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Puntenney says health care should be right

Keith Puntenney

Editor’s note: In the latest in a series of ongoing articles introducing candidates on Tuesday’s primary election ballot, Keith Puntenney, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in state Senate District 24, answers questions posed by The Messenger.

Senate District 24 includes Boone, Greene, and Hamilton counties, southeast Webster County and northwest Story County. The incumbent, state Sen. Jerry Behn, R-Boone, is retiring.

Puntenney faces Cynthia Oppedal Paschen for the Democratic nomination. The Republican contenders are Chad Behn, Joshua Dyer, Jesse Green and Todd Rasmussen.

What is your political experience?

Was the Democratic nominee in Senate District 24 in 2016.

What is your profession?

Worked for more than32 years as a tax attorney for the Internal Revenue Service, auditing Iowa business entities. Has managed a 600 acre grain and livestock operation for 46 years.

What is your educational background?

Law degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City; bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, Ames; graduate of Boone High School.

Why should the voters pick you?

Issues that I am running on: good rural jobs that pay at least $11 to $15 an hour with Consumer Price Index increase annually; health care as a right, not tied to employment; social justice based on community based actions to rehabilitate; sustainable farming practices that emphasize resource conservation and environmental actions as a community benefit; fair taxation policies, not special interest based; community centered education opportunities that are Iowa economic development job based; accountable state and local government, including giving everyone the right to participate.

What would you recommend

to rejuvenate the economy?

Universal broadband coverage at reasonable rates should be a priority. The European countries have gigabit speeds at half of the U.S. costs. Iowa should use the Iowa Communication Network backbone in every community hospital, school, library, and armory, as a central node with both landline and wireless access, hot spots, and existing franchise infrastructures to supplement availability to rural and city communities.

Create value added jobs instead of material export trade.

Lower education costs by expanding public service jobs into rural areas to include ninth through 12th grade work options and two-year degree apprenticeships.

Rural transport systems must be reimagined. School busing must be paid by the state, not property tax based. Per pupil state support must go toward education, not transportation.

What changes in the health care system,

if any would you recommend in response

to the coronavirus pandemic?

Iowa needs to open CHIP, Medicaid and Medicare resources for those without jobs to the greatest extent possible.

Layoffs of medical personnel, at any hospital, need to be immediately addressed by additional PPP or COVID funding requests; a second COVID wave is coming. We need all hands on deck, including cross training of specialty personnel once COVID allows that to happen.

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