Opening Remarks from House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines:

Thank you Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen of the House. First, welcome to all of the family and friends of the newly elected Representatives. I know that for you, this day is a day to be very proud of.

Also, congratulations as well to the returning members and all the newly elected members. Almost a third of this body are newly elected members and this is something to be welcomed. Many of you newly elected members are coming here with bold new ideas and lots of energy…that’s a good thing. Some of you newly elected members will be told to dampen your expectations and to dampen your energy…don’t do it. Bold ideas and new energy are a good thing, will help challenge conventional wisdom, and will also help more seasoned members to reassess their own point of view.

Congratulations as well to the newly elected leaders from both parties, including Speaker Paulsen, Majority Leader Upmeyer, and Speaker Pro Tem Kaufmann. Particular congratulations are in order for Leader Upmeyer, who is the first female House Majority Leader in Iowa history. To the Republican Leaders and Members, we will have some major battles at times, no doubt, but I am confident that no matter what that battle may be on a given day, that we will be able to get together at the end of that day and talk in a civil tone about the next day… and how we will again work together in a bipartisan way.

Mr. Speaker, House Democrats are ready to go to work. We are ready, willing, and able to put partisanship aside and join you and your members in helping govern this great state. Every day we will show up to work prepared to focus on bread and butter issues that affect the average, ordinary Iowan and every day that your members show up to do the same, you will receive a helping hand from us. A word of warning, however, if a day comes where our members show up ready to work on bread and butter issues and instead find that the House ship has steered into stormy waters, focused instead on divisive issues, then you will hear our voices as we attempt to steer that ship away from the extreme…and back to the mainstream.

We are ready to go to work and we understand that that work begins today on the budget. We will work with you to find efficiencies and to make government more effective, just as we did last year, when House Democrats passed with Republican support, the largest cost-saving measure in Iowa history. With this year’s budget, we challenge you to work with us to do better. House Study Bill 1, which will be assigned today in the Appropriations Committee, contains some items that we can work towards consensus on. However, while cutting 17 million from the current year’s general fund, it spends 41 million more for a net increase of 23 million dollars for the budget year that we are in. Surely we can do better and we are willing to help.

Mr. Speaker, House Democrats are, as said, ready to go to work. Congratulations again to all the new members and their families. Thank you very much. Now let’s get to work!

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