Running to represent Iowa’s fourth congressional district, candidates U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, Ryan Melton and Bryan Jack Holder differ in their position on abortion rights.
Feenstra, a Republican resident of Hull, Iowa, is running for re-election. After serving six terms in the Iowa Senate, Feenstra is the representative for district four.
Melton, a resident of Nevada, Iowa, is the Democratic candidate running to represent the Fourth House District. He said he had worked for Nationwide for 13 years and held a leadership position managing high performing teams of insurance professionals.
Bryan Jack Holder, a member of the Liberty Caucus and resident of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is running as a representative for the Fourth House District. He said he had lived in Iowa all his life and ran his family’s videography business.
Feenstra said in an email that he would continue to support legislation that would reduce the number of abortions in the country.
“I will always be a strong voice for the voiceless because there is nothing more fundamental and sacred in our Constitution than the right to life for all,” Feenstra said.
When Roe v. Wade was overruled, Feenstra issued a statement pledging to “always protect the unborn child and vote to ensure that every child is guaranteed one of our most fundamental constitutional rights; the right to life”.
Melton argues for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. This would preserve reproductive rights protections, including abortion.
Holder said he supports a culture of life and freedom for the unborn child; however, he does not think the government should impose regulations on people. He thinks the government should poll people before creating a law that regulates the right to abortion.
“The senseless acts of violence in our country are tragic, and my heart breaks for the families who have endured unthinkable loss and hardship,” Feenstra said. “The bottom line is that no one should feel unsafe at school, church or any public place.”
Feenstra said in an email that his plan to reduce gun violence includes continuing to improve access to mental health resources while protecting the Second Amendment constitutional right for all Iowans.
“The gun control laws we’ve put in place in the state of Iowa have done a pretty good job of making sure guns don’t get into the hands of the wrong people,” said Holder.
Holder said “criminals will be criminals,” and that shouldn’t affect the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Melton said he would like to address the issue of gun violence by implementing the following:
- Universal background checks for all firearm purchases
- a ban on assault weapons
- Red Flag Laws
- Prioritize poverty reduction
Melton said poor mental health isn’t the only cause of gun violence; however, there is still a need for more mental health professionals.
Feenstra said in an email that college was too expensive for many students and families.
“If our nation is to continue to be the world’s economic and technological superpower, we must invest in our greatest asset: our students,” Feenstra said.
According to an email, Feenstra supports lowering student loan interest rates, protecting Pell grants, and solving the out-of-control costs of college. Feenstra said reducing the university’s overall costs continues to be an issue he champions.
Melton said state governments underfund post-secondary education. He believes there is an opportunity to make community colleges free and education more affordable; however, he said these reforms begin with increasing funding for the education system.
Holder believes the burden of student debt should not fall on taxpayers. He said the tuition hike was the fault of the current reliance on taxpayers. Instead, students should buy the best bang for their buck.
Melton’s main plan to boost Iowa’s sustainability is to increase the use of wind and solar power. He knows that there is great opposition to different energy sources due to the fear that our electrical grid will not be able to fully support them.
“Our power grid has gone through many significant changes like this historically…we’ve always been able to do that,” Melton said.
Melton also believes in investing in biofuels, but said they are not a “silver bullet” when it comes to mitigating climate change.
Holder wants to support and encourage sustainable farming practices in Iowa.
“I’m an environmentalist; I support clean air, clean water, clean life,” Holder said. “Companies should not be allowed to pollute rivers and streams like they are doing.”
Having served on the House agriculture committee, Feenstra said in an email that sustainability is a priority for him. He said adopting biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel is important to lower gas prices, protect Iowa’s environment and support farmers.
“In terms of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, I’ll be focusing particularly on Title 2, which is the Conservation Title, and Title 9, which is the Energy Title of the Farm Bill,” Feenstra said. “I support voluntary conservation programs that help Iowa farmers earn extra money while continuing to feed and power our country and the world.”
Feenstra said the conservation reserve scheme, which imposes restrictions on how farmers can use their land in a bid to protect highly erodible soils and improve water quality, should be more flexible so that farmers may use their land for grazing and other activities with the approval of their respective agricultural service agencies.
Main objectives of the campaign
Melton said his campaign motto and main goal was to “put people first.” He said he proved it by rejecting all PAC money offered by corporations to his campaign, which he says shows his responsiveness to people rather than big bucks.
Holder said his main goal with his campaign is to promote policies that expand liberties and liberties. He said he believed this could be achieved through better representation of voters nationally.
Feenstra said his top priority as a representative is to give Iowans a voice and a seat at the congressional table. Awaiting his potential term in office, said he wants his constituents to know he is focused on getting results at home.
Long-term promises and achievements
The main political ideas around which Holder’s campaign has centered include support for his idea of the “Iowa Compromise”. This means dividing the House districts into smaller areas and adding more House of Representatives seats to compensate for the new divisions. Holder said this would reduce constituent populations per elected.
Melton said he wanted to preserve and strengthen representative democracy in the United States. Specifically, he would like to prioritize the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a law that would guarantee minority voters equal opportunities to participate in elections.
“I think our democracy is on a precipice right now,” Melton said.
During Congressman Feenstra’s first term, he authored four bills that were passed by the House. This included two bills through the House Science, Space and Technology Committee regarding the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is also the author of legislation supporting commercial biofuel systems and legislation to improve weather radar detection systems that are affected by wind turbines or other physical structures.
Feenstra said he would like Iowans to know that he is working with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to pass the bipartisan Livestock Price Discovery and Transparency Act. The proposed legislation aims to ensure that independent producers in Iowa receive a fair, market-based price for their products.