When State Representative Tyler Olson launched his campaign for governor this summer, I expected several Democrats to jump at the chance to represent Iowa House district 65. According to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State, the Cedar Rapids seat Olson will vacate at the end of next year contains 9,510 registered Democrats, 4,859 Republicans, and 7,369 no-party voters. In other words, the winner of the Democratic primary is almost certain to succeed Olson in the Iowa House.
To my knowledge, only Liz Bennett is actively running for House district 65. A volunteer for many Democratic candidates and various progressive causes in Linn County, Bennett now works for the internet company Go Daddy. She created a campaign Facebook page in July and formally kicked off her bid for the Iowa House at a Cedar Rapids event this past Saturday. So far there's not much detail on Bennett's campaign website. Her Facebook page includes a brief statement of priorities: "I believe that education, a strong middle class, diverse communities, and common-sense environmental policy are the keys to economic growth for Iowa." After the jump I've posted more background, provided by the candidate.
I would not be surprised to see other Democrats declare before the filing deadline in March 2014. On the other hand, Bennett may be able to clear the field in House district 65. Not only has she served on the Linn County Democratic Central Committee and chaired her precinct caucus, she was chosen to be a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Bio provided by Liz Bennett:
Cedar Rapids resident, Liz Bennett, has officially announced her candidacy for House District 65 (the seat currently held by Gubernatorial Candidate Tyler Olson.)
Liz explains her reasons for seeking the seat, thus: " I am grateful for the opportunities and way-of-life I've experienced in Iowa, and I want to make sure that other people can experience that, too. Towards that end, I will work hard to enhance access to education from early childhood all the way through college and workforce training, support access to healthcare and mental health treatment, support community development factors that attract and retain both workforce and entrepreneurs, advance Iowa's status as a leader in clean-energy production, and work to bring good paying jobs to Iowa."
Liz grew up in the Quad Cities in a family tradition rich in community service. Her maternal grandmother was a long-time volunteer with the Visiting Nurses Association, and her paternal grandmother lobbied successfully to become one of the first female members of the Optimists' Club in her town. Her father, Steve, is a retired State Trooper, Vietnam Veteran, volunteer firefighter, Fleet Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Boy Scout leader. Liz's mom, Cathy, retired from her role as a court reporter to work inside the home, and outside as a volunteer with groups like Marine Moms and groups that support women with unplanned pregnancies.
Liz has continued her family's tradition of service, volunteering in the past with Cedar Rapids AniMeals and the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Iowa. Central to Liz's passion for service is her commitment to working for social justice and Democratic values. She activated as a Democrat in 2008, making phone calls and recruiting friends to caucus for Obama. Liz was elected to Linn County Democratic Central Committe in 2009 and has been active. She chaired her precinct caucus in 2010 and chaired float-building for the Linn Co. Dems' entry in the 2011 Freedom Fest parade. She has called and knocked doors for many campaigns, including Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, Rep. Art Staed, and Sen. Liz Mathis, and was elected as a Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Many people know Liz through her work both as a volunteer and Regional Organizer for One Iowa, where she worked to preserve the freedom to marry for all Iowans. Directly after graduating from college, Liz worked at a firm which provides financial planning for individuals with disabilities. She has also worked with small businesses as an advertising consultant with Yellow Book and is currently employed as a New Hire Training Associate with internet company, Go Daddy.
Liz returned to college as an adult, non-traditional student, and worked her way through, as a server at Granite City in Cedar Rapids. She holds an A.A. from Kirkwood Community College. She went on to double-major in Politics and Women's Studies at Cornell College, where she received her B.A.
Liz will formally kick off her campaign on Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 5pm to 7pm at Brewed Café, located at 1101 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA.
I have been able view the progress of Liz's campaign to date and can say that I am impressed with her ability to reach out to constituents to determine problems instead of coming into the race with an idea about how to fix everything. Too often in politics today, candidates tell their constituents what their problems are instead of listening and making policy decisions after fully evaluating the issues. All indications are that Liz is handling this differently, which makes her a good fit as representative of the district. Further, she is hard working and knows what it is like to go without; something that too many in Des Moines and Washington D.C. are never able to experience. That relatability demonstrates that she will add a unique perspective to the general business discussion, which is desired in any legislature. I also know that she works hard to meet with any citizen who raises a concern, so any reader with questions should contact her personally to begin a discussion regarding how to best solve the issue.
her contact information
is right there on her website and Facebook page, I've noticed. Not all candidates make it so easy for people to get in touch.