Competitive race coming in Iowa Senate district 9

First-term Democratic State Senator Bill Heckroth of Waverly announced yesterday that he will seek re-election in Iowa Senate district 9, which includes Butler and Bremer counties, along with parts of Black Hawk and Fayette counties. After the jump I’ve posted Heckroth’s press release, containing background on his career and his achievements in the legislature.

Senate district 9 is one of the Iowa GOP’s better pickup opportunities next year. Traditionally, Republicans have had a voter registration edge in this district, although I don’t know the current numbers. Republican Bob Brunkhorst represented Senate district 9 before retiring in 2006. Heckroth won the open-seat contest against Tom Hoogestraa by a reasonably comfortable margin of 1,346 votes, or 52.4 percent to 46.5 percent (pdf file). Then again, 2006 was a Democratic wave election.

Heckroth’s opponent next year will be Bill Dix, who announced his candidacy yesterday. Dix spent ten years in the Iowa House representing district 17, which makes up half of Senate district 9 and includes all of Butler plus part of Bremer county. Click here for state legislative district maps.

Dix rose to the level of Iowa House Appropriations Committee chairman. When Jim Nussle ran for governor in 2006, Dix sought the Republican nomination in the first Congressional district. He came up short against Mike Whalen in the GOP primary, but did well in the counties that are in Senate district 9 (pdf file), especially Butler County. Dix has been working at his family farm since 2006, but he told Charlotte Eby that the state’s budget problems “caused me to say we need to fix the mess, and I’m excited about coming and bringing what I can to put Iowa back on the right track.”

Ed Failor of Iowans for Tax Relief attended Dix’s press conference yesterday, which suggests that this statehouse campaign will be a fundraising priority for Republicans and their interest-group allies.

For those in northeast Iowa who want to get involved with Heckroth’s re-election campaign, he has listed contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses in the press release after the jump. That release also has details on Heckroth’s upcoming campaign kick-off events in Oelwein on November 8, in Waverly on November 9, and in Allison on November 12.  

For Immediate Release

Heckroth to seek re-election to Iowa State Senate

Bill Heckroth of Waverly, a small business owner and community volunteer, announced today that he is seeking re-election in 2010 to the Iowa State Senate in District 9.

Senator Heckroth represents Senate District 9, which covers all of Butler and Bremer counties, the western part of Fayette County, and a portion of northern Black Hawk County.

“I have been an energetic, honest voice in the Iowa Senate since being elected in 2006,” Heckroth said. “I love helping people as their State Senator and making a difference for the families in Fayette, Butler, Bremer and Black Hawk counties.   It is truly an honor to serve them!”

Heckroth has owned and operated Financial Architects, a company that provides financial management products and services to Northeast Iowa residents, since 2003 and has been in the financial services business in Waverly for over 20 years.  

Heckroth said he believes he has made a difference in the Iowa Senate because of his strong work ethic and sense of fairness, his willingness to listen to all sides of an issue, and his commitment to put partisan politics aside and do what he believes is right for his constituents and all of Iowa.

Heckroth pointed specifically to several accomplishments by the Legislature while he has been in office, including:

·         Balancing the state’s budget without raising taxes

·         Leading the state’s efforts to ensure our communities and families recover from historic natural disasters. This includes several new initiatives to help communities prevent future flood damage

·         Increasing the state’s minimum wage for thousands of working Iowans

·         Increasing basic funding for local public schools and teachers

·         Expanding early childhood educational opportunities

·         Making tuition more affordable at our community colleges and universities

·         Strengthening and fully funding Iowa’s sex offender laws

·         Providing incentives to boost production of renewable energy and to make Iowa less dependent on foreign oil

·         Making health care affordable and accessible for more Iowa families

Heckroth also pointed to the recovery relief for the disasters in 2008 as a sign of his efforts to live up to his 2006 campaign pledge to put “people and progress before politics.”  While he understands that the recovery efforts are far from complete, he is committed to continue to work hard to the communities and his friends and neighbors of Senate District 9 in their recovery efforts.

“The hard work isn’t over but we have come a long way in recovering from the natural disasters that hit our district and most of Iowa in 2008.  I will continue to reach out to Republican and Democratic legislators, alike, to find solutions that truly put people and progress before politics.  I will continue to work hard to ensure our district has what we need to return our towns to the vibrant communities we are proud of and help Iowan’s get back on their feet.”

“I believe more than ever that solving problems means listening and reaching out to everyone involved,” Heckroth said.  “That’s what I’ve done as a small business owner and community volunteer, and that’s the positive approach I have used in the Iowa Senate.  I believe that is why I have been an effective legislator these past three years.”

Heckroth was raised in Dysart, a farming community in Tama County. He has been active in various community activities, including the high school booster club, the United Way, the Waverly Parks and Recreation board, the St. Mary Catholic Church Parish Council, and the  Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community’s Board and Foundation.  He has also served as a volunteer baseball coach for the Waverly Little League and Senior League youth baseball programs and for Wartburg College and Waverly-Shell Rock High School.

Heckroth is married to Jan Heckroth, a chaplain on the Spiritual Care Team at Allen Hospital in Waterloo.  They have three sons: Thomas, who is with the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.; Andrew, a recent graduate of the University of Iowa; and Patrick, a junior at the University of Northern Iowa.

Heckroth is a 1972 graduate of the University of Iowa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Financial Management and pitched on the 1972 Big-10 Championship Iowa Hawkeyes baseball team.

Heckroth pledged to continue traveling throughout the district to listen and to reach out to his constituents, including workers, small business owners, seniors, and educators.  Heckroth said he is looking forward to talking personally with as many voters as possible.

“One of the real joys of being your State Senator is the opportunity to visit with fellow Iowans…to listen to their concerns and hear their creative ideas for moving Iowa forward.”  said Heckroth.  “The best way for me to be an effective voice for the citizens of my widespread and diverse district is for me to know what’s important to each of you. People are welcome to call me on my cell phone at (319) 231-9606, or at home, (319) 352-5149.  You can also email me at wheckroth@aol.com or at bill.heckroth@legis.state.ia.us. ”

Heckroth will officially kick-off his re-election campaign with the following Kick-Off events: Fayette County Kick-Off, Sunday, November 8th from 4-6pm at Leo’s Restaurant and Generation Lounge (29 South Frederick) in Oelwein.  Bremer & Black Hawk Counties Kick-Off, Monday, November 9th from 6:30-8:30pm at Tendrils in the Waverly Hospital Pavilion (312 9th Street SW) in Waverly.  Butler County Kick-Off, Thursday, November 12th from 6:30-8:30pm at Gronigan’s On Main (405 Mail Street) in Allison.  These events are open to the public.

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