Opening Day Remarks from Senate President Amy Sinclair

Below are the opening day remarks of Senate President Amy Sinclair as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, Senators, staff, guests, and Iowans everywhere.  As I welcome you to the 2024 Session of the 90th General Assembly, my heart, like the hearts of all Iowans, is heavy.  My thoughts and prayers remain with the victims, families, and Perry community, and my heartfelt thanks goes to all of the first responders who helped save lives.  Despite this selfish act of violence in our state, I sincerely hope each of you had a chance to enjoy the interim.  Each year I’m here, there is never a shortage of new faces, and I appreciate the annual opportunity to meet new friends and rekindle old friendships.

It remains the greatest honor of my life to serve over 60,000 Iowans in District 12 and Iowans all over the state as your Senate President.  The work we do can sometimes be difficult, but it is always rewarding.  The hard work we complete in this grand building is shaping the trajectory of the state, impacting the lives of over 3,000,000 Iowans, and setting an example for other states to follow.

Since taking the majority in 2017, Senate Republicans have worked tirelessly to lower taxes, empower families, and restore individual liberties.  

These efforts are working.  In this time, our tax climate has improved 13 positions in national rankings.  We are ranked in the top ten for fiscal stability, top ten for best overall state, and top three for opportunity.  At the same time, our state’s budget has never been in a stronger position.  Responsible budgeting has resulted in spending only 88% of our ongoing revenues, filling our reserves to their statutory maximums, and still maintaining a $2 billion budget surplus.  Senate Republicans are leading the state the same way responsible Iowans run their businesses, families, and personal finances.  Lower taxes and less spending have fueled a robust economy in the state, giving Iowans more opportunities to flourish.

Creating opportunities isn’t just limited to taxes and the economy.  Creating educational opportunities is equally important to ensuring our students get the most out of their formative years.  I remember 2013, my first year in the Senate, when I was first assigned to the Education Committee.  Senator Jerry Behn, who was recently assigned to the committee for his second stint, came to me, and he asked me to be a co-sponsor to Senate File 323.  This was the first time the concept of education savings accounts had been introduced in Iowa.  Senator Behn continued to serve on the Senate Education Committee until his retirement, where he worked tirelessly advocating for his bill.  He had a vision for Iowa students and their families.  A vision of revolutionary change in our education system to empower parents to make educational decisions for their children, not government officials.  Finally last year, 10 years after Senator Behn first filed Senate File 323, I had the privilege of floor managing the Students First Act and watching it be signed into law by Governor Reynolds.  The decade of work was long and difficult, but certainly rewarding with over 29,000 Iowa students applying for an ESA this year.

Senate Republicans have long stood for freedom, and not just educational freedom.  We have protected consumer choice in the marketplace.  We have protected the personal information of Iowans from needless government intrusion.  We have protected parental rights and increased transparency in Iowa classrooms.  We have even given small dairy producers the freedom to sell fresh milk in the state.  These are rights that never should have been questioned in the first place, and I’m proud of the work we have done to restore these personal freedoms to Iowans.

The work we have done is being noticed.  Iowa is leading the way, not just among other states, but across the world.  I have spent much of the interim hosting visitors from across the country and the world and traveling to other states and countries.  Everywhere I go, everyone who visits, they all ask me how we did it.  Leaders from other states and countries are looking to Iowa as a leader in good governance.  These leaders are seeking to replicate what we have accomplished.  These other places want to be like Iowa.  

Regardless of where we fall on the ideological spectrum, we can all be proud of our accomplishments and the worldwide recognition we are receiving.  I sincerely believe everyone in this room wants what is best for the state, and while we may sometimes disagree about how to accomplish this, I think we can all agree that prosperity is good.  We are prosperous, and others want to be like us.

I look forward to this session and the work we will accomplish.  It is an honor to serve in this body, as your president, and for the people of Iowa.  Thank you, God bless you, and may God continue to bless the State of Iowa.