For Amy Sinclair, Republican candidate for District 14 of the Iowa Senate, one of the most locally important issues is agriculture, because agriculture affects many things, including the economy.
Sinclair gave the example of when the country “fell off the edge of a cliff” in the downturn of the economy a few years ago.
“Iowa didn’t, and it didn’t because of agriculture,” Sinclair said. “Long and the short of it, agriculture kept Iowa from being in the mess the rest of the nation was. As a senator, we need to make sure we have policies and regulatory practices that don’t inhibit that as our economic base.”
Agriculture is something Sinclair has been around her entire life because she grew up on a farm near the Iowa-Missouri border.
Sinclair’s husband Boyd, who is the elementary-school principal at Wayne Community School District, and their three sons live on a 123-year active family farm that Sinclair described as “south of Humeston, west of Allerton, north of Lineville and east of Leon.”
The farm has a cow-calf operation with 60 to 65 head of cows.
Sinclair is also a business-office manager for a grain elevator.
When it comes to local politics, she is on the board of supervisors for Wayne County. Sinclair is in the second year of her second term.
She has held numerous leadership positions on boards and committees, including Iowa County Engineers, Service Bureau, South Iowa Area Crime Commission, Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa, Chariton Valley Transportation Planning Affiliate, South Central Iowa Community Action Agency and Wayne County Farm Bureau.
According to Sinclair, sometimes there’s a disconnect between local and state governments, an example when former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver ordered a 10 percent across-the-board cut of the state’s budget in 2009.
“To me, having somebody who’s familiar with the local government’s end of it, can be nothing but a benefit at the state level,” she said. “You know, to have a senator in there who understands what consequences those votes will have back on the people who are actually doing the business of governing.”
Along with agriculture and the economy, education is also a big issue for Sinclair, who has worked for Central Decatur Community Schools and Southwestern Community College.
Sinclair said there needs to be education reform, including local control of school districts.
Science and math
She said the state and school districts need to have a greater focus on science and math, similar to Gov. Branstad’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative.
Science, math and technology even play a role in agriculture, Sinclair said.
“Agriculture is nothing but science and mathematics,” she said. “You know, it’s figuring out what exact ratio of chemicals you need to use for fertilizer to make sure you’re not spending too much, that you’re not getting too much so that it’s interfering with water quality so you’re not dealing with runoff and harming the environment. Science, you know, agriculture is science.”
She added, it’s also important for children to be able to read at appropriate levels because how can they progress into other areas of education, such as science and math.
Sinclair said there’s a current focus to develop the state’s urban areas, but to do that, it’s agricultural areas need to flourish, as well.
“If rural Iowa isn’t vital in it’s agricultural base,” she said, “it’s not supporting those companies that exist in the urban areas. It’s not supporting those industries that are in the urban areas, and they suffer, too. … People are concerned about the economy, and we have to work to make sure that in our district that agriculture, as the base of our economy, is vital because it feeds the rest of the economy. It feeds the jobs. It builds our way of life here.”