We have a candidate in Iowa House district 8

Susan Bangert filed nominating papers yesterday to be the Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 8, where Dolores Mertz recently announced her retirement. House district 8 covers all of Humboldt and Pocahontas counties, plus southern Kossuth County (including Algona) and a small portion of Webster County (map here).

Bangert grew up in north-central Iowa (Forest City) and was educated in state. She works for the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency as a speech pathologist in Algona, the largest town in this House district. Think how many families in the area she must have helped throughout her career.

Bangert was on the Kossuth County leadership team for Barack Obama’s campaign before the Iowa caucuses, so I assume she has a good grasp of how to identify and mobilize voters. All in all, she sounds like a great candidate. It probably doesn’t hurt that her husband is the Algona chief of police. UPDATE: Bleeding Heartland user natewithglasses adds that Bangert has been active in one of the largest churches in Algona, a Missouri Synod Lutheran congregation. That may bring in some cross-over votes.

House district 8 should be one of the Republicans’ top pickup opportunities this year, but as I discussed last week, I think the bitter GOP primary fight could hurt the party’s chances in the general. Speaking of which, Republican candidates Tom Shaw and Steven Richards are holding a debate on Thursday, April 8, at 7 pm in the Humboldt County Courthouse (203 Main St. in Dakota City). If any Bleeding Heartland reader is able to attend that debate, please post a diary about it afterward.

UPDATE: A third Republican candidate filed in this district on March 19: Alissa Wagner of Rutland. I don’t know anything about her and have no idea whether a three-way primary helps Shaw or Richards.

LATE UPDATE: I posted Bangert’s March 22 press release after the jump.

Educator, Community Leader Announces Bid

for State Representative in District 8

Algona, Iowa – Educator and community activist Susan Bangert of Algona announced today that she will seek election to House District 8, which covers Kossuth, Humboldt, Pocahontas, and part of Webster Counties.

“In these tough economic times, I understand how critical it is for us to help middle class families and small businesses in our communities.  We need to create good-paying jobs and keep focused on Iowa’s renewable energy economy to strengthen Iowa’s agricultural economy,” said Bangert.  “As a former small business owner myself, I understand both the challenges and rewards of operating a successful business.”

Bangert has owned and operated Great Minds Learning Center in Algona. She is currently a speech pathologist at Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency and helps students in school districts across Kossuth County.  She has also worked with patients at Kossuth Regional Medical Center helping stroke patients regain their speech.

“Like many in our community, my story is truly an American dream.  The daughter of a World War II veteran with eight brothers and sisters, I am a proud product of Iowa’s strong education system,” said Bangert. “After helping students succeed in the classroom for over 30 years, I know that Iowans of all political stripes care deeply about the education of kids and grandkids.”

Bangert has lived in Algona for over 30 years with her husband, Kevin, who is the police chief in Algona.  She is a member of the Morwens Kiwanis Club, co-president of the American Association of University Women, and attends Trinity Lutheran Church, where she has taught Sunday school.  She is also member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and the Iowa State Education Association.  

“I’m running for State Representative to bring people together and keep our state a wonderful place to live and work.  Iowans expect us to put politics aside, listen, and do what’s best for our state.  We must balance the budget without raising taxes and help revitalize rural Iowa with good-paying jobs,” concluded Bangert.  “I can promise the people of District 8 that I will always listen to their concerns and work hard to earn their trust and respect.”

Bangert was born and raised in Forest City, graduated from the University of Iowa, and received her master’s degree in speech pathology from Truman State University. She and her husband have three children and one granddaughter.

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  • i know her!

    no way!! she was my 6th grade confirmation class teacher.  she was heavily involved at the largest church in Algona which is Missouri Synod Lutheran so she will get a few Republican votes for sure.  great person to have!

    • a solid recruit

      Iowa Democrats have done an excellent job finding candidates this year. That will probably end up saving a handful of seats for us.

      • Who found this candidate?

        I wonder if “Democrats” really “found” Susan Bangert. When Delores Mertz announced her retirement, the county chairs in the district had no idea who would run, if anyone.  But four days later, Bangert’s petition was going around.  Maybe she found herself?

        • point taken

          I assume that someone encouraged her to run, but she may have joined the campaign on her own initiative.

          • Retraction

            Oops.  You were right, I think.  Murphy came looking.

            • Re-retraction

              Having met Bangert, I now know Murphy’s man was merely present at the creation of this campaign by Susan Bangert.  And I want to add that she’s a good candidate already—maybe a natural.  She just realized the time was right, so she moved quickly.  Watch this race!

  • Update!

    Susan was out door knocking in the rain this weekend meeting voters in Pocahontas proper and in the county. Susan had a campaign manager with her and promotional materials. She said things were going really well & was actively trying to raise the necessary funds. She said the next deadline was approaching fast and made “the ask.” I’m impressed with her! This is an excellent opportunity for Democrats to stop the tea party movement in its tracks. It would also be a welcomed improvement from conserv-o-crat D. Mertz.

    You may contribute and learn more about Susan here: http://tinyurl.com/23bdsov

    The GOP primary will be interesting to watch here. The BVP/TeaParty backed candidate, Tom Shaw, has strong support in his home county (Pocahontas) but it remains unclear if he can muster enough votes to overtake Doctor Richards who lives in the largest town and is supporting Terry B. – Tom Shaw has several yard signs throughout Pocahontas. I’ve only seen one loan Richards sign. CW is that Richards will win, I’m less sure and expect an “upset.”

    Susan is also from Algona & in my opinion stands the best chance against the TeaParty extremist, both in the numbers game and in the best policies for the area.

    I agree its a interesting race to watch for NW Iowa.

    • is it true

      that the third Republican candidate, Alissa Wagner, isn’t running much of an active campaign? I heard she didn’t show up for their GOP candidate forum in Humboldt last month.

    • I know nothing about the local dynamics

      but in most Republican primaries my money is on the more conservative candidate to win. I would be more surprised if Richards wins. Do you think Shaw would run as an independent in that case?