State Legislators of the Month – January 2023
We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of lawmakers working with ALEC to improve policies at the state level. Among these public servants, three legislators stand out for their exceptional engagement with ALEC and their efforts to make Iowa a better place for all.
We want to take this opportunity to recognize and honor Iowa Senate President Amy Sinclair, Iowa House Majority Whip Henry Stone, and Iowa Speaker Pro Tempore John Wills as our State Legislators of the Month for January.
The State Legislator of the Month award highlights substantive state policy successes and acknowledges those who care about the principles at ALEC’s core – limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.
Together, these Iowa lawmakers created more opportunities for families in Iowa through their efforts to champion universal ESAs. The Students First Act, based on ALEC model policy, creates a universal education savings account (ESA) program that all students in the state can access and allows all state education dollars to follow the student to the best school for them. It was sponsored by Speaker Pro Tempore John Wills and led through the opposite chamber by Senator Amy Sinclair.
Sinclair has served in the Iowa Senate for 11 years, which has been marked by transformational work in education policy.
Sinclair began her career at the age of 13 in a local restaurant, learning the value of hard work, determination, and the value of communication. She later worked for the “Daily Iowegian & Ad Express” newspaper, was a teacher, helped prepare students for their GED testing, served as a federal grants coordinator, and was an after-school program director. She also held numerous leadership positions in Wayne County and the local communities including two terms on the Way County Board of Supervisors, chaired the Iowa County Engineers’ Service Bureau board of directors and the Wayne County R.E.A.P. Commission. Sinclair chaired the Allerton Public Library Board from 2000-2004 and served on the board of directors for the South Central Iowa Community Action Program.
While Stone assumed office in 2021 and is a new member of ALEC, he has already distinguished himself as a lawmaker to watch. Stone was elected as the 2023 Majority Whip after only his first term and is the first Asian-American to serve in leadership in the entire Iowa legislature.
During our recent States and Nation Policy Summit, Stone delivered an address to the International Relations and Federalism Task Force on the national security implications of ESG. He also participated in the ALEC inaugural working group meeting to discuss China’s acquisition of U.S. agricultural land. As an Iowan, a state that prohibits foreign ownership of agricultural land, he offered a unique and compelling perspective on this topic.
Stone, born in South Korea and raised in a military family, graduated from high school, then joined the U.S. Air Force where he served for 22 years and retired as a master sergeant. He graduated from serval Air Force academies, served numerous tours overseas, and was awarded two Meritorious Service Medals, three Commendation Medals, and one Achievement Medal. He also received an A.A. in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force, a B.S. in business management from the University of Phoenix, and an M.A. in education and administration from Trident University.
His prior career experience included working as an RV sales consultant and coaching high school and college football for a long time. He has always been passionate about providing quality education and encouraging children and young adults to continue to higher education. Stone and his wife currently serve as foster parents. Stone is a member of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council.
Wills is Northwest Iowa born and raised, and his track record as a conservative leader in the Iowa House reflects his roots. After growing up in Sibley and graduating from Sibley Community High School, he traveled a bit outside of House District One to attend Northwestern College. While there, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. He continued his education at American Military University and earned two master’s degrees in Political Science with an emphasis in National Defense and Environmental Policy and Management.
Wills retired from the military as a First Sergeant after 25 years of service. He spent several tours of duty deployed in Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Germany as an infantryman and calvary scout.
Wills’ life has been dedicated to service, and now he is working on behalf of Iowans. He has been representing District One in the “People’s House” since 2015. In 2020, he was elected to serve as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Iowa House. He also served as a House Assistant Leader from 2015-2018 and as the Majority Whip in 2019. Outside of his leadership roles, he also sits on Administration and Rules, Agriculture, Appropriations, Economic Growth, Education, and Veterans Affairs committees as well as on the Board of Directors of ALEC.
Whether it’s mentoring children and prioritizing their education or fighting for better funding for schools, supporting small businesses, or working to protect the environment with renewable resources, or being a leader for family values, Sinclair, Stone, and Wills have always put the needs of their community first.
In short, Amy Sinclair, Henry Stone and John Wills are true and humble public servants who are deeply committed to making Iowa a better place for all. We are fortunate to work with such dedicated and engaged state legislators, and we look forward to seeing all the great things that they will accomplish in the future.
Congratulations, Senate President Amy Sinclair, House Majority Whip Henry Stone, and Representative John Wills, on being the State Legislators of the Month for January!