top of page

Candidate Questionnaires

Several Iowa organizations, including ASPIRE (the Iowa State University affiliate of the National Science Policy Network), the University of Iowa's Connecting Science to Society student group, and Science Iowa, in cooperation with Science Debate, asked candidates for the house of representatives and the senate for the thoughts on science-based issues, including the environment, agriculture, climate change, and mental health. These questions were developed with input from numerous Iowa-based issue advocacy groups: 

  • Iowa State University Environmental Club

  • Iowa State University Graduate Students in Counseling Psychology

  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science - Iowa State University chapter

  • Citizens' Climate Lobby - Des Moines chapter

  • Citizens' Climate Lobby - Iowa Great Lakes chapter

  • University of Iowa Society of Physics Students

  • Iowa State University Sustainable Agriculture Student Association

  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers- Iowa State University chapter

  • Center for Energy and Environmental Education based at the University of Northern Iowa

  • Conservation Districts of Iowa

  • Iowa Environmental Council

Below are the complete questions asked, we did highlight one or two questions in each category as priority so that if candidates were short on time, they knew what to answer in each area.


On the sub-pages in the candidate questionnaires header above (labelled by the seat they are running for or the larger region and legislative position) you will find the unedited responses we received. 


This information is only to enlighten voters. Science Iowa, ASPIRE, Connecting Science to Society, Science Debate and organizations that provided input to these questions do not endorse any candidate or party.

To find your representatives, please use visit this page which will let you select where you live and see which districts you're represented by.

Questions asked: 

Climate Change

  1. Some elected officials believe that we cannot take action to slow or mitigate climate change without the involvement of other countries such as China and India. What role should the U.S. play? 

  2. What policies would you support in moving away from traditional sources of energy consumption?

  3. Would you support increased funding for research institutions to study energy resources and to ensure their findings are communicated to the public?

  4. How can Midwest states, like Iowa,  become leaders in addressing climate change?

  5. What opportunities do you see for federal policy to address Iowa’s role in climate change?

  6. How do you propose to improve rural resiliency in the face of increased flooding and severe storms that are expected to result from climate change?


  1. How will you incorporate researchers' findings and recommendations to mitigate farm-sourced water pollution, including supporting implementation through federal aid and/or regulation?

  2. What policies would you support to manage agriculture to provide a healthy, affordable and sustainable food supply while mitigating negative effects on rural populations?

  3. How will you ensure that research and scientific evidence plays a role in the development of policies regarding concentrated animal feeding operations?

  4. What policies or funding would you support to develop financial incentives for more diverse crops, in-field and edge-of-field conservation practices, biofuel production, sustainable livestock production, and opportunities for beginning farmers? 

  5. What policies would you introduce or support to encourage farmers to adopt practices to conserve resources and reduce agriculture-related pollution?

  6. How would you encourage programs and funding in the next Farm Bill to integrate science-based decision-making?

  7. What changes would you make to the Farm Bill to support sustainable agriculture?


  1. How will you ensure that science and research plays a critical role in monitoring and remediating water quality in Iowa’s impaired streams, rivers, and lakes?

  2. Many Iowa streams and water bodies are impaired due to nitrates, phosphorus, and bacteria from synthetic fertilizer and CAFO-produced livestock waste. What policies do you propose or support to reduce agricultural chemicals and animal waste in Iowa groundwater and stream

  3. Science shows that water quality issues are connected to poor soil health and erosion. Poor soil and erosion also could contribute to declining food production. What policies would you introduce or support to improve soil health in Iowa?

General Science

  1. Science and technology are increasingly key economic components. What policies will you support or introduce to make such industries a greater part of Iowa's economy and ensure workers are prepared for jobs in this sector?

  2. Some politicians resort to disputing settled science and silencing scientists when confronted with inconvenient data. What policies do you support to foster a culture that respects scientific evidence and protects scientists who speak unpopular truths?

  3. In an age dominated by complex science and technology, how can we ensure that students receive adequate STEM education?

  4. What advisory mechanism will you implement to ensure that scientific findings are a critical voice within your policy process?


  1. The sun is becoming more active, increasing the danger of a solar flare severely damaging Iowa’s electric grid.  What role should the federal government have in supporting research into forecasting or preparing for these events?

  2. What role should renewable sources of energy play for energy consumption in Iowa? 

  3. How would you incentivize businesses and organizations to implement more sustainable waste-management and energy-use practices? 

  4. Would you support increased funding for research institutions to study energy resources and to ensure their findings are communicated to the public?

Mental health

  1. The need for mental health services in Iowa far exceeds the availability and number of providers. How will you use evidence-driven policies to meet your constituents’ mental health needs? 

  2. Research shows that untreated mental health conditions can affect not just an individual's overall health but also a community's economy. What policies would you support to increase mental health services for those in rural residents and others with limited access to care, or those with insurance mental health providers typically don’t accept? 

  3. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy could have lasting effects on Iowans' mental health, increasing demand for services throughout rural and under-served parts of the state. What policies would you support to increase the availability of mental health personnel and services in these areas?

bottom of page