State and Federal Republican Candidates Speak at Spring Preview

Casey Jarmes
The News-Review

SIGOURNEY – The Keokuk County Republican Party held a “Spring Preview” on April 6, where candidates gave speeches and spoke with local Republicans. The Republican Primary will be held on June 4.

Due to the high number of candidates, the interviews with local candidates ran in the April 10 issue of The News-Review.


Helena Hayes, Iowa House of Representatives, Incumbent

Helena Hayes of New Sharon is running for reelection to the Iowa House of Representatives. “I feel like I fit the district. I match the people that live in the district and what they want to be represented by, which are conservative values and biblically minded ideas,” said Hayes.

She stated that she had fought for “social conservatism” and pushed back against “ideologies that are harmful to children” like “gender ideologies and gender identity,” bathroom policies, critical race theory, and diversity, equity and inclusion, which she claimed were “invasive” in schools. She stated that, if reelected, she would fight to get protections based on gender identity stripped from the civil rights code. She claimed that this isn’t because she is anti-LGBT or hateful, but because laws preventing employers from discriminating based on gender identity take away people’s religious freedoms. She was asked to clarify and claimed that there is legislation that would require employers to force employees to not misgender other employees.

She brought up the thing that inspired her to run for office, a 2021 incident where a 15-year-old trans boy came to the Pella pool with his chest covered by tape instead of a shirt. In her recounting of the story, Hayes repeatedly referred to the boy as “she.” When the Pella City Council decided not take any action, Hayes was “floored” and decided to run for office. She claimed to have been commanded by God to “oppose evil.”

“When a great moral issue is involved, neutrality does not serve righteousness,” said Hayes. “For to be neutral between right and wrong is to serve wrong. So I ask for your prayers moving forward. We are truly in a spiritual battle.”


Adrian Dickey, Iowa Senate, Incumbent

Adrian Dickey of Packwood is running for reelection to the Iowa Senate. Dickey stated that he had lowered taxes, “protected the Second Amendment,” rewrote child labor laws to “give youth opportunities,” and passed a fetal heartbeat bill.

Dickey said that, several years ago, his daughter texted him, saying that she would cut ties with him if he did not change his policies on abortion or trans rights. “I haven’t heard from her in the last three years,” said the senator. “And the reason I bring that up is, politics isn’t easy, right? You’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to stand for something.”

Dickey was asked about the contentious AEA reform that he had recently voted for. “What got passed was drastically, drastically different than any revision of the bill that was out before that. I absolutely would have liked to see more of administrative pay addressed in this bill. It wasn’t, but it also has some really good things,” said Dickey. “One being teacher pay, was part of that bill. There’s local control that was never allowed before. 90% of the money stays with the AEAs. If the AEAs are doing a good service for their schools, they’re not going to notice a change. But it is going to make the AEA’s prove their value, prove their worth, because if they’re not doing a good job, the school is going to have some options to do something different.”

Dickey told a story about receiving a call from a woman in Des Moines about the American flag not being flown at the Des Moines Veterans Hospital. Dickey claimed that he couldn’t sleep after the call and drove to Des Moines to personally put up a flag, then drove up again after a maintenance worker took it down. Dickey claimed that two veterans walked out and clapped for him while crying, saying that they had felt humiliated by the lack of a flag.

Dickey took umbrage with President Biden’s decision to officially recognize March 31 as Transgender Day of Visibility. The day, dedicated to raising awareness of the discrimination transgender people face, has been celebrated on March 31 by advocacy groups in the United States since 2009. Because the date of Easter changes from year to year, Easter also fell on March 31 this year. Easter will not fall on March 31 again until 2086. On March 31, Biden, a devout Catholic, held public Easter festivities at the White House and released a letter sending warm wishes to Christians, which read “Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s Resurrection. As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice.”

Adrian Dickey said that the recognition of Transgender Day of Visibility was an “attack on Christianity” designed to take away one of “only two” Christian holidays. “I’m tired of the attacks that are common against Christians and Republicans,” said Dickey.


David Pautsch, U.S. House of Representatives, Challenger

David Pautsch, a prayer breakfast organizer from Davenport, is running to unseat incumbent Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks. “She is a Republican in name only. She’s not a Republican,” claimed Pautsch. “She votes like a Democrat...She’s an anti-Trumper. She says she supports Trump, but she doesn’t. She called him a cheat and a liar, said he was as qualified to be president as Hillary Clinton. She voted to certify the fraudulent 2020 election and voted to establish the January Sixth Committee.”

Pautsh vowed to pardon members of the January 6 Insurrection, a deadly riot that resulted in more than 1,000 assaults on law enforcement, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, carried out to prevent Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress from certifying the election through violent force. “She was asked, ‘well, what are we going to do about getting these political prisoners out of the gulags?’ She says nothing. ‘They broke the law, they deserve it.’ That is not the way you think if you’re a Republican,” said Pautsch.

Pautsch also attacked Miller-Meeks for voting for the Defense of Marriage Act, a 2022 bill that enshrined gay marriage into federal law. “I’m here to honor the Lord, and his word makes it very clear what’s best for us and what’s not. He says, the sins of homosexuality are just horrendous,” said Pautsch.

Pautsh claimed gay people were trapped in “sexual bondage” and that there is “help” out there that will make them stop being gay. Pautsch was asked if he was talking about conversion therapy. Per Wikipedia, conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice that attempts to force people, often minors, to stop being gay through aversive treatments like electric shocks, nausea-inducing drugs, and hypnosis. The practice has been outlawed in 22 states and is uniformly denounced by health organizations, who feel it violates the Hippocratic oath. “Well, conversion therapy is basically inner healing. It’s healing the emotional wounds that come from fear and rejection,” said Pautsch.

Pautsch claimed that people are gay because of trauma, often the result of being raped. He insisted that he does not hate gay people, because God loves gay people and wants to help them through things like conversion therapy.

“I’m running because America is in trouble. Huge trouble,” said Pautsch. “And I figured, better to light a small candle than to curse the darkness. There’s a guy named Edmund Burke, who you’ve probably heard of, an English politician. He said, ‘All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’”

Pautsch also criticized Miller-Meeks and other Republicans for not making Jim Jordan House Speaker and for approving a recent omnibus spending bill, which he called an “abomination” that made his “blood curdle.”

“People talk about the Democrats. ‘Oh they’re so united, how come Republicans can’t be united like the Democrats?’ Well, the reason the Democrats are united is because they’re united in wickedness!” spat Pautsch. “They have one single minded agenda and that is to destroy this country!..We have to get to a place where Republicans are Republicans. And you can’t act like one, you have to be one, beecause number one, you have a connection to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that’s where the integrity comes from. Not just because you try to be good little boys and girls who do what you say. No, you have to have integrity.”

Pautsch brought up the fact that two of his sons fought in the War on Terror. One served in Afghanistan and was left with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. The other died in Iraq. He claimed this was why he was running.

Pautsch called abortion baby murder and advocated a complete nationwide ban on abortion in all circumstances. He claimed that there are more couples out there wanting to adopt than there are abortions and stated he wanted to provide funding to encourage pregnant women to keep pregnant up until adoption. “There are a lot of reasons people get abortions, and some of them are very understandable. They don’t want to go through the torture of it financially or be condemned by other people in their church,” said Pautsch.

Pautsch turned his ire towards gender-affirming care for trans people, calling it “mutilation” and saying he would ban it. He was asked about studies saying that gender-affirming care in adults significantly lower suicide rates. Pautsch denied this and claimed that the opposite was true. According to “Suicide-Related Outcomes Following Gender-Affirming Treatment: A Review,” a meta-analysis by the National Library of Medicine, suicide attempts among trans people go from 35.8% before receiving gender-affirming care to 9.4% after initiating treatment.

He was asked if, hypothetically, these studies were true and gender-affirming care did significantly lower suicide rates, would he still be against gender-affirming care for adults? “Oh, of course,” Pautsch said, without hesitation. “It’s not that I’m opposed to things that will help them, but number one, I don’t believe it does. But the fact of the matter is, there are only two genders and anything else is just an emotional disturbance of some sort. There is no such thing as a binary. There are all kinds of people that feel that way, but what they make the mistake of is somehow thinking that a feeling equals the truth. No, a feeling is just a feeling. You don’t run your life by an emotion.”

Pautsch was asked about the concept of personal liberty and if his personal distaste for gay marriage or gender-affirming care superceded people’s right to do what they want with themselves and their lives. “It’s not my personal taste, it’s the truth,” said Pautsch.

“We need to go back to the way our nation was started and go back to our public policy of morality,” said Pautsch. “Because, ever since about WWII, judges have increasingly adjudicated on the basis of moral neutrality, that everyone has a seat at the table. You know, that the First Amendment gives you just as much right to promote Satanism as it does the one true God the Lord Jesus Christ. Well, no, it doesn’t. First Amendment rights were never meant to allow people to make this stuff a matter of public policy.”


Mariannette Miller-Meeks, U.S. House of Representatives, Incumbent

Incumbent Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks did not attend the Spring Preview, but a member of her Campaign Team, Asa St. Lawrence, attended and spoke on her behalf. According to St. Lawrence, the congresswoman was celebrating her son’s birthday by attending the Iowa Women’s Basketball team’s final four-match against the University of Connecticut. St. Lawrence transitioned from this topic to talking about banning trans women from playing women’s sports. He also talked about banning Chinese companies from buying farmland, stronger border security, and the need to put Donald Trump back in office.

“We see what everyone else sees, high gas prices, inflation, people paying more at the grocery store, and President Biden’s reckless border policy,” said St. Lawrence. “We have to secure our border, get prices lower, and that’s why she’s running.


David Barker, Iowa Republican State Central Committee, Incumbent

David Barker, a member of the Iowa Board of Regents, is seeking reelection to the State Central Committee. “I’m the current treasurer of the party, so I’m working hard to make sure that we raise the money that we need and keep control of our expenses, so that again we can do everything that we can to increase our majority in Iowa and get as many votes for federal candidates as we can,” said Barker.

Barker stated that he had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, served on his small business council, and uses him as a case study for his MBA students. He stated that, as a regent, he recommended getting rid of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs in colleges. Barker stated he had written peer-reviewed papers that “destroyed” “leftist climate research,” which he called “nonsense” that is “destroying America.”

“In some states, the state party is irrelevant or worse. They have infighting, they don’t get Republicans elected. And I know we have a strong party.”


Ted Hee, Iowa Republican State Central Committee, Challenger

Ted Hee, a Republican District Executive Committee Officer from Cantril, is running for the Republican State Central Committee. “I believe that the Republican party needs to be responsive to the grassroots membership of the party,” said Hee. “I want to be on the State Central Committee to ensure that the voice of the grassroots is heard…”I will admit this in front of the room: I am not a native Iowan. That is the highest compliment that somebody can pay the State of Iowa and the people in it. I came here because this is better than anything else out there.”




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