Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy McGuire stopped in Perry on Wednesday, April 11 for a meet and greet event at Perry Perk.
She then toured the Perry High School and talked about education issues with Superintendent Clark Wicks.
“You asked me in there what's one of the biggest things a governor should know about public schools? Number one, that public schools have a value for all people,” Wicks said to McGuire.
McGuire agreed, pointing to a quote by Henry W. Chehock on the wall of the Perry High School lobby.
“The public school is the greatest institution for the encouragement of real democracy existing. Its policy is to place all on the same equal basis,” said the quote from Chehock, a former Perry superintendent.
McGuire, a medical doctor, said she got the push she needed to pursue that career from a teacher.
“I had a 10th grade science teacher tell me I was good at math and science that I should be a doctor. It never would have occurred to me,” she said.
“But he planted the seed,” Wicks said.
“He planted the seed and then he made it grow. He pushed me and pulled me and motivated me and wouldn't let go and I'm a doctor,” McGuire said.
Teachers, she said, deserve respect and they also deserve resources to help them teach. Wicks commented that schools have been given “peanuts” in terms of state funding for education.
“The premise that we don't have any money, I don't believe it. Our revenues go up and we give it away,” McGuire said. “The place we have to have money is education. There's no way around it.”
McGuire turned her attention to the problems surrounding Medicaid and health care during the meet and greet event at the coffee shop.
“Health care is a right, not a privilege,” she said. “That means that no matter what, no matter how you're doing, no matter who you are, no matter where you are in Iowa, you can get affordable, great quality health care accessible to you everywhere.”
She said around 600,000 Iowans aren't getting the access they need because of the privatization of Medicaid. Not only is that bad for the patients and their families, McGuire said, it's also more expensive.
She plans to undo the privatization of Medicaid through an executive order on one of her first days as governor.
“Having been in health care my whole life, I know how to fix this,” McGuire said. “I know how to bring it back into the state and make sure patients are taken care of. Because as a doctor, patients are always first.”
McGuire also plans to address the mental health shortage in Iowa if she is elected governor. She said that Iowa ranks 50th in mental health beds. The state has two beds for every 100,000 people. Iowa also ranks 47th in mental health providers.
More resources need to be made available, McGuire said, to help the state overcome those shortages.
During the question and answer portion, McGuire was asked by an audience member how she stands out from the other Democratic candidates.
While McGuire said all of the other candidates are good choices, what makes her stand out is her health care background. So many topics, including Medicaid, mental health, women's health and public health issues like clean water, come back into health.
“There is no one in this race who has as much experience in health as I do. I've worked in health care my whole life,” McGuire said.
“I have an expertise of being a doctor,” she said. “It's something I'm very proud of but it also gives you an oath that I will still have as governor which is to put patients first always. And that's putting people first.”