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EDlection 2018: Republican Kim Reynolds Becomes Iowa’s First Female Elected Governor, After Term Addressing Mental Health, STEM

By Kate Stringer | November 7, 2018

Incumbent Republican candidate for Iowa's governor, Kim Reynolds celebrates her re-election with Lieutenant Gov. Adam Gregg during Iowa's GOP Election Night on November 6, 2018 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

Republican Kim Reynolds became the first female governor to win an election in Iowa’s history, securing 50 percent of the vote, according to The New York Times with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Reynolds stepped up as governor in 2017 to fill the final year of former Gov. Terry Branstad’s term, after he was appointed U.S. ambassador to China. She ran against Democrat and businessman Fred Hubbell; the two were neck-and-neck during polling.

“This is a place where a small town girl from rural Iowa, daughter of a factory worker and a farmer and a mom who chose to stay home and raise her family could one day become the first female governor of the state of Iowa,” Reynolds said during her victory speech, as reported by the Des Moines Register.

Reynolds has supported tax cuts and changes to mental health services across the state. She passed a bill this year that required school employees to be trained on suicide prevention and required school districts to adopt protocols for identifying adverse childhood experiences. She has also led efforts to increase STEM education in Iowa and improve job training.

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Democrats and Republicans in Iowa continue to disagree over whether or not education is funded at record-high levels, or severely neglected. Democrats argue that minimal funding is hurting K-12 schools and higher education, while Republicans say funding has never been better and that the state is working on the best way to prepare students for post-secondary education.

It’s true that education spending has increased every year in Iowa since 2000, but growth has slowed over the few years, according to the Des Moines Register. Iowa ranks in the middle of the nation in terms of how much money it spends on education.

Health care and education were the two top issues for Iowa voters in this election, according to a September poll.

Hubbell campaigned on bringing in more funding for K-12 schools, making higher education more affordable, and promoting job training and apprenticeship programs.

“While tonight didn’t turn out the way we would have liked, the energy and the support we received along the way is proof that a lot of Iowans know we need change,” Hubbell said in his concession speech.

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

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