I plan to help all Iowa workers get paid fairly for a job well-done.

Many Iowans are unable to meet basic needs despite full-time employment. Some are rightly worried about post-pandemic inflation and wages that don't keep pace, but in truth, American workers have been getting the short end of the stick since the '70s.

Productivity soared, but CEOs reaped the rewards, now making almost 300 times what the typical worker earns. Middle- and low-wage workers see the worst of it, and slashed benefits make it increasingly difficult for Iowans to make ends meet.

We didn't get here by coincidence. As the Economic Policy Institute puts it, "wages were suppressed by policy choices made on behalf of those with the most income, wealth and power." Many wealthy corporations exploit their workers, keep wages down and refuse to pay their fair share of taxes.

As your candidate for District 47, I can say that big businesses and the 1% will not be guiding my decisions. Together, we can demand that corporations pay people for the true value of their work so everyone can provide for their families and give their children bright futures. I will work hard day-in and day-out to support fair, competitive wages and benefits for the hard-working Iowans that make our community great.

The Case for Higher Wages

Many people worry that higher wages will lead organizations, especially small businesses, to fire employees or even close their doors. Luckily, a large and growing body of research tells us that higher wages:

  • At modest increases, do not affect employment.

  • Deliver business benefits, like reduced turnover, improved morale and increased productivity.

  • Improve infant health and reduce instances of child abuse and teenage pregnancy.

  • Close racial pay gaps.

  • Would benefit all underpaid workers — not just teenagers, who only make up about 10% of those who would benefit from a higher minimum wage.

  • Could significantly reduce spending on public assistance programs.

  • Could lower incidences of smoking, obesity and suicide.

The advantages of fair wages are too great to ignore. We need to fight for the security and stability that Iowans deserve.

young woman at an engineering job
two office workers collaborating on a tablet
waiter cleaning a table while wearing a mask

See what Dr. Figaro has to say about competitive pay in her Letters to the Editor, published in news outlets in Iowa Senate District 47.

How Wages Work With Health

Published on July 13, 2022, in the North Scott Press

I was in real trouble, and about to lose my life as I knew it, as a child. My mother, when I was just 10 or 11 years old, underwent a series of operations. The reason I’m an only child is that my mom’s womb would not bear further children. It had become more troublesome and she needed to have surgery: a hysterectomy. I can recall the sadness and the angst we felt as a family. She was not only one of two breadwinners, she was the rock of our family. She made sure we had what we needed. Had she not had insurance, or if her work did not allow her time off to get surgery, or if the surgery had gone wrong, the rest of my life would be quite different. Likewise, when pregnant, I had four months of bed rest and had to return to work three weeks after a C-section, in order to reestablish my clinical and research duties. During the endocrine fellowship, I had a cerclage while pregnant, continued working, and had three weeks after C-section before I returned to work. Other families face similar situations. They have real health limitations, and they have unforeseen medical bills, and if they have no insurance, or if their employers are inflexible, they can sometimes fall off the ladder of security and end up in poverty. I will work tirelessly for those families, to help support them as they seek a future for their kids.

Diabetes Drugs Need to be Affordable to Save Our Neighbors' Lives

Published on March 30, 2022, in the North Scott Press

Friends and neighbors with diabetes need our help. Currently, state law doesn’t limit what insurance companies doing business in Iowa can charge for insulin to treat diabetes. Since 2005, several classes of drugs have been approved by the FDA. They help control blood sugars, lower heart failure, and related deaths, and reduce severe renal disease and dialysis. Unfortunately, there is a sizable gap between these blockbuster drugs and lackluster patient outcomes. The gap between good drugs and bad patient outcomes results from insurers’ tight grip on their drug formularies. Insulin-dependent people often have to navigate frustrating formularies, buy insulin over the counter, or pay hundreds of dollars per week because insurance will not provide affordable life-sustaining medications. One patient was sold an insurance product that did not contain options for any modern insulin he used. Another was summarily fired from a job at which he was doing wonders when the first big insulin bill appeared on the small company’s insurance balance sheet. My sympathy for small businesses is great. My sympathy for diabetic patients is greater. Patients shouldn’t have to work around insurance to afford meds their lives depend on. This problem now affects many middle-class people and families. Overall, this is more of our neighbors, who can’t sustain the incredible burdens of expensive diabetes medications. These meds can only improve the quality of life if they are affordable for the people who need them. Dr. Mary Kathleen Figaro (Dr. Figaro is a Democratic candidate for the Iowa State Senate, District 47.)