WATCH: Gov. Kim Reynolds and challenger Deidre DeJear debate

Deidre DeJear, left, and Gov. Kim Reynolds, right.
Deidre DeJear, left, and Gov. Kim Reynolds, right.(Courtesy Photos)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - For the first and last time, the two candidates to lead the state of Iowa debated.

Deidre DeJear is hoping for an upset in unseating the current governor, Kim Reynolds. DeJear is the Democratic candidate, Reynolds is the Republican.

Taxes, public dollars for private K to-12 education, abortion and student loan relief were areas where the two candidates demonstrated their opposing views.

Iowa’s budget surplus was also a focus of the debate.

Iowa has nearly 2-billion dollars in extra money. Governor Reynolds said that’s proof she’s managing taxpayer money responsibly.

Challenger DeJear said it’s a sign the state is hoarding tax dollars and underfunding critical services.

Reynolds is seeking her second full term.

She first became governor in 2017 when then-Governor, Terry Branstad, resigned to be the US Ambassador to China in the Trump administration.

She’s cut taxes three times since coming into office and said she’s not done reducing the tax burden on Iowans.

“We were taxing like a blue state we weren’t competitive, our individual income tax rate was nearly 9%, when it’s fully implemented it will be 3.9%, flat and fair. I’m so excited of the fact that we’re gonna no longer going to tax retirement income beginning next year. Our retirees are a valuable asset, and we want to keep them in the state. We don’t want them going to Florida, Arizona, Texas, Nebraska. That’s what was happening because they had better tax policy than we had,” said Reynolds.

DeJear said the people benefiting from these tax cuts have more money than most Iowans.

She pointed to Iowa’s falling national educational standing and lack of child mental health services as why the focus should be on investing in services, not cutting.

“Since the governor has been in leadership, those tax cuts have had minimal to no impact on low to moderate income individuals. As we’re looking at their personal finances, we’re trying to help them achieve their goals maximize every single dollar their that they get. And what I’ve come to find out while those tax cuts don’t add value what does add value are the systems that help around them, like strong education, access to health care and mental health care services, things that mitigate them having to respond to emergencies, access to housing,” said DeJear.

DeJear is a small business owner in DesMoines. She previously ran for state-wide office in 2018 against Secretary of State Paul Pate.

Iowa PBS hosted the debate. You can watch the debate below: