Randalia’s Chad Ingels was sworn in at the Statehouse on Monday to represent House District 64, which includes Oelwein.
The new lawmaker joins the Republican majority in control of the House.
“I was certainly honored to be sworn in on Day 1 of the 89th General Assembly,” he told the Daily Register on Tuesday. “It was great to be able to have my family attend, along with many other families of representatives.
“After the swearing in ceremony, the House conducted the seat selection, which is done by seniority, and almost a fun process. I will be sitting in the front row, just a few steps from the well of the chamber.”
The oath taken by the lawmakers is: “I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of Representative, according to the best of my ability, so help me God.”
Ingels was elected in November to fill the seat formerly held by Democrat Bruce Bearinger, who did not seek re-election. Ingels will serve as the vice chairman of the Iowa House Agricultural committee. He is also on three other committees — Economic Growth, Education, and Environmental Protection — and the Ag and Natural Resources subcommittee. His committees will have their introductory meetings later this week. “The first bills are just starting to be introduced, so there is not a lot of business to conduct, so I am focusing on learning the system,” he said.
Day 1 included opening remarks by Rep. Pat Grassley, R-District 50, after he was elected speaker.
“Speaker Grassley mentioned working toward affordable child care and getting kids back in school, which are both important issues that will be moved forward during the session,” Ingels said. “We are preparing for Governor Reynolds’ State of the State address today and will learn more about her priorities.”
Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Tuesday speech was delivered after the Daily Register press deadline. Go to OelweinDailyRegister.com for coverage.
“A focus of the Legislature will be to keep people safe in the Capitol so that we can stay in session to develop a fiscally sound state budget and work on policy issues that are important to Iowans,” Ingels added. Grassley spoke about the Republicans’ expanded majority and welcomed new members. “We are coming off a successful election where Iowans made it known clearly and definitively that they want more of the pragmatic, responsible leadership the Republican-led House has provided over the last 10 years,” he said. “With House Republicans now representing 97 out of Iowa’s 99 counties, we know — now more than ever — that we are ready to represent Iowans in every corner of this state. To our 14 new members, welcome. I look forward to hearing the fresh ideas and new perspectives.”
Grassley addressed how the majority will approach budgeting.
“We will fund Iowans’ priorities, meet our commitments to the taxpayer, and we will do it in a responsible way. It will be an even bigger task than ever before. But it is our responsibility to use the same common-sense approach everyday Iowans use when they maintain their own budgets back home.”
He tagged child care as a top priority.
“As I’ve prepared for session, I can tell you almost every meeting I’ve had, regardless of what part of the state they were from or what political party they may affiliate with, the need to increase access to safe and affordable child care is a priority. Any sense of normalcy for our state during and after this pandemic depends on it.”
He added that the state was facing a child care crisis before the COVID-19 crisis.
“Often times, families are hesitant or outright reject a pay raise because it could result in the loss of their child care assistance,” Grassley said. “This is the cliff effect, and it must be addressed because it is holding our workforce and our families back. It is incumbent upon the Legislature to provide an off-ramp from government assistance when it comes to child care.
He also pushed for in-person learning in schools.
“Let’s be clear, getting our kids back in the classroom is critical to their mental health and wellbeing,” he said. “This should be one of this Legislature’s top priorities — to ensure that every family that wants 100% in-person learning has access to it.”
Minority Leader Todd Prichard, D-Charles City, also address the House.
“We are living in tumultuous times and the pandemic has added to the challenges we already faced in Iowa from a shortage of good paying jobs, inadequate access to health care, low public school funding, and ignored environmental issues,” Prichard said.
“The first priority this session must be working to get the pandemic under control. A failure of leadership at both the federal and state level has already left over 4,000 Iowans dead and our state’s response has been greatly inadequate.
“Next, we need a robust COVID package focused on long-term recovery efforts to help our economy. We need aggressive plans to help families recover, get kids back in school safely, reopen small businesses, and support our dedicated health care workers who are the front line of this pandemic.”