Iowa’s new legislator wants to utilize training as a doctor to make better decisions

Rep. Austin Baeth from Des Moines has been elected as a member of the Iowa House. A doctor by training, he will bring his extensive experience and knowledge about what Iowans want to the house. He has met and worked with a large number of Iowans during his time as an internal medicine doctor in Des Moines. Owing to this experience, he is acutely aware of the needs of Iowans. He plans to leverage this information in making decisions that truly benefit his constituents. 

“In general, I hope to put a lot of human stories that I see in my patients behind a lot of these issues so that legislators can see the real-life impacts some of these decisions make,” Baeth told Iowa Starting Line, a Courier Newsroom publication. “This isn’t just numbers and budgets. These are real people’s lives who really depend on the help of the state.”

Baeth serves on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Medical Society, and he has utilized this position to advocate for policies that improve access to quality healthcare for Iowans.

Baeth’s work is a big reason why he found himself compelled to run for office. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, pushed him because of how healthcare became a polarizing and heavily politicized issue. Before running for office, a lot of his efforts were directed towards advocating for the use of masks, and he quoted multiple studies which proved that the mask was instrumental in preventing the spread of the virus, reported Iowa Starting Line, a Courier Newsroom publication. 

Building on his scientific background, during his time in office, Baeth will push towards evidence-based guidance, whenever any sort of new policy is made. He plans to spend the rest of his time in office continuing to advocate for the interests of the everyday Iowan, over those of well-funded lobbyists. 

“I think from the outset, what’s really important for me is to highlight when the state government is working on behalf of the everyday Iowans and when they are not,” he told the Courier Newsroom publication. 

Other policy areas that he intends to focus on include women’s reproductive health, including abortion rights, Iowa’s water supply, access to quality education in public schools, opposing the school vouchers being proposed by Republicans, and making Iowa attractive to people from outside the state. 

Baeth is aware that he is part of the minority in Iowa’s legislature. However, he will not let this hold him back, as he will continue to advocate for policies he believes in, all the while keeping his constituents aware of new movements. 

“While I may not be able to single-handedly push through legislation, when I’m seeing the interests of everyday Iowans being thwarted by moneyed special interests, I’m going to call it out,” he said.

He intends to spend the first year in the office building strong relationships and finding common ground with his peers. He understands that there might be disagreement on most issues, however, he is hopeful that he will be able to leverage his skills to build meaningful relationships with those on the other side of the aisle. He feels that all you need is a little bit of agreement, which can provide a foundation to build trust between people. 

Baeth is the representative for Iowa Rep. from District 36. He has been assigned to the committees on environmental protection, health and human services, and state government. Aged 38, he is a resident of Des Moines. He did his undergrad at the University of Iowa, and his residency at the University of Colorado. Baeth is married with two children. His hobbies include fly fishing, camping, and hiking.