Candidate Q & A: Matt DeVries Would Vote to Oust Remaining Supreme Court Justices
Matt DeVries, an electrical engineer and father of five, is challenging five other candidates for a chance to appear on the November ballot for the Iowa House District 37 seat.
Ankeny voters will head to the polls June 5 to decide which Republican candidates will appear on the November ballot this year in a bid to serve in the Iowa House of Representatives.
Ankeny is represented by two districts, House District 37 and 38.
Today, we're introducing you to Ankeny resident Matt DeVries. He is one of six candidates running for the District 37 GOP nomination.
Whoever wins the primary will face unopposed Democrat candidate Neal Tracy in November.
Address: 610 SE 11th St., Ankeny
Employer: Self-employed, electrical engineer
Number of years lived in the district: 9
Summary of education: B.S.E.E., Iowa State University, 2002.
Family: My wife, Mandie, and I have been married for almost 11 years and have 5 daughters – Bethany, Emma, Madeleine, Leah and Lucy.
What do you see as the state government's role, what should it do for taxpayers and what should it stay out of?
The role of government at all levels is to protect the rights and liberties of the people and I am proud that our state motto beautifully reflects this.
What were the top 3 successes of the most recent legislative session?
This session was greatly hampered by the non-responsive Democratic majority in the Senate, which prevented any meaningful successes this session.
- This session progress was made toward moving spending levels below what the state took in and greatly reduced, though did not eliminate, the use of one-time money.
- The Legislature at least attempted to address reforms to our educational system. I’m glad the debate was started; however, this is at best a mixed result as the final form did not create substantial changes for our students’ future.
- Many other issues were addressed this session but I have a hard time qualifying them as successes.
What were the 3 biggest failures?
- The budget actually grew by 3.5-4 percent! For all the talk and campaign promises from last cycle of reducing the size and cost of government, this is unacceptable. It is time for government to be cut and not continue to bloat.
- No progress was made on property tax relief. We must enact reform in this area, otherwise Iowa taxpayers will be faced with much larger tax bills in the coming years.
- There was no progress on getting back to the basics of government’s role – to protect our rights and liberties. We must protect our fundamental right – the right to life and defund those organizations that perform abortions and fight to protect life from the moment of conception.
How can the state restructure property taxes without shifting the burden to homeowners?
First we must cut spending and balance the budget without using any one-time money; then we can offer critical tax relief to all Iowans. We can accomplish property tax reform without a real strain on homeowners by taking a measured, long-term approach. This should include capping the growth rates of residential and agricultural property and phasing in the reduction of the taxable value on commercial property over a 5-8 year period.
In the end we must offer property tax reform in the state and all Iowans will benefit. Our commercial property taxes are the second highest in the country! By addressing this issue we can create a business-friendly environment that will create jobs and get Iowans back to work.
Is the current tax structure hurting the state's economy?
Yes, and this ties in to my answer on the previous question about property taxes. It’s difficult to recruit businesses to the state or encourage entrepreneurs to start a business and create jobs when the tax structure is so crippling. Couple this with our high corporate tax rates (our top rate is the highest in the country!) and, yes, we can definitely see that the tax structure is harmful.
As your state representative I will never make a promise to create jobs – that is not the role of government. However, I will promise to work hard to reduce the burdens that government puts on our economy. I will fight to reduce spending, lower taxes, and eliminate onerous regulations in order to free up our entrepreneurs to be creative and bring back our prosperity.
Should the next legislature take up the issue of same sex marriage? What would you propose?
Yes. Through my chats with voters in the district I have met many people who are frustrated with the decision to re-define marriage in our state and I agree with them. The best way to settle this issue is to move forward on the marriage amendment and allow the people of Iowa to vote on it. I have no doubt that the amendment would pass just as it has in other states across the U.S.
Beyond the marriage amendment there is further action that we can take to alleviate the problem of judicial activism. I will propose an amendment to the State Constitution in line with our U.S. Constitution (Art. III, Sect 2) which would allow the State Legislature to strip jurisdiction of certain cases from the Iowa Supreme Court. This is a method of the “checks and balances” which has been used at the federal level but is missing – and needed – here in our state.
Should the remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of allowing same sex marriage be removed from the bench? Why or why not?
I will publicly state that I will vote “No” on retaining the justices. Voters across the state should review the Varnum case and make their own decision on the retention, but the will of the people appears obvious. I believe that the justices overstepped their authority and I fundamentally disagree with their application of the equal protection clause and the argument that the government should recognize the rights of certain “classes” of people. Individuals have inherent and God-given rights, not classes.
Finally, we'll close on a lighter note. Tell voters one fun, random fact about you they probably don't know.
I love learning new skills and taking on DIY projects. Several years ago my wife and I built a house and I acted as the general contractor. The process was very rewarding and I loved working with my hands to see the ongoing progress. I hope to try it again sometime and integrate some sustainable building techniques, as that is an area in which I’m interested.