Northeast Iowa voters will choose between Republican Ashley Hinson and Democrat Liz Mathis for Congress this year in the newly redrawn district.
Hinson, the incumbent U.S. representative, won the seat in 2020 by defeating a Democratic incumbent. Mathis, a state senator, is seeking to unseat her this year.
Both candidates are running competitive campaigns and have support from the national Democratic and Republican parties as control of Congress hangs in the balance.
Iowa's 2nd Congressional District includes 22 counties in Iowa's northeast corner.
To help voters, the Des Moines Register sent questions to all federal, statewide and Des Moines area legislative candidates running for political office this year. Their answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Early voting begins Oct. 19 for the Nov. 8 election.
Who is Ashley Hinson?
Where did you grow up? West Des Moines
Current town of residence: Marion
Education: Valley High School in West Des Moines; studied broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California.
Occupation: Former journalist/news anchor
Political experience and civic activities: Former member of the Iowa House of Representatives
Who is Liz Mathis?
Where did you grow up? DeWitt
Current town of residence: Hiawatha
Education: University of Iowa
Occupation: Iowa state senator
Political experience and civic activities:
Iowa State Senate 2011-present
Present civic boards: Wartburg Board of Regents
Present legislative boards: Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Iowa Economic Development Authority Advisory Board, Children’s Behavioral Health System State Board
Past board member: Onward Bank Board, University of Iowa Journalism Advisory Board, Marion Cares Advisory Board, State Judicial Qualifications Board
What is the most important domestic policy you would champion in Congress?
Hinson: I am laser-focused on fighting inflation and reducing costs for Iowa families, farmers and small businesses. High energy costs — caused by the Biden administration’s disastrous sidelining of domestic resources — are one of the biggest budget burdens on Iowans. I am championing an all-of-the-above energy strategy that prioritizes Iowa biofuels to bring down the cost of gas and restore our energy independence while boosting Iowa’s agriculture economy. This strategy will lower transportation and energy costs by allowing the sale of E15 year-round, ramping up domestic production, finishing the Keystone XL pipeline, and prohibiting President Biden from sending U.S. oil to China.
Mathis: We must lower costs for Iowans, and that starts with making sure gas prices continue to go down — E15 needs to remain year-round throughout the country and domestic oil reserves should be available. It also means we need to hold drug companies accountable and lower prescription drug prices so families can afford the lifesaving medication they need. I’ll work to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for everyone, not just seniors, and protect Medicare’s ability to negotiate for lower drug prices. My opponent, Rep. Ashley Hinson, voted against both of these common sense policies.
What is one specific piece of bipartisan legislation you would advocate for in Congress?
Hinson: I am a strong advocate for career and technical education programs that help students graduate with the skills they need to get a good-paying job in their desired field without massive loans. I’ve visited every single community college in my district and seen firsthand how these programs help students find fulfilling job opportunities right here in Iowa. That’s why I helped introduce the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act that expands Pell Grant eligibility for students — I’ll continue to advocate for this bill and work across the aisle to empower students and workers to succeed in Iowa.
Mathis: In the Iowa Legislature, I was proud to work with both Republicans and Democrats to balance our budget and cut taxes for Iowa families. I voted for the commercial property tax cut, to eliminate the inheritance tax and for an increase in the earned income tax credit. I’ll take that same bipartisan approach when in Congress. In particular, I’ll work across the aisle to make certain rural areas have access to health care and small businesses and small communities thrive. I grew up on a family farm and will ensure beginning farmers have the tools they need to be successful.
Iowans are struggling with rising costs and inflation. What can Congress do to help them make ends meet?
Hinson: As inflation bears down on Iowans, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are making matters worse with new tax hikes, more inflationary spending and sidelining domestic energy sources. Meanwhile, Democrats have resisted bipartisan efforts to get our economy back on track, and families won’t see relief while Democrats are in control. The first step to bringing costs down is to fire Nancy Pelosi as speaker so that Republicans can advance solutions to fix our supply chain, bring people back into the workforce in critical industries like child care, and restore American energy independence to lower the cost of gas.
Mathis: This needs to be a top priority for every member of Congress. We must lower prices. That starts with taking action to hold companies accountable for price gouging, adopting an all-of-the-above approach to energy production that will lower gas prices while supporting our ethanol and renewable industries, and getting more truck drivers onto the road and investing in our locks and dams and river ports to get our supply chain back on track. We also must invest in affordable housing, so Iowans can afford to remain in the communities they call home.
Congress passed a bipartisan gun safety law this summer. What further action, if any, should Congress take to address gun violence?
Hinson: Congress should address the root causes of gun violence without infringing on Iowans’ rights. Law-abiding gun owners should not be targeted or have to prove to the government they have the right to own a firearm — that right is enshrined in the Constitution. I’m a cosponsor of the STOP II (Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children) Act to fund school resource officers and mental health counselors as well as bolster security at schools. As the left tries to chip away at our constitutional rights, I will always fight to ensure Iowans’ Second Amendment rights are upheld.
Mathis: I grew up on a farm, which means I grew up around guns. I support the Second Amendment rights of Iowans to hunt, target shoot and own guns. This is an area where we can make significant progress towards safer communities by bringing together members of both parties to work together on areas we agree on. By strengthening universal background checks, which more than 90% of Americans support, we can reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and those legally barred from owning them, while protecting the rights of Iowans.
Should Congress pass federal legislation addressing abortion, either to restrict the procedure or to preserve access?
Hinson: Overturning Roe v. Wade will save countless lives. Now that this issue is with the states, I’m glad Iowa has a pro-life governor in Kim Reynolds and a pro-life majority in the state legislature. In Congress, I will continue championing pro-life policies: ensuring taxpayer dollars don’t fund abortion, expanding maternal health care services, and supporting expecting mothers during pregnancy and once their babies are born. I have introduced bipartisan legislation to help expand maternal health care access for those in rural communities, as well as legislation to ensure adult women can access safe, FDA-approved birth-control pills over the counter at their local pharmacy.
Mathis: Politicians should not be interfering with the rights of Iowa women to make their own personal health care decisions. My opponent, Rep. Ashley Hinson, currently backs legislation that would ban all abortions nationwide, leaving no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. This extreme position, which includes criminalizing doctors, will impose a radical government mandate over our health care. I will work to pass legislation that restores women’s right to an abortion that had been held for nearly 50 years.
What policies would you advocate for including in the next farm bill?
Hinson: The farm bill must reduce input costs, support innovation and provide regulatory certainty. Farmers should be empowered with broadband access and precision agriculture technology. We must provide stability for producers by protecting risk management tools like crop insurance and investing in animal health research and biotechnologies. Farmers don’t have time for political games, they need solutions, and I’ll work across the aisle to ensure the farm bill reflects the needs of Iowa agriculture while pushing back against poison pills and government overreaches. Bureaucrats shouldn’t be overregulating puddles on Iowa farms, and California shouldn’t be dictating how Iowa pork is raised.
Mathis: My parents used to lay awake at night worrying about the weather. There’ve been many advancements in farming techniques since, but that worry hasn’t changed. The next farm bill must meet the challenges of weather disasters, higher operation prices and animal disease. Crop insurance protects more than 100 types of crops throughout the U.S. and we must make certain that Iowa’s corn and soybean farmers are protected when drought, rain or high winds hit; livelihoods are at stake. As a state legislator, I served on the Agriculture Committee and Agriculture Appropriations and advocated for protections from animal diseases such as African Swine Fever.
What is your appraisal of the work of the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the US Capitol?
Hinson: January 6th was a dark day for our country, and I strongly condemn anyone who was violent or broke the law that day. Those who broke the law on January 6th should be held accountable. Speaker Pelosi would not allow Republicans to appoint members to the Committee, and it is unbalanced. My focus in Congress has been, and will continue to be, on the issues Iowans are talking about around their kitchen tables every single night — rising costs, finding affordable child care, and being able to pay their bills.
Mathis: We must ensure that the United States Capitol is never attacked again. The brave Capitol Police officers who defended our democracy that day deserve nothing less. The American people need a full and open accounting of everything that occurred on January 6th so we can protect our freedom and the values and ideals on which this country was founded. No one should be pardoned for the damage and violence that occurred.
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This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Meet Iowa's 2nd Congressional District candidates in 2022 election