Iowa Senate News Release
For Immediate Release: 9/5/19
Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on appointment of Kelly Kennedy Garcia to Iowa DHS Director
Iowans need a leader at the Department of Human Services who will stand up for people instead of for-profit companies.
Apparently Governor Reynolds shared her ‘ambitious goals’ for serving Iowa’s most vulnerable populations with newly appointed director Kelly Kennedy Garcia.
It is time for Governor Reynolds to also share those goals with Iowans. The Reynolds Administration has been working behind closed doors on a ‘new direction’ for the department for nearly a year. Yet Governor Reynolds has continued to keep Iowans in the dark about what to expect.
Like most Iowans, Senate Democrats are hopeful the new Iowa DHS director will have the courage to help Governor Reynolds fundamentally change course. Her to-do list should start with:
1) Fixing Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system, a failure that is unsustainable, unaffordable and unaccountable.
2) Reversing the policies that destroyed Iowa’s once successful family planning network. The result has been more unintended pregnancies, more risky births, and more teenage mothers.
3) Addressing Iowa’s maternal health crisis which has more than doubled maternal mortality in less than three years. Reynolds Administration policies have contributed to making Iowa a more dangerous place to have a baby.
4) Establishing a comprehensive, adequate source of funding for child and adult mental health services.
5) Ending dangerous practices and procedures in use at Glenwood, Eldora and other state-operated facilities.
6) Rebuilding Iowa’s child protective safety net by mending the holes that have resulted in abuse and death.
The Reynolds Administration does not have a good record on helping Iowa families. Senate Democrats hope the Garcia appointment signals real change rather than more failure. Iowans deserve better.