Deborah Stoner was tired from a forum she’d attended in Ames that she felt was a lot of Republican bashing. So she came to Nevada, seeking a more positive conversation.
What she got was something quite unique — a one-on-one sit-down with Republican State Representative Dave Deyoe of Nevada.
State Senator Annette Sweeney, also a Republican, was scheduled to attend, but a death in her family made her unavailable. And while Deyoe had seen attendance of up to 10 at the other three forums — in Eldora, Radcliffe and Story City — he’d held over the weekend, Nevadans were clearly busy with other things on March 27.
Deyoe could have called it off, seeing only one person in attendance, but instead, he pulled up a chair.
Stoner, a veterinary student on break from classes at the current time, is a young Republican, originally from California. She is secretary of the Story County Republicans.
Stoner wanted to know from Deyoe if the Iowa House was really all about the “doom and gloom” that she felt was being espoused at another forum.
Deyoe didn’t think so. He noted the coming week is important, as it’s the second “funnel” week for bills to either stay alive or die, with the exception of budget and tax bills, which live throughout the session.
He noted the House has a budget ready that is very similar to the governor’s budget. “One of the things I asked for is enough money for nursing homes and critical access hospitals…because of less money coming from the federal budget (for those things),” he said. The ability to pay good wages to nursing home staff is something Deyoe feels strongly about.
Deyoe stated he was pleased with education getting “around a 2 percent” increase in this year’s budget and that this percentage was released to school’s early so they could work on their budgets. “It’s more than we’ve been able to do in the past few years,” he noted, “and [schools are] also getting some extra money for transportation.”
Other priorities for this year’s budget, he said, include money for job training and scholarship programs. “That’s all part of Future Ready Iowa.” The goal of FRI is to train people for better careers, everything from nursing to trades, to construction, building trades, technology and STEM-focused careers, he explained.
Stoner said one thing she’s happy about, especially with her veterinary interest, is the animal abuse bill and funding for animal issues in general. Deyoe noted that there is more money in this year’s budget for the diagnostic lab at ISU. Stoner said that will be important if there is ever a huge animal disease outbreak.
On the issue of animal abuse, she said, “I was really happy that the House passed that…and that it passed unanimously. That was great.”
The conversation broke away from politics for a moment, as Deyoe explained to Stoner that he has an animal science degree from ISU and that he’d actually thought about going to veterinary school at one time. “My father was a veterinarian,” Deyoe said. Bill Deyoe had worked at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames and studied brucellosis, a disease in cattle that can affect other animals and humans.
Deyoe, too, was pleased that the bill protecting animals had passed with overwhelming support. “There was sort of a hole in Iowa law that didn’t have a good penalty for animal torture…,” he said. He added that there are other important provisions that deal with the abandonment of animals and the care of animals in that bill.
Animal issues are one example, Deyoe said, of bi-partisan work. And that issue isn’t alone. “Ninety-one percent of the bills that got through the first funnel this year were bi-partisan, (and that’s) not much different than the past two years… We do [bi-partisan work] all the time.”
Stoner shared that she grew up in a conservative area of southern California. “I started out as conservative because my parents were conservative, and they gave me good reasons why.” Then she boldly answered why she remains a Republican. “I like freedom; I don’t like the idea of people forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do.”
With his other three forums this weekend, Deyoe said there was a lot of talk at one about education and what is being done for rural schools. At another, most people were concerned with elder issues, nursing homes and rural hospitals. At one forum, a person got very heated toward Deyoe in talking about hog confinement issues, he admitted.
But, part of being a legislator is to go out and listen to people and meet people. And in Nevada this past weekend, Deyoe got to meet one new person and have a meaningful discussion.