With almost one-third of the 2018 legislative session behind us, I hope that we start spending more time helping Iowans get ahead.

Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.8 percent, but that doesn’t mean everybody has the job they want or the income they need to make ends meet. We must ensure every Iowa community has the tools to thrive — especially our small towns and rural areas.

I am eager to get to work on proposals that Put Iowans First. It’s time to get back to the basics — to help improve Iowans’ everyday lives and provide more opportunities. That means focusing on our shared values, including better-paying jobs, great education and affordable health care.

That’s why I’ve been working really hard with local communities on the Keep Iowa Beautiful Hometown Pride program. This initiative allows communities to develop projects and offers leadership training and expertise. I am excited about the many projects that each community will be developing. This partnership with Hometown Pride will make a positive impact on the economic development taking place in Clinton County.

In addition, I am honored to co-chair the Senate the Iowa Sportsmen’s Caucus, a group that conducts outreach about Iowa’s natural resources and wildlife conservation. The Caucus is an effort to organize and enhance communication amongst pro-sportsmen state legislators. Our task is to advance policies that will benefit hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and trappers.

Through the American System of Conservation Funding (revenue from sporting licenses and other funds), sportsmen and sportswomen across the country contribute billions of dollars to conservation. In Iowa, 87,442 children attended state outreach programs, and many of them participated in local and school fishing programs. In addition, the State has built more than 100 boat ramps that are open to the public.

Rita Hart represents Clinton County and northern Scott County in the Iowa Senate.