Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Didn't get a chance to finish your story? Purchase a day pass digital subscription and you'll receive unlimited online access for one day (24 hours). You will have immediate access upon completion of your purchase.

Since announcing my candidacy for the Iowa State Senate, I made it my mission to talk to as many voters in Iowa Senate District 32 as possible.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Iowa, we went town to town, holding meet and greets to hear the issues impacting Iowans. Time and again we heard many of the same issues: the need for better paying jobs, more affordable healthcare, and an investment in rural broadband. After that, we moved to virtual meetings, but kept listening. It is my deep belief that Iowans deserve representatives willing to listen, and then act.

That is why I was so deeply disappointed with our current representation in the Iowa Senate. At a time when too many Iowans are struggling to make ends meet, our current state Sen. Craig Johnson returned to Des Moines after a 11-week delay and instead of championing legislation to help Iowans, he played an integral role in restricting access to voting for all Iowans.

In the face of COVID-19, the Iowa Secretary of State, county auditors, and both political parties encouraged early voting for the June 2 primaries to ensure the safety of Iowa voters and poll workers. This was a tremendous success as a record-breaking 520,000 Iowans voted in the primary. Unfortunately, this success does not have a happy ending.

Upon his return to the Iowa Senate, Sen. Craig Johnson served as temporary chair of the State Government Committee and made rulings that ensured the overhaul of a one-page bill about county seals, adding a 30-page amendment. The amendment, having nothing to do with the original bill, targeted many of the vote-by-mail practices that led to a historically large turnout in the primary election. At a time when voting by mail is the safest option for many Iowans susceptible to COVID-19, Senator Johnson chose his partisan agenda over the health and safety of Iowans.

Since the Legislature was suspended in March and until it re-opened in early June, we have dealt with a global pandemic that cost us the lives of hundreds of Iowans, an economic downturn that impacted all Iowans financially, and record-breaking turnout for a primary election. It is a shame that Senator Johnson was more focused on restricting their right to vote safely instead of helping Iowans get back on their feet during a pandemic.

Pam Egli is a Waverly resident who is running as a Democrat against incumbent Sen. Craig Johnson, R-Independence, for Iowa Senate District 32, which covers all of Bremer County and portions of Black Hawk, Buchanan and Fayette counties. She can be reached at pamegliforsenate@gmail.com.