Gov. Tim Walz traveled to Iowa Thursday for the second time in as many weeks to deliver counter-messaging to the GOP presidential hopefuls who flocked to the Iowa State Fair.
Walz stopped in Des Moines late last month ahead of an Iowa Republican fundraiser. Such frequent trips to the first-in-the-nation caucus state ahead of a presidential election are often considered a sign of a White House bid, though Walz insists he’s not plotting a run for higher office but simply helping “make the case” for a second Biden term.
The governor delivered his routine stump speech on the GOP’s “morally reprehensible” agenda — “they’re banning books, we’re banning hunger” — before sitting down for a podcast interview with Iowa Democrats in which he criticized Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ school choice program.
“Whenever you come up with one of these schemes — and that’s exactly what they are — to transfer wealth to folks on the backs of these students, we already know that we’re going to underfund public schools that are already underfunded. And we know that about 70% of those students that are going to receive those vouchers or whatever they’re calling them are already attending those schools. What we end up doing is subsidizing folks who are already attending private, religious schools, whatever it may be, or homeschooling, and it leaves our teachers in the short,” Walz claimed.
Reynolds signed an expansive school choice bill into law earlier this year that will put $7,598 annually per student in an education savings account that families can then use for the school of their choice, according to the Des Moines Register.
“We know these (nonpublic) schools don’t have to take everyone and they’ll send kids back,” Walz said, claiming there’s “no data to support that those students are doing any better, that those schools are achieving any better.”
The governor then argued that nonpublic schools may teach that “it is OK to discriminate against some of our students” while criticizing a new Iowa law that seeks to keep sexually explicit content out of schools.
“You don’t want your child or your student to do something, then don’t let them do that, but don’t take away my freedom, don’t take away my child’s freedom. Don’t enforce your views on all of us. And let’s be very clear about this. This entire agenda, this entire voucher agenda, is exactly about that, about not wanting to teach that, because I’m sure at these schools we may not hear the whole history of how things are happening. We may hear that it is OK to discriminate against some of our students,” he commented.
Walz also indicated that he would not support a presidential bid from fellow Minnesotan Rep. Dean Phillips, who wants to see a Democrat challenge President Joe Biden in the primaries and is considering a run himself.
“President Biden will be our nominee and it’s not about all the distracting issues,” Walz said. “I’m not spending much time on that. Congressman Phillips is a great congressman and as I’ve said before, I think all of us stay in our lane and do the work necessary.”