Messaging Guide: Corporate Kim Reynolds’ Reality Check

folder_openMessage Guide, Research

Iowans have endured some tough years. But through it all, we have looked out for one another and done our best to find the resources we need to get by. Sadly, Governor Reynolds stood in the way of those resources and continues to divert them from our schools, dinner tables, roads and bridges to make her wealthy donors even wealthier. 

As she announces her reelection, we’re getting ready with the facts and the messages to make sure she can’t run from her record. Throughout the pandemic, Corporate Kim Reynolds put working families and Iowa’s economy at risk. Despite actively campaigning against the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) and criticizing it as a “Blue State Bailout” she has used the federal funds supported by Rep. Axne and signed by President Biden as the backbone of her reelection campaign. 

ARPA gave governors across the country funds to spend on our communities. But Corporate Kim Reynolds is hoarding those funds for corporate tax cuts. What she can’t hoard she’s pretending was her idea to begin with, like funding for broadband, housing, water quality and infrastructure, and childcare centers. In addition to hoarding cash from Iowans to use on the wealthy, she refused aid to track COVID in schools and she cut Iowa working families off from federal food and unemployment assistance during a global pandemic. 

Key Research Takeaways

Corporate Sellout Message Testing  

Across gender, age, race and education Iowans respond most strongly to messages about Reynolds actions as a Corporate Sellout who puts big corporations ahead of working families. When reminded that Governor Reynolds has a pattern of putting big corporations over the needs of Iowa families, a significant portion of Iowans said they would vote for someone else.  

Iowa Priorities Message Testing 

Issue testing to see what drives Iowans to the polls and moves their opinion of Reynolds shows that Iowans want access to healthcare and leaders who will deliver on it. When given the access to care message, Reynolds candidacy on the ballot took an 11-point hit and her job approval went down 13 points. 

Workforce Crisis Message Testing 

Recent research dug into Reynolds’ agenda and plan to burden Iowa families with a flat tax, while giving corporations hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts. This research showed that messaging on Reynolds’ Workforce Crisis works most effectively across demographics to reduce Reynolds’ job approval and attractiveness as ballot choice. This message also leads more voters to believe that Reynolds’ tax plan will hurt working families and drain community resources

Key Message Guidance  

  • Start with a shared values statement. 
  • Name the problem and define the opposition to our shared value. Don’t repeat the opposition, even to negate. Speak proactively to reframe the issue. 
  • Frame the opposition as a “hurdle” we can overcome, rather than a “barrier” that stops us. 
  • Make voters the protagonists and focus on values. 
  • Provide tangible outcomes. 
  • End with a call to action.

Setting the Record Straight

Corporate Kim Reynolds continues to gaslight Iowans into believing she’s with us. Sadly, she’s more than ready to throw the book at teachers while handing hundreds of millions of dollars to wealthy corporations. She can try to run for governor again, but she can’t run from her terrible record that puts wealthy corporations over kids, teachers and working families. In anticipation of her announcement, we’ve used our tested messages to help Iowans respond and hold her to her record. 

Reynolds brags about Iowa’s unemployment rate, but ignores the workforce crisis she has created. The truth: 

Iowans are hard workers who take pride in their jobs. But fewer Iowans are working today than when Corporate Kim Reynolds first took office. Instead of helping workers, she’s taking away our hard earned benefits. Not only did she call workers lazy in her Condition of the State address, she cut off federal aid for the unemployed during a pandemic and is now trying to cut unemployment assistance nearly in half to force Iowans into jobs that don’t pay enough. These are critical funds that kept Iowa families afloat during a global pandemic. Iowans need a governor who values hard work and will make sure employers pay what they owe. 

Reynolds attempts to distract us with divisive social issues and by attacking the so-called “far left.” The truth: 

Iowans understand that no matter what we look like or our zip code, we are part of a community and stronger when we come together for our families and neighbors. Unfortunately, Corporate Kim Reynolds uses divisive issues to pull us apart to distract us from the fact that she’s a corporate sellout who keeps prioritizing her wealthy donors over us. Iowans want our leaders to come together and improve our lives. It’s thanks to President Biden and Rep. Axne that Iowa will be able to fix our failing roads and bridges, expand broadband and provide clean drinking water. Governor Reynolds just doesn’t get it. Iowans want a problem solver, not a corporate sellout who only wants to tear us apart. 

Reynolds has grand delusions about her education policies and thinks we won’t notice when she throws kids and teachers under the bus. The truth: 

Iowans know that our kids need strong education to succeed in the future. But Reynolds is hurting public schools and wants to send more of our tax dollars to private schools, excluding certain children from opportunities by denying their public schools the resources they need. Democrats want to invest $300 million in Iowa schools, but Corporate Kim Reynolds wants to give it to her wealthy donors and divert public education funds to private schools. We need a leader who will choose kids over corporations and support public schools so that every kid gets the education they deserve. 

Sample Messaging 

Reynolds’ Workforce Crisis

Iowans are hardworking people who take pride in their jobs. But fewer Iowans are working today than when Governor Reynolds took office. There aren’t enough workers to keep schools, hospitals, and small businesses open.Shared Value
Now, Reynolds is doubling down on the policies that created her workforce crisis. The ones that give the wealthy and big businesses tax breaks, while taking money away from our public schools, public safety, and health care services.Define the opposition & Tie to current threats
This isn’t the right direction for Iowa or the nation. We need to focus on Biden’s plan to invest in infrastructure and put people back to work. We want our hometowns to be attractive places to live, work, and raise a family.Call to action

Access to Healthcare 

Access to healthcare has never been more important. Iowans work hard to make sure their families are taken care of. Leaders should look out for us and ensure access to care. Shared Value
But Governor Reynolds stands in the way of lower costs and our decisions. She has outsourced healthcare to private companies who get to decide whether we live or die based on profit. And she has prevented Iowans from accessing critical health care like family planning services and abortion.Define the opposition
As working families face rising prices, leaders in both parties need to look out for us. We need a health system that puts people over corporations and lowers the cost to each of us. Call to action

Working Families

Iowans value hard work and know good paying jobs help Iowa grow. Shared value 
But Governor Reynolds has failed us and fewer Iowans are working now than when she was first elected. By blocking wage increases and siding with corporations that don’t pay enough, Reynolds is hurting our families and forcing people to leave rural Iowa. Even as workers struggle, she blames us for shortages instead of the corporations who don’t pay enough. Define the opposition
Investing in working families will kickstart our economy. By increasing wages and making companies pay what they owe, Iowans will finally have a chance to get ahead.Call to action 

Education Resources

Iowans believe every child deserves an accurate, honest and quality education, no matter the color of their skin or where they call home.Shared value 
But Governor Reynolds is putting our kids at risk. She has censored teachers, driven them out of the profession and wants to send more of our tax dollars to private schools, excluding certain children from opportunities by denying their public schools the resources they need. Define the opposition
By speaking up and calling on our elected officials to fully fund public schools, we can support our teachers and provide every child a quality education to ensure they succeed.Call to action 

Let’s Build On Progress

With your help we can focus on progressive research, education, and advocacy, to empower our membership of 100,000.

Subscribe to our newsletter to see the latest news and messaging guidance.