Promising to stand up to powerful interests and raise her voice for those who are hurting, small business owner Cindy Axne announced this morning that she will run for Congress as a Democrat in Iowa's third Congressional district. Her campaign is online here as well as on Facebook and Twitter. A Des Moines native, Axne runs a digital design firm with her husband. From 2005 to 2014, she worked in state government for the Department of Administrative Services, Department of Management, and Department of Natural Resources.
I enclose below more background on the candidate and today's news release. Axne has never run for office before, but she has attended Democratic events around the state this year as a surrogate for gubernatorial candidate Rich Leopold.
Anna Ryon is the only other declared Democratic challenger to two-term Republican Representative David Young. Pete D'Alessandro and Theresa Greenfield are still in the exploratory phase but are expected to join the field soon.
The sixteen counties in IA-03 contain 164,132 active registered Democrats, 175,639 Republicans, and 165,523 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office. Roughly two-thirds of the Democrats in the district live in Polk County, containing Des Moines and most of its suburbs. Young's seat is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's list of targets for 2018 but so far is not in the top tier of districts where the DCCC has invested early.
Young generally avoids talking about the president or being seen with him; last November he outperformed Trump by about 5 percent. He could be vulnerable if 2018 shapes up to be a wave election, especially after changing his vote to support the Republican health care bill last month. The American Health Care Act would give enormous tax cuts to the wealthy while kicking thousands of Young's constituents off Medicaid. Analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office indicates that the bill would also make health insurance unaffordable for millions, especially people with pre-existing conditions or lower incomes, or people over age 50.
June 2 press release:
Democrat Cindy Axne enters race in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District
West Des Moines, IA - Democrat Cindy Axne, a small business owner, parent and community activist, has launched a campaign for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. In explaining her reason for entering the race, Cindy cited her frustration with politicians – including our own Congressman David Young – who prioritize the needs of corporations, millionaires and special interests while folks here at home are left to pay the price.
“I’m a fifth-generation Iowan who was raised to speak out when someone in our community is hurting. I was taught to take on the tough fights and never back down, to never be silenced – even if it means standing up to powerful interests,” said Cindy Axne upon announcing her candidacy. “We’re all Iowans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – and no matter if you live on a farm or in a city apartment, we all deserve to have someone in Washington who’s looking out for us, and that’s why I’m running.”
“When I go to Congress, I’m bringing every Iowan with me – workers, parents, seniors, farmers, students – everyone will have a seat at the table when I’m in Washington because we’re all in this together,” added Cindy.
Cindy was raised in a tight-knit family on the South Side of Des Moines by parents who met at a church picnic. Cindy’s childhood included weekends and summers spent on her maternal grandparents’ farm in Warren County, 4-H activities, and playing 6-on-6 basketball for the Valley High Tigers.
From 2005 to 2014, Cindy worked for the State of Iowa, helping state agencies deliver government services more effectively and efficiently and saving tens of millions for Iowa taxpayers. Since then, she has focused on growing the digital design firm she runs with her husband John.
In 2007, when her older son started kindergarten, Cindy learned that full-day kindergarten was not available to every child in West Des Moines public schools, with eligibility determined by a lottery. Cindy was outraged at the inequity of the system and concerned that students were being shortchanged. She spent the following academic year advocating and negotiating with principals, the school board and the superintendent. After nearly a year, her efforts paid off and full-day kindergarten was made available to all students in the district.
Cindy is active in her church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and serves as a mentor with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa. She lives in West Des Moines with her husband John and their teenage sons, Gunnar and Rafe.
The 3rd Congressional District covers Iowa’s southeastern corner, and includes Polk, Dallas, Guthrie, Warren, Madison, Adair, Cass, Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Montgomery, Taylor, Adams, Union and Ringgold counties.
From the bio on Cindy Axne's campaign website:
A fifth-generation Iowan, Cindy grew up in a tight-knit family on the south side of Des Moines. Cindy’s childhood included weekends and summers spent on her maternal grandparents’ farm in Warren County, 4-H activities, and playing 6-on-6 basketball for the Valley High Tigers. Her parents raised Cindy and her sisters to speak their minds and not be afraid to take on tough fights – even when it was uncomfortable. That is the principle that has defined Cindy’s adult life – from working to keep state government accountable to the people it serves, to advocating for all-day kindergarten for every child in West Des Moines and fighting to stop a local government plan to use state park land and private property to build an unnecessary new road.
Following her graduation from the University of Iowa, Cindy worked in strategic planning and leadership development for the Tribune Company in Chicago and earned an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. She and her husband John later moved to Wisconsin, where they started their small business. When their sons were 3 and 1, Cindy and John moved back to Iowa to raise their family in her home town. [...]
From 2005 to 2014, Cindy worked for the State of Iowa, helping over twenty different state agencies deliver government services more effectively and efficiently for taxpayers. Since then, she has focused on growing the digital design firm she runs with her husband John.