Dem candidate says defining a woman is 'tough,' defends policy hiding students' gender identity from parents

Liz Mathis is seeking to defeat incumbent GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson on Nov. 8

Liz Mathis, a Democrat who is seeking to represent the Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, said this week that defining a woman is a "tough question" and suggested that the only way to change controversial policies in a particular school district in the state is to vote for different board members.

The remarks from Mathis came Monday during a meet and greet at the Waterloo, Iowa, Rotary Club, where she took questions from those in attendance on a number of subjects, including gender and education.

Asked about the instance when then Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson was asked to define a woman and could not because she is "not a biologist," Mathis said: "The Supreme Court confirmation process is very thorough, so they had to ask questions like that to a Supreme Court justice."

"I'm glad that she answered that question," she added. "That's a tough question."

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Congressional candidate Liz Mathis, who currently serves as a state senator in Iowa, said this week that defining a woman is a "tough question" and suggested that the only way to change controversial policies in a particular school district in the state is to vote for different board members.

Congressional candidate Liz Mathis, who currently serves as a state senator in Iowa, said this week that defining a woman is a "tough question" and suggested that the only way to change controversial policies in a particular school district in the state is to vote for different board members. (Liz Mathis campaign)

Mathis also provided her thoughts on the current education system in America and insisted that policies at the Linn-Mar Community School District in Iowa — which allow the school to assist students as young as seventh grade with a "gender support plan" and aid with the student’s gender transition — can only be changed by electing new board members to represent parental voices in the district.

"Parents can always go to teachers and ask questions. They can always go to the principal and the superintendent of schools to ask questions," Mathis claimed, proceeding to defend the current policies in the district. "We know the policy of Linn-Mar schools… that the school board passed is aligned with the code in Iowa law. It's about reducing discrimination, or eliminating discrimination and harassment for children."

Refusing to denounce the school district's policies, Mathis, who currently serves as a state senator in Iowa, told the crowd, "You have an opportunity in all of your schools to vote for a school board member and that's what we should be concentrating on… voting the people in that you feel will do the best for our children."

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"We've lost sight of children being at the center of all of this," she added. "They need to be learning."

"We've lost sight of children being at the center of all of this," congressional candidate Liz Mathis said of school policies.

"We've lost sight of children being at the center of all of this," congressional candidate Liz Mathis said of school policies. (iStock)

The Linn-Mar Community School District's policy related to gender has drawn scrutiny from several parents whose children attend school in the area.

As previously reported, parents in the Linn-Mar Community School District do not have to be informed of the existence of the "gender support plan," and in some cases, it may be hidden from them. Through the plan, the school can direct all staff and students to address the student by a new name and pronoun and allow the student to participate in physical education classes, sports and other activities that correspond with the student’s preferred gender.

The school district, which includes a northern portion of Marion, Iowa, an area in Cedar Rapids, was faced with a lawsuit from the parents' rights organization Parents Defending Education in August.

The policy also states that the "district shall not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others including but not limited to other students, parents, and school staff," and directs school staff to check with students about which pronoun the staff should use when communicating with a student’s parents.

Liz Mathis, right, announced in July 2021 that she was challenging freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, for her congressional seat.

Liz Mathis, right, announced in July 2021 that she was challenging freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, for her congressional seat. (Getty Images/Official State Photo)

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In addition, the policy notes that written records pertaining to a student’s gender identity or gender transition will be kept in a "temporary file," accessible only to those given access by the student. Under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents are entitled to receive their children’s permanent files.

Mathis will face off in the state's Nov. 8 election against incumbent GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson.

Fox News' Kelsey Koberg contributed to this report.