As I visit Iowans across the 16 counties in Iowa’s Third Congressional District, I too often hear stories from parents whose children have moved far away because they couldn’t find good-paying jobs here. I’ve also heard from former residents who want to move back and raise their families in their hometowns, but they can’t find jobs that will support them.
To make ends meet, many folks are working two or three jobs just to get by. That’s unsustainable and unacceptable.
Iowans working a full-time job should earn enough money to put food on their table and a roof over their heads.
In our state, we believe those who work hard each and every day deserve to be able to provide a good life for their families and have a chance to grow and chase their dreams.
And yet more than 70,000 Iowans are currently unemployed, and more than twice that number report they do not have enough food to eat.
That’s why I’m working with my colleagues in Congress on the largest investment in job creation our country has made in nearly a century — and it’s why I’m fighting to make sure these jobs will be available right here in Iowa’s southwest and central communities.
Last month President Biden unveiled his American Jobs Plan, which would invest almost $2 trillion in repairing and revitalizing American infrastructure — a worthy endeavor that would create good-paying jobs and give our working families more opportunities to achieve the American Dream.
That mission begins by creating more pathways to success, including those that don’t require a four-year college degree. We can support career paths that connect high school graduates with trade schools and apprenticeships that give them good-paying jobs immediately upon graduation.
The American Jobs Plan also creates more jobs by revitalizing the manufacturing industry. We’ve seen the steady decline of manufacturing in the U.S. as jobs have either moved overseas or have provided middle class-workers with lower wages and fewer protections in recent years. With new investments, we can build more right here at home, boosting local revenue and strengthening our supply chain.
Caregivers, who are only earning about $12 an hour nationwide, are among the lowest-paid workers in this country. One in six caregivers lives in poverty. The American Jobs Plan calls for expanding access to quality, affordable home-based or community-based care for those who need it. That starts by providing caregivers with living wages.
Whether you’re a welder, a pipefitter, an in-home nurse or a childcare worker, you should be able to sleep soundly at night without worrying about how you’ll pay your mortgage tomorrow or whether you can afford to send your child on an upcoming field trip.
No one should be scrambling to find a third or fourth job so they can keep their heat on in the winter.
And our next generation should have opportunities to save for their first home, to provide a secure future for their families and to plan for their retirement.
Investing in infrastructure will not only fix our roads, bridges and public transit systems, build out our broadband networks and clean energy grids and make sure our young, our elderly and our most vulnerable populations are well taken care of while workers rebuild this country — it will also provide jobs to hard-working Iowans, bolster the middle class and make sure everyone has a fair shot at fulfilling the American Dream again.
Rep. Cindy Axne represents Iowa’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She can be reached at 202-225-5476.