DES MOINES — An elected city official from Boone with a background in law enforcement is the latest Republican to enter the 2018 Republican race for Iowa governor.
Steven Ray, 47, recently joined Gov. Kim Reynolds and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett in the field of candidates seeking the GOP gubernatorial primary election to be decided next June.
Ray, former communications manager for the Iowa State Patrol, is in his fourth term on the Boone City Council. He is not related to Gov. Robert Ray.
Steven Ray said he believes his bipartisan approach to solving problems and managing government will appeal to independents and Democrats, as well as those in his political party.
A graduate of Iowa State University and Drake University, Ray said he would balance the state budget without borrowing from the reserves, put more emphasis on bolstering education and law enforcement and bring a common-sense approach to guiding the state in a way that is beneficial to all Iowans regardless of party affiliation or influence.
“It’s become a common saying that Washington, D.C., is a swamp. I can state, unequivocally, that if D.C. is a swamp, our state’s capitol is no less than a smelly ol’ marsh rife with special interests and selfish personal agendas over public interests,” Ray said in his announcement speech.
“Our people of Iowa deserve a common-sense, levelheaded, personable and caring chief executive that will know how to overcome that with the best and brightest people working with me to achieve the goal of putting Iowans first,” he said. “A Gov. Ray will drain that smelly ol’ marsh in Des Moines as his No. 1 priority beginning day one.”
A pro-life Republican and strong advocate of the Second Amendment, Ray said he would be a “law-and-order” governor who would adequately fund and staff the Iowa State Patrol, along with public safety and human service agencies, while favoring more funding for education over spending millions of dollars on tax incentives to lure businesses to Iowa.
“As governor, I want to fully fund K-12 education at the local level and allow local control by school districts whose teachers know what is best for our children’s curriculum,” he said.
Ray said he believed the “sweeping changes” to collective bargaining for public employees that Statehouse Republicans approved last session were “unnecessary” and a “slap in the face” to hardworking employees who will have his support if elected governor.
“Had the Chapter 20 legislation come to my desk as governor, I would have vetoed it and sent it back to the Legislature with a note in the margin of the bill stating they can do better than that without putting legislative and executive branch budgetary failures on the backs of hardworking public employees,” he said in his campaign’s kickoff speech.
Ray said he believes “the jury is still out” on Iowa’s decision to switch Medicaid to a system that is managed by three private care organizations, and he would like to assess it further.
“In my first 100 days as governor, there will be an executive order requesting the Department of Management and the Department of Administrative Services to perform a full top-to-bottom review of the state budget and account for spending habits among state agencies and departments and find the root problem,” he said.
“I will also order a full review of all top-level management in these agencies to determine if they are adequate, or top-heavy, and if their front-line positions are adequate in serving the needs of Iowans,” Ray added.