Speaker Grassley's Opening Remarks for the 2023 Legislative Session
(DES MOINES) -- Speaker of the House Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) delivered opening remarks to the Iowa House of Representatives today. The following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:
"Good Morning. Welcome legislators, both new and returning, to the first day of the 90th General Assembly.
First – a special thank you to my family that’s here with me today. Grandpa, thanks for taking the time away from the craziness of DC to swear me in as Speaker of the Iowa House, where you began your career in public service.
Indee, Reagan and Chance – I’m blessed to have you three as my children, and I know you’ll never let me forget it. Thanks for being here with me today. These moments are all the more meaningful when you’re here with me.
And to my parents – who help with the kids and farm so that I can be here to serve the people of Iowa in this capacity. I’m still amazed the farm can even run without me. None of it would be possible without you.
To my fellow lawmakers. Minority Leader Konfrst – I’ve enjoyed working with you in our roles as leaders of our respective caucuses. And I look forward to another session working together for the people of Iowa.
And Majority Leader Windschitl – While our personalities may be a little different, we’ve come to make a good team and I think we get better every year. I’m looking forward to delivering on Iowans’ priorities with you for another Legislative Session.
The start of every general assembly means there is a class of freshman legislators newly sworn in for their first-ever legislative session. This year, that freshman class includes over a third of the House chamber.
Oftentimes, our freshman legislators can spend their first session sitting back, listening and learning from the more experienced members. For this freshman class… not so much. You’ll be hitting the ground running right from the start. But I know you are up to the task.
Whether it’s your first session, or your 17th like mine, take a moment to appreciate where you are. You are here in the people’s Capitol in this magnificent House Chamber. 17 years after my first session here and I’ve never lost my appreciation for this impressive building and the responsibility that comes with it.
Before we get into the contentious debates and the long nights, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that we’re all here for the same reason: to make Iowa the best place to work, live and raise a family.
Fresh off an election cycle, I know we’re all feeling very in touch with our districts. Iowans turned out in droves yet again this election to make their voices heard with more than 1.2 million Iowans casting their ballot. Iowans were loud and clear in helping us set our agenda for the 2023 legislative session.
I’m surprised I’ve made it this far into the speech without saying my favorite fact about this House Republican caucus. We now represent part or all of all 99 of Iowa’s 99 counties and are in a better position than ever to listen to Iowans all across the state and legislate accordingly. Iowans continue to grow our majority because we have proven session after session that our caucus delivers on the promises we make.
Iowans have come to know House Republicans as a common-sense conservative caucus. We aim to grow the economy, keep families safe, and protect your freedoms. This session, Iowans can expect no different.
We’ll craft another responsible state budget. We’ve been so consistent in passing a balanced, responsible budget that it often gets overlooked now. But if you look at Washington DC or even our neighbors in Illinois, you see that it’s not always the case. So it is no small thing that we will yet again this year pass a balanced budget that respects the taxpayers and funds Iowans’ priorities.
Last session, we passed a historic tax cut. We lowered income taxes for all Iowans and eliminated taxes on retirement income. Now, the tax we hear about the most is property taxes. We need reforms that put the taxpayer first. Oftentimes we’ve focused too much on providing certainty for the government and not enough on providing certainty for the Iowan paying the taxes. This session, that will change as we work to provide true relief and reform.
We need more common-sense accountability for Iowans’ tax dollars. We can pass simple reforms to ensure that the dollars we allocate in the state budget are actually making it to where they are intended to go. Our entitlement programs can only be sustainable if we ensure those who receive them are those who actually need it.
With the creation of the Education Reform Committee, House Republicans made clear that reform will be a top priority this session. While ESA’s are an important part of that discussion, we believe it’s just a part of much broader reform. With a variety of policy ideas - some of which will look familiar - we can provide greater choice to Iowa parents AND keep our public school system strong.
This session, our agenda is bold. We’re crafting creative solutions to the issues that have plagued our state for years like workforce shortages. We’re digging deep into the issues that are often times deemed too complicated to address like property taxes. And we’re acting on the concerns we hear consistently from our constituents and are pushing back against the radical social agenda being forced upon us and our children by the left.
We’ve spent the time leading up to session hard at work, crafting legislative solutions to the problems Iowans brought to us over the election cycle. And we’re ready to hit the ground running.
You’ll see us get straight to work on some of the issues we’ve heard about the most. Iowans sent us here to do an important job. And it’s time to get to work."