Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R) said that he will not introduce social issues like marriage and abortion in the next legislative session beginning Jan. 9 and will instead focus on the economy and jobs. “Right now, the primary focus of the caucus, make no mistake, is on jobs and the economy,” he insisted. The House passed a resolution calling for a referendum to deny marriage to gays and lesbians last session, but Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal (D) blocked the measure. Gronstal praised Paulsen’s decision:
“We’re not afraid to address those issues, but we’re also not interested in squandering Iowans’ time,” he said. “We have a job to do and we’re going to do it.” Gronstal said he also expected to focus on economic issues and avoid drawn-out arguments of social issues.
“Iowans would prefer that we all work on things that would get 100,000 Iowans back to work,” he said. “Kraig and I have talked and he seems to be in agreement that this session is going to be much shorter than last session.”
Not all state Republicans seem to agree with Paulsen’s focus. Earlier this month, Iowa’s Republican senate minority leader Jerry Behn insisted that Iowans should have the right to vote on gay people’s marriage rights, despite the GOP’s recent loss in a special senate election that failed to change the balance of power in the senate.