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Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State address Tuesday night to a joint session of the Iowa Legislature.
In November, Reynolds won her second full term as governor, easily defeating Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear.
Reynolds largely campaigned on her successes as governor, including large tax cuts, banning transgender girls from both high school and college sports, appointing new Republican Iowa Supreme Court justices and restricting abortion access.
In her address on Tuesday, Reynolds echoed these messages and praised Iowans for their resiliency.
"In a world increasingly marked by chaos, Iowa’s strength and stability stand out," Reynolds said. "Our goal today, and throughout this legislative session, is to make sure it stays that way."
During her speech, Reynolds claimed her top priority this legislative session is "making sure that every child is provided with a quality education that fits their needs."
"We have incredible public schools filled with amazing, dedicated teachers. My daughter is one of them," Reynolds said. "But every child is an individual who deserves an education tailored to their unique needs, and parents are in the best position to identify the right environment."
Reynolds referenced her school choice bill, which would create an education savings account for families who choose to send their children to private school. According to Reynolds, the state would contribute $7,598 to that account.
Iowa Republicans in the legislature are on the same page as Reynolds: in fact, Republican leadership named Reynolds' school voucher system as a high priority in 2023.
Reynolds went on in her speech to highlight her commitment to keeping Iowa a "pro-life state". In particular, Reynolds cited the creation of the MOMS program, an upcoming statewide network of nonprofits dedicated to connecting expectant mothers with support. She also called on legislators to expand the program.
"Tonight, I’m calling on the legislature to expand the MOMS Program to promote paternal involvement and address the needs of fathers," Reynolds said. "This new funding would allow us to provide non-profit grants to assist at-risk dads, as well as mentorship for school-age males. This session, in everything we do, let’s promote strong and healthy families."
Watch the full speech
Reynolds also touched on issues such as tort reform, the opioid crisis and restricting bureaucracy. For the full transcript of Reynolds' speech, click here.
Iowa lawmakers began the 2023 legislative session on Monday. Aside from school choice, Republican leadership plans to prioritize property tax reform and relief.
Across the aisle, Democratic leadership has outlined four key platforms for the 2023 session:
- lowering costs for Iowans
- investing in public schools
- legalizing marijuana
- protecting reproductive freedom
Reynolds' Condition of the State is the first in a series of addresses by Iowa institutions. The State of the Judiciary address will take place on Wednesday, while the Condition of the Guard will be Thursday.