate version, so we wait to see how they will bring it together. We have a chance next session to address this again.
How do you define local control in education?
Local control in education is where local school districts make the major decisions impacting their schools. The state has as minimal role as possible and the federal has no role.
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 and that is when they should begin to be guaranteed all the constitutional protections of a person under the law.
Do you support recently passed legislation in the Iowa House allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision:
Yes, I was a co-sponsor of that legislation and supported its passage in the House.
Do you support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment:
Yes, I sponsored the Constitutional Carry bill in the House but it did not advance. I am a supporter of expanding 2nd Amendment rights.
Do you support raising any taxes. And, have you supported raising any taxes in the past? If so, which ones?
No, I have not supported raising taxes. I supported the property tax reform bill in 2013 and did not support raising the gas tax in 2015. I don’t think we had any other bills that raised a tax. I am not running on raising taxes and do not plan on it.
What will you do as a state legislator to lessen the tax burden on farmers and small businesses?
One of the biggest things we can do is to keep the spending under control so we lower the pressure to raise taxes. I have supported a fiscally responsible budget each year. We also need to increase our tax base, simply the number of people paying taxes. That means we must support our businesses because they bring the people to our communities. I have supported tax credits and initiatives to increase the number of mid-level skilled workers businesses need desperately to start up, to keep their doors open, and to expand. I have also supported the flat tax option on our income tax which would have resulted in a tax cut for individuals and businesses. I also supported the property tax reform bill, which lowered the valuations on which property taxes are based, but more still needs to be done. We also need collective bargaining reform to tilt the playing field more in favor of the taxpayer and I have supported that in the House as well. As can be seen, much needs to be done in this area.
Do you support traditional marriage and is there anything you hope to do as a state legislator regarding marriage and how?
Yes, I believe the best policy on marriage is for Iowa law to only recognize the best union for children and that is between one man and one woman. I co-sponsored a bill proposing an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to do this, but it did not advance.
What is your position on Christians refusing service at same-sex weddings?
A Christian should not have to violate his faith by participating in this kind of wedding service to which he is morally opposed in order to run his business. The First Amendment protects our right to “free exercise of religion”, which means a person has the right to live and work according to his faith.
What will you do as legislator, if anything, to strengthen religious liberty?
Yes, I have introduced a couple of bills this past session to strengthen religious liberty, that is, the rights of citizens to practice their faith without fear of punishment by the government. However, these bills did not advance. I will continue to press on this issue.
Do you support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa?
Not unless they are vetted thoroughly enough so we know they do not pose a threat to our citizens. This is important because terrorists are suspected to be among those refugees.
When do you believe life begins and what types of pro-life legislation would you support?
Life begins at conception and I was a co-sponsor of a bill that would have provided for that but it did not advance. I was a co-sponsor and have also supported the ban on webcam abortion and the requirement that a woman seeking an abortion be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound. The webcam abortion bill passed the House but not the Senate, however the ultrasound requirement actually became law. I was also the sponsor of the Unborn Infants Dignity Act, which banned the sale of aborted baby body parts, and that passed the House but was not taken up by the Senate. Whatever is pro-life I support.
Should taxpayer money pay for Planned Parenthood?
Absolutely not. The state should not be directing taxpayer funding to organizations that kill unborn babies. The state should not be a partner with an organization like that. I have voted against it. I have spent months researching to find out how taxpayer money is actually getting to Planned Parenthood in order to craft a bill that will withstand a court challenge in order to cut it off from PP. The House agreed to cut off half of it, so I was glad to get that. The Senate is putting the money back in for PP I understand. I will continue to press on this issue.
In what circumstances would you go against the leadership of your own caucus if elected?
Well, yes, I have had to do that in a couple areas, one was over the taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and the other was over the bill to expand school authority off school grounds, or otherwise known as the anti-bullying bill. Both are terrible policies I could not and would not support. Most of the time our House leadership is going in the right direction but there are a few times that has not been the case and then I can’t and won’t go along.