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NAIFA-Iowa hosts legislative forum breakfast

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert Iowa House District 48 candidate Jack Friend, D-Ames; Iowa state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge; and Iowa House District 9 Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, attended a legislative breakfast at Fort Dodge Ford on Thursday morning, hosted by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors north central Iowa affiliate.

Two local legislators and an Iowa House candidate shared some of their governmental priorities during a legislative breakfast at Fort Dodge Ford Toyota, hosted by the North Central Iowa chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors on Thursday morning.

State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, District 5; state Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, District 9; and Jack Friend, D-Ames, candidate for Iowa House District 48, attended the breakfast and talked about their reasons for running and serving in the state legislature.

The breakfast was part of a meeting for the NAIFA chapter affiliate, which likes to meet with state and local lawmakers to advocate for policies the group supports. The group’s mission statement is “to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of our members.”

“Advocacy is an important part of what we do,” said Mike Grandgeorge, the incoming NAIFA-Iowa chapter president.. “It’s becoming familiar with who our representatives are, what the issues are, become educated on what those things are and give them feedback at the same time.”

NAIFA also has a political action committee, through which it contributes to various campaigns of candidates it supports.

“Every two years we go through a cycle of who we can give money to,” Grandgeorge explained. “We are a nonpartisan organization — we give money to Democrats and Republicans alike.”

The Insurance and Financial Advisor PAC raises roughly $100,000 every year, he added.

A search of federal and state campaign finance records shows that the IFA PAC contributes to campaigns of both Democrat and Republican candidates.

“It’s our intention to help them and get acquainted so that we can have a relationship when they’re up at the hill,” Grandgeorge said.

Kraayenbrink, who heads Kraayenbrink Financial in Fort Dodge, has been a member of NAIFA since 1988. He was elected to the state senate in 2014.

As a financial advisor himself and vice chair of the appropriations committee, Kraayenbrink talked about his pride in helping manage the state budget since Republicans took over the majority in the state senate in 2017, saying that the state had to borrow $146 million to finish out that fiscal year.

“In three-and-a-half years, we have now come to where we have all of our loans paid back to the rainy day fund and the coffers filled up again with our savings account,” he said. “And we have a $305 million surplus at the end of this year.”

Kraayenbrink noted a piece of legislation that he’s been watching from the Iowa Department of Insurance.

“One of the things I think is going to rear its ugly head again, which I tried to bury last year, is … an elderly protection bill,” he said.

Kraayenbrink said he believes the bill is redundant and “puts a lot of extra burden on the advisors to make sure they’re not ripping off the elderly people,” he said.

While the bill, House File #2345, has noble intentions, the state senator said he feels it’s something financial advisors and broker-dealers are already doing to protect seniors from being financially exploited.

Meyer, who has been a nurse for 33 years, shared her background in medicine as her catalyst for running for state house.

“That’s why I got into this arena, to affect health care policy in Iowa,” she said.

Meyer sits on the Medicaid advisory committee and the Medicaid oversight committee.

“Of the roughly 3,200,000 people in Iowa, 700,000 Iowans are served by the Medicaid system,” she said. “That is a $1.5 billion budget piece.”

Friend, a high school English teacher currently working as a substitute in the Boone Community School District, is running against Rep. Rob Bacon, R-Slater, for the Iowa House District 48 seat.

“While we have a balanced budget, there are areas of the way that Iowa serves its communities that have not been taken care of,” he told the NAIFA members. He said rather than squirreling away every surplus dollar, money should be used to invest back into Iowa communities.

Friend said that while campaigning through the district, he’s noticed many houses and main street businesses boarded up.

“I see it as a sign of how much we need to go back to making sure our communities have sufficient support,” he said.

Friend said he supports the types of initiatives that bring jobs into the state, rather than seeing a mass exodus of Iowans leaving for jobs in other states.

“My main issue is I want to make sure that Iowa is a place not only that is stronger for people here, but is attractive for people coming here,” he added.

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