IA-04: Leann Jacobsen joins race to defeat Steve King

Vowing to “put people over politics” and work for policies to help northwest Iowa families, business owner and Spencer City Council member Leann Jacobsen became the second Democratic candidate in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district today.

Leann said her priorities if elected would be to create jobs and improve rural communities in the state so young people are more inclined to stay. Building on her record of creating economic opportunity and improving the quality of life in Spencer, Leann pledged to put people first by focusing on job growth, improving education, fighting for healthcare, saving natural resources, helping the middle class, and supporting small businesses.

Leann was integral in starting the Riverfront Farmers Market and StartupCity Spencer, a business incubator that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. After nearly 20 years with AT&T, Leann launched Capitol Gains, an advocacy firm focused on business, economic development, arts and culture, and child welfare. She then went on to serve as the President of the Technology Association Iowa, which helps grow and develop small businesses and advance Iowa’s reputation as a technology state. She currently serves on the advisory board of Spencer Municipal Hospital.

I enclose below Jacobsen’s news release and introductory campaign video, with transcript. She and J.D. Scholten, the other Democrat running against eight-term U.S. Representative Steve King, will speak briefly at the Iowa Wing Ding in Clear Lake on August 11. Sponsored by more than two dozen Democratic county committees, the Wing Ding typically draws hundreds of activists from across the fourth district.

Jacobsen has a campaign website and Facebook page and is on Twitter @LeannforIowa.

The Democratic field may not be set in IA-04; former candidate Kim Weaver told me last month she had spoken with a third person considering the race.

In her video, Jacobsen acknowledged, “I know that taking on a powerful politician won’t be easy. I know that Steve King and the special interests that support him will come after me. But I learned a long time ago that if something’s important, to do it whether it’s easy or not.”

Running against King is indeed a difficult task for any Democrat–or Republican, as State Senator Rick Bertrand learned last year. The 39 counties in IA-04 span a large geographical area and five media markets.

The district contains 118,772 active registered Democrats, 191,227 Republicans, and 172,771 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Donald Trump received 60.9 percent of the vote in IA-04, Hillary Clinton just 33.5 percent. King received 61.2 percent of the vote against Weaver in the 2016 Congressional race.

Weaver has endorsed Scholten but plans to use the bulk of her unspent campaign funds (around $135,000) to defeat King. Federal law allows her to give only $2,000 from her campaign directly to any other federal candidate before the June 2018 primary and another $2,000 to the Democratic nominee after the primary.

Any comments about the IA-04 race are welcome in this thread.

August 10 press release:

Leann Jacobsen launches campaign for Congress in Iowa’s 4th congressional district

SPENCER, Iowa – Spencer Councilwoman Leann Jacobsen announced her campaign for Iowa’s 4th District House seat this morning, pledging to put people, not politics, first. Leann is running for the Democratic nomination to unseat Republican incumbent Steve King. A seasoned business leader and entrepreneur, Leann is currently the owner and operator of Spencer’s Bear Coffeehouse and Wine Bar with her husband David.

“In many rural Iowa communities, the qualities that have made living here so attractive are beginning to slip away. Our once-bustling main streets are quieter, and our young people are moving on, finding better opportunities in larger cities. I believe passionately that we can turn things around and that is why I am running for Congress,” Leann said.

“I know it can be done because I learned a long time ago that if something’s important, you do it whether it’s easy or not. I have sent my kids through college, worked my way up in business, and helped create community foundations across Iowa – none of those things were easy, but they were important. When we come together, and put people—and common sense—over politics, we will make great things happen throughout this region. And that’s what I’ll do for you in Congress.”

Leann said her priorities if elected would be to create jobs and improve rural communities in the state so young people are more inclined to stay. Building on her record of creating economic opportunity and improving the quality of life in Spencer, Leann pledged to put people first by focusing on job growth, improving education, fighting for healthcare, saving natural resources, helping the middle class, and supporting small businesses.

Leann was integral in starting the Riverfront Farmers Market and StartupCity Spencer, a business incubator that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. After nearly 20 years with AT&T, Leann launched Capitol Gains, an advocacy firm focused on business, economic development, arts and culture, and child welfare. She then went on to serve as the President of the Technology Association Iowa, which helps grow and develop small businesses and advance Iowa’s reputation as a technology state. She currently serves on the advisory board of Spencer Municipal Hospital.

Leann has two grown daughters, four stepchildren, and one granddaughter. She lives in Spencer with her husband David. The 4th Congressional District covers 39 counties in northwest Iowa.

To learn more about Leann and watch her announcement video visit www.leannjacobsen.com. Her official headshot can be found here.

Leann Jacobsen’s campaign launch video:

My transcript:

Leann Jacobsen’s voice: Northwest Iowa is such a special place. [images of the Spencer, Iowa water tower and hospital]

Our corner of the state has abundant natural resources, [footage of a cornfield]

people with strong work ethic, [footage of construction equipment]

and tight-knit communities where kids can be kids just a little bit longer. [footage of a child in a town square, an amusement park ride]

But great as it is, we know it has challenges. [footage of people and boats on a lakeshore]

The rural hospitals we count on for health care are stressed financially, [footage of a hospital corridor]

and too often, we miss out on chances for new jobs, because our elected leaders aren’t even fighting for common-sense tools we can use, [footage of a shuttered factory, other vacant buildings]

like broadband and job training. [footage of workers at a construction site]

None of those challenges are too big for us to tackle with the right ideas and the right leaders [footage of wind turbines in farm fields, photo of Jacobsen talking to someone in an unidentified town]

But sadly, Steve King has become just another politician. A politician who’s mostly interested in playing politics and getting headlines of himself. [photos of Steve King, clip from one of King’s appearances on CNN, which the network labeled IOWA CONGRESSMAN UNDER FIRE FOR CONTROVERSIAL TWEET]

Too often, he’s doing the bidding of special interests, [another photo of King]

instead of tackling the problems facing the families of Northwest Iowa. [footage of a small town main street]

I’m Leann Jacobsen and that’s why I’m running for Congress. It’s time we elected someone who will put people over politics. Someone who will take common sense to Congress. [Jacobsen walks down a sidewalk, speaking to camera]

The common sense gained from working through the ranks to become vice president of a major company. [photo of Jacobsen from earlier in her career]

Fighting for better technology and communities across Iowa. [images of Jacobsen speaking, meeting with people in an office]

The common sense that led the fight for bipartisan legislation to create community foundations in nearly all Iowa counties. [footage from small towns]

The common sense gained by working in my home town of Spencer [Jacobsen speaks to the camera]

to build a small business, a coffee shop, that serves as a community hub. [photo of the door into The Bear coffeehouse and wine bar]

I know that taking on a powerful politician won’t be easy. I know that Steve King and the special interests that support him will come after me. But I learned a long time ago that if something’s important, to do it whether it’s easy or not. [Jacobsen speaking on camera]

Sending my kids through college, working my way up in business [photos of Jacobsen with her daughter, then working in an office]

helping create community foundations across Iowa. [footage from a small town, a country barn]

None of those things were easy, but they were important. So I did my part and then worked with others to get the job done. [footage of Jacobsen outdoors with family, working in a vegetable garden]

But I can’t do this alone. [Jacobsen speaking to the camera in her coffee shop]

Together, we can help Northwest Iowa send someone to Congress who will put people over politics. [Jacobsen with others, shaking hands, giving a hug]

That’s why I’m asking you to join my campaign. Go to LeannJacobsen.com. [speaking to camera; then video ends with image of campaign logo]

You need to signin or signup to post a comment.