• Synthetic Drugs & Sentencing Reform

    This week, the legislature’s first week back in session, I filed a bill which will both save lives and promote social justice. The bill changes Iowa code to enable prosecution of illegal synthetic drug cases, a major step towards getting these dangerous drugs off the street.  The second element of the bill fixes an inequity in cocaine penalties, eliminating the powder cocaine bias which causes disparate penalties for minorities.

    I’ve dealt with synthetic drugs, such as K2 and Spice, ever since I was a commander at Andrews Air Force Base. These drugs are incredibly dangerous. Since nearly every batch of synthetic drugs is chemically unique, users know neither the strength of the drug nor the chemical components they are putting into their bodies.

    I’ve met with numerous families in our area whose loved ones died as a result of synthetic drug use. These substances are easy to acquire and infractions are seldom prosecuted.

    Current law addresses the issue by making the drug’s chemical compound illegal. But synthetic drugs go by many names and take a myriad of forms. So if one compound is made illegal, manufacturers simply switch up their recipe, making it easy to skirt the law.

    My bill adopts language used in places that have experienced similar problems, like Florida and Cedar Rapids. Under this law, prosecutors will be able to use common-sense criteria to determine if the substance they found is a synthetic drug, regardless of its name or chemical compound.

    In other words, if the drug seized looks like a synthetic drug, makes the user high like a synthetic drug, or is bought and sold like a synthetic drug, it can legally be considered a synthetic drug. By giving law enforcement the freedom to act on their expertise rather than play legal catch-up with drug manufacturers, we make our community a safer place for all.

    The second part of the bill addresses the inequity in crack versus powdered cocaine sentencing. Generally speaking, drug abusers from minority populations tend to prefer crack cocaine over powdered cocaine, while white abusers tend to prefer the opposite. Both forms are illegal but the penalties for possession and use of crack cocaine are much harsher than those for powder. As a result, minority abusers of cocaine tend to unfairly receive harsher punishments than those of white cocaine abusers.

    I filed a similar bill last year on behalf of Sergeant Jerrald Meek, an Army special forces soldier and Afghanistan veteran from Cedar Rapids who committed suicide after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and synthetic drug addiction. Versions of the bill passed both the House and Senate, but differences couldn’t be resolved before the end of the legislative session. Given that all eight Republican members and five of eight Democratic members of the House Public Safety Committee have signed on as co-sponsors already this week, I’m optimistic this is the year we pass this important legislation. Doing so will save lives and promote social justice, goals all Iowans can support.

  • Gratitude

    In light of last night’s election victory, I’m filled with gratitude.

    Thanks first to Representative Daniel Lundby, who ran a tough campaign and was very gracious in his comments last night.  He and his family have a strong legacy of service to our community.  I intend to continue that legacy of service, putting the people of Marion, Bertram, Ely, and the surrounding parts of Linn County ahead of any partisan, personal, or special interests.

    Thanks to the good Lord and my family for all the support which saw us through to this day.

    Thanks to all those voters who entrusted me with the sacred responsibility to be their Representative; I’m humbled by your support and pledge to work hard to be worthy of it.

    Thanks as well to those voters who supported my opponent.  While you may be disappointed, please know that I intend to well-represent ALL citizens of the district, not just those who voted for me.  In the next couple of months, I’ll be reaching out to many of the groups and individuals who didn’t support me with the intent of better learning your issues and concerns.  We may not agree on everything, but I’ll do my best to understand, respect, and consider your point of view.  As I said in my TV commercial, “we’re not Republicans or Democrats, we’re Iowans.”  We need to work together to solve our problems and make our state an example to the nation.

    Thanks to all those supporters who gave of their time, money, and prayers.  This was truly a team effort; we never would have succeeded without the army of people who door-knocked, walked in parades, stuffed envelopes, put up yard signs, etc.  I am humbled by your dedication.

    Special thanks to Governor Branstad, Senator Grassley, Lt Governor Reynolds, Speaker Paulsen and Chairman Kaufmann, all of whom believed in me and went above and beyond to support me.  Thanks as well to all the candidates and their staffs up and down the ballot, particularly to the Governor & our new Congressman Rod Blum, who worked closely with our team throughout the campaign.  Working independently we were good, working together we were a force to be reckoned with.

    Finally, thanks to Sam Pritchard, Chris Williams, Angie Beer, Lauren Page, Renee Schulte, the Smithsons, Richard Bice, Kathy Pearson, Kim Reem, Deb Foster, Mike Dulaney and countless others who lived and breathed this campaign for a year and a half.  I was proud to be associated with such a great team.

    I ran on a platform of individual liberty, lower taxes, limited government, and getting our education back to #1 in the country.  I pledged to conduct my campaign and subsequent service with integrity, service, and excellence.  The time for talk is over.  Let’s get to work!

    Acceptance Speech



  • Branstad/Reynolds to Headline Rizer Rally

    Honored to announce that Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will headline a Rizer for House Rally on Tues, Oct 28th, at 1:15 pm in the Marion Public Library.  Thrilled that the best governing team in the nation, enroute to their own election win, is taking time in the final week of the campaign to support us!  The rally is open to the public.  I encourage our supporters to wear your Rizer for House t-shirts!

    Proud to serve!

    At the Home Base Iowa Law signing w Gov Branstad & Lt Gov Reynolds

  • Tribute to Veterans Video!

    Check out our new, professionally made Tribute to Veterans video, documenting our fantastic event with Governor Branstad!  You can get to it either on my homepage at www.kenrizer.com, or go straight to the video on You Tube at http://youtu.be/LVUI1bBlOiU.