House District 73 will be a key player in the upcoming general election


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An area district will play a key role in which political party will control the majority in the Iowa House of Representatives until 2016.

Two candidates are vying for the seat representing House District 73, which encompasses Cedar County, small portions of Johnson County, and the town of Wilton in Muscatine County.

Democrat David Johnson, D-West Branch, faces Republican incumbent Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, in the Nov. 4 election, and legislators say it will have an effect on whether the Democrats can take back the House.

Currently, the Republican Party holds the majority by six seats.

Education spending is important to Kaufmann.

“The House refused to pass the allowable-growth measure this year,” Johnson said. “And that really puts school boards in a bind when they’re setting their budgets.”

Allowable growth is a percentage increase of the state per-pupil cost to be calculated by the state Legislature for the upcoming budget year.

Kaufmann has a track record of voting in favor of allowable growth.

He said this election took a significant turn for the negative, and the “education myth” of Republicans is just not true.

“I’ve supported 4 percent Allowable Growth for 2014, 6 percent for 2016, and both tuition freezes,” Kaufmann said. “I’ve clearly supported all levels of educations.”

One issue the candidates disagree on is raising the minimum wage.

Johnson said he supports raising the minimum wage, but to $15 rather than $10.10. He said this is the number the wage needs to be in order for students to pay for tuition, room and board, and other living expenses.

Three minimum-wage bills were presented in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and none of them got a floor vote, Kaufmann said.

Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, said this election may garner enough open seats so that it is possible for Democrats to take back the Iowa House.

“It’s possible to have a gridlock coming out of this election,” Dvorsky said. “This year is really unusual, and a lot of elections are up in the air, like this one.”

Rep. Chip Baltimore, R-Boone, said if Johnson wins, Democrats will most likely take control of the House.

He said if Democrats win back the majority in the Iowa House, the Democratic Party will get to choose the heads of the committees and the members on each committee.

“Basically, the Democratic Party would control the House agenda,” Baltimore said. 

This is a key race that will affect the House for the next two years, he said.

“I think the people who reside in District 73 have been fortunate to have Rep. Kaufmann there to bring their concerns to the House,” Baltimore said.

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