Mark Costello, State Senator of Imogene, IA

Mark Costello, State Senator of Imogene, IA

(Des Moines) -- Highlights and surprises dominated Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds' Condition of the State speech Tuesday evening.

State Senator Mark Costello is among the local lawmakers reacting to the governor's speech. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Wednesday morning, Costello says the governor's call for expanded high-speed broadband services in the state's rural areas was among the highlights. And, the Imogene Republican says he's surprised at how much the governor is willing to commit toward improved services.

"You know, in Iowa, we have broadband fairly widespread," said Costello, "but the speeds are low compared to other places. So, she wants to make a commitment, and spend over the next four-five years $450 million to really get broadband established for almost everybody."

Costello also cited Reynolds' education proposals, such as requiring school districts to offer a 100% in-person learning option for students, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the state. He says it falls under the heading "student choice."

"She wants it so the child and the parents can either have their child stay home and learn remotely," he said, "or go back to school full time. Not the same thing works for every family or every student. If they want to go back to school, she wants to make it an option."

Reynolds also proposes making open enrollment an option for all families in the state and for the creation of education savings accounts for students in struggling districts. Costello says open enrollment is already available in most southwest Iowa districts.

"There's a handful of schools that do not allow it, and have been exempted from that rule," said Costello. "We seem to think that's what she's targeting. I'm not 100% sure that's what she's talking about, but that's the way that I took it. We know that there are a handful of schools that currently don't allow open enrollment. About all the schools in our area do."

You can hear the full interview with Mark Costello on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.

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