Joe Judge announces candidacy in Iowa House district 80

Joe Judge announced on May 1 that he will run as a Democrat in Iowa House district 80 next year. He has been a high school government and history teacher and coach in Albia (Monroe County) for the past seven years. He’s a member of the state’s largest teacher’s union and is chief negotiator on his school district’s Labor Management Committee. Judge’s parents are former Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of Agriculture and State Senator Patty Judge and former State Senator John Judge, both Democrats.

So far the only material on Judge’s campaign website is a link to his official announcement and bio. I’ve posted that after the jump, along with a district map.

The new district 80 includes all of Appanoose and Monroe counties, the eastern half of Mahaska County (but not the city of Oskaloosa), and most of western Wapello County (but not the city of Ottumwa). It is among the most evenly balanced new Iowa House seats, with 6,593 registered Democrats, 6,496 registered Republicans and 6,577 no-party voters as of April 2011.

No current state representative lives in the new district 80. Its territory was part of four House districts on the map used for the past decade. Democrat Kurt Swaim, who represented Appanoose County, has said he will not seek another term in 2012. Republican Rich Arnold has represented Monroe County and part of Mahaska, but the new map puts his Lucas County home in House district 28. Democrat Mary Gaskill has represented some of the Wapello County townships now placed in district 80, but she will stay in the new district 81, containing her Ottumwa base. Finally, Democrat Curt Hanson has represented the other parts of Wapello in district 80, but he plans to run in the new district 82, containing most of the population that elected him to the Iowa House in 2009 and 2010.

I doubt Judge will face significant opposition in the Democratic primary. He’s a past member of the Iowa Democratic State Central Committee as well as past chair of the Third District Central Committee and Monroe County Democrats. I haven’t heard of any Republican expressing interest in this district yet. John Deeth points out that several House Republicans thrown together by redistricting live not far from the new district 80. One of them may end up being Judge’s GOP opponent.

UPDATE: On May 4, Patty Judge will start working as finance director for the Iowa House Democrats.  

Iowa,politics,Iowa House,2012 elections

Joe Judge of Albia announced Sunday [May 1] he will be a candidate on the Democratic ticket for the new Iowa House District 80. The new district includes all of Appanoose and Monroe Counties along with the western half of Wapello and the eastern half of Mahaska Counties.

“I am excited at the opportunity of serving our southern Iowa communities in the Iowa House of Representatives. If Iowa is going to grow and prosper in the 21st Century, we need to work together to find common sense solutions and I will do that in the Iowa legislature,” Judge said during his announcement. “I have always felt that it’s important to be an active part of our community and an important way to make sure Iowans have a strong voice in their government.”

Judge is a life-long southern Iowan who grew up on the family cow-calf farm east of Albia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History in 2001, a master’s degree in Social Studies Education in 2004, and a Master’s degree in School Administration in 2009 all from the University of Iowa.

“The four counties represented in District 80 need a strong voice to speak up for them in the Iowa House of Representatives. We need good-paying jobs and vibrant Main Streets to keep and attract a skilled workforce. Our schools must provide the highest quality education to keep our kids competitive as they enter college or the work force. I have the proven political experience to get things done, as a teacher I know the educational needs of our part of the state and have seen first hand the challenges that poverty brings to our communities, and as a Chief Negotiator I know the challenges that both labor and management must balance in order to succeed,” added Judge.

Since 2004, Joe has been a Government and History teacher in Albia. He is also the head boys tennis coach and served as the head sponsor for the drama program, Letter Winners Club, and the Blue Pride Club at the high school. Judge is a member of ISEA and represents the local teacher’s association on the district Labor Management Committee and as Chief Negotiator.

In the next few months Judge will travel to the communities in the new district, spending time with voters to hear their concerns and ask for their support and an official campaign kick off will occur early in June.

“We have the best tourist attraction in the state at Lake Rathbun and the beauty of our natural resources is second to none. But, we have to let the world know and that has to begin in the Iowa House of Representatives,” concluded Judge.

Joe Judge is no stranger to politics having grown up in a Democratic family. As a child, he first campaigned with his mother, Patty Judge. Judge quickly made a name for himself on his own when he was elected to the Democratic National Convention in 2000 and 2008. He was also a member of the Democratic State Central Committee from 2002-2006, was the Chair of the 3rd District Democratic Central Committee from 2004- 2006, the Monroe County Democratic Chair from 2006-2009 and was elected in 2008 as one of Iowa’s seven Presidential Electors in the Electoral College.

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