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Schmitt: Strong Women Leaders Work For Iowa. They Can Work For America Too.

September 13, 2023
| The Iowa Torch by Emily Sukup-Schmitt

I say this as the mother of two young girls, I point Iowans to the incredible example of our leaders. Governor Kim Reynolds is transforming Iowa for the better with conservative policies. Senator Joni Ernst and Rep. Mariannette Miller Meeks and Rep. Ashley Hinson are fighting for the same thing in Congress. From the statehouse to the House of Representatives to the Senate, they’re standing up for stronger schools, stronger families, stronger small businesses, and stronger farmers.

Clearly, conservative women work for Iowa. I bet a conservative woman would work for all of America. I even have one in mind: Nikki Haley.

Like a lot of Iowans, I’ve spent a lot of this year listening to candidates for president. Nikki is far and away the most similar to the leaders who are already delivering for our state – and I’m not talking about her gender. She has a vision for a strong and proud America, built on conservative principles and common-sense policies.

It’s got me thinking: Nikki Haley, as a former governor of South Carolina, is a lot like Iowa’s current governor, Kim Reynolds. And just as our governor has built up Iowa, Nikki could lead a great American comeback.

The similarities are uncanny. Both Nikki and Kim grew up in rural communities and took their small-town values to their governorship. Both served as state legislators and raised young children while serving their respective states. Both Nikki and Kim were the first female governors of their states. And every step of the way, both Nikki and Kim have fought the most important fights – and won.

Let’s start with making government work. When Nikki became governor, she promised to make the state government work for the people, not the other way around. She cut government waste, gutted unnecessary and overbearing agencies, and even had bureaucrats answer the phone with: “It’s a great day in South Carolina.” It’s about time bureaucrats had a better attitude. And as ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki saved taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars.

That’s just like Gov. Reynolds. She shrank departments, eliminating more than 500 positions and saved taxpayers a significant chunk of change. Imagine Nikki Haley taking the Iowa and South Carolina model all the way to Washington.

Or consider how both governors have stood up to big government. Nikki Haley sued the Environmental Protection Agency for refusing to be transparent and trying to control South Carolina. Gov. Reynolds went toe-to-toe with the EPA, too. She led the effort to let Iowans buy and sell more affordable gas, while getting the federal government out of the way.

On healthcare, these two great governors are also similar. Nikki Haley and Kim Reynolds both signed legislation to help those battling mental health issues. Two years ago, Kim cut state and property taxes and redirected funds to those struggling with mental illness. Similarly, Nikki increased funding for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, which in turn increased access to much needed services across the state. Haley also pushed the Department of Mental Health to place more student counselors in schools.

There are so many other similarities I could name. But maybe the biggest and most important is this: Nikki Haley and Kim Reynolds are drama-free.

They are more than capable of throwing a punch when needed, but they don’t stoop to unproductive political brawls. And where most people in politics are busy being show-horses, they’re getting the job done as workhorses. Nikki Haley and Kim Reynolds do things instead of just talking about them.

It’s been a long time since we had a leader in Washington who solves problems instead of creating them – who has a tough-as-nails approach and gets results. We have that in our governor. Now we need it in our president. Nikki Haley will be a president every Iowan can be proud of.

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