Liz Bennett running for Iowa Senate seat in Cedar Rapids (updated)

UPDATE: Bennett announced at a Linn County Democrats’ meeting on June 30 that she will run for this seat. I’ve added her news release below. Original post follows.

State Representative Liz Bennett may join the Democratic field in an Iowa Senate district covering part of the Cedar Rapids area, she announced on June 28.

Bennett said in a news release that after State Senator Rob Hogg confirmed he would not seek re-election in 2022, “numerous community leaders and grassroots activists” encouraged her to run. “Iowa’s political situation is dire and we need an experienced progressive leader in the Senate,” she added.

First elected in 2014, Bennett is the only out LGBTQ person now serving in the Iowa House as well as the first out LGBTQ woman ever elected to the Iowa legislature. She’s the ranking Democrat on the Economic Growth Committee and a member of the Human Resources, Natural Resources, and Information Technology committees, as well as the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals Appropriations subcommittee. She represents half of Hogg’s current Senate district.

Iowa’s next political map won’t be finalized until sometime this fall, so it’s not clear whether the vacant Senate district will be as Democratic-leaning as Senate district 33 is now. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a nearly two-to-one margin, and Hogg received about 65 percent of the vote in his last re-election bid.

Two other candidates are already seeking the Democratic nomination in the district Hogg will vacate: Breanna Oxley and Sami Scheetz. UPDATE: Scheetz announced on July 1 that he will run for Bennett’s open Iowa House seat in 2022, instead of for the state Senate.

Bleeding Heartland is unlikely to endorse in this primary but welcomes commentaries by any Democrat running, or by their supporters. Guidelines for guest authors endorsing candidates in Iowa Democratic primaries can be found here.

To follow Bennett’s campaign: website, Facebook, Twitter

June 28 news release:

LIZ BENNETT EXPLORING RUN FOR STATE SENATE DISTRICT 33

Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Four-term State Representative Liz Bennett is announcing that she is exploring a run for State Senate District 33. Senator Rob Hogg recently announced that he will not seek re-election in this district.

Speaking on this decision, Rep. Bennett said: “After Senator Hogg announced his retirement, numerous community leaders and grassroots activists approached me urging me to run. Iowa’s political situation is dire and we need an experienced progressive leader in the Senate.” Continuing, Bennett said: “Too many Iowans are struggling to recover from the derecho and the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am still contacted regularly by Iowans who struggle with access to affordable healthcare or mental health services for loved ones. The Republican legislature has continued to chronically underfund education, exacerbating obstacles to opportunity for Iowa’s students, and instead of equipping Iowa communities to raise wages, the Legislature has taken tools away from local governments. Instead of seizing the opportunity to fight climate change and create clean energy jobs, the legislature allowed solar tax credits to expire. Not only that, women’s basic healthcare rights have been critically damaged. We have to do better and we need bold leadership.”

First elected in 2014, Rep. Bennett is the first out LGBTQ woman to serve in the Iowa Legislature. Currently serving as the top Democrat on the House Economic Growth committee, Bennett has also served on the House Judiciary committee, Veterans Affairs committee, Natural Resources committee, Human Resources committee, and most recently, the newly-formed Information Technology Infrastructure committee. Bennett has served on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and has mentored young women as Faculty-In-Residence for the University of Iowa’s N.E.W. Leadership program. On the nationwide level, Bennett has served as Secretary of Energy on the Young Elected Officials Network America’s Cabinet project. A graduate of Cornell College, Bennett has over 10 years of experience in the tech sector and currently works for internet company Wix.com.

June 30 news release:

LIZ BENNETT ANNOUNCES RUN FOR STATE SENATE DISTRICT 33

Hiawatha, Iowa – Four-term State Representative Liz Bennett has announced that she will seek the Iowa Senate District 33 seat, which will be open upon Senator Rob Hogg’s retirement.

In her announcement at Linn County Democrats’ monthly meeting, Bennett stated: “Iowans deserve a fair shot. The basic agreement in our society is that if you work hard, you should be able to succeed. Too many Iowans struggle with low wages, high medical costs, and underfunded public schools. I’m running for Senate because now, more than ever, everyday Iowans need an experienced, progressive voice fighting for them.”

Separately, Bennett commented on the large amount of community support she has received since announcing earlier this week that she was exploring a run.

First elected in 2014, Rep. Bennett is the first out LGBTQ woman to serve in the Iowa Legislature. Currently serving as the top Democrat on the House Economic Growth committee, Bennett has also served on the House Judiciary committee, Veterans Affairs committee, Natural Resources committee, Human Resources committee, and most recently, the newly-formed Information Technology Infrastructure committee. Bennett has served on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and has mentored young women as Faculty-In-Residence for the University of Iowa’s N.E.W. Leadership program.  On the nationwide level, Bennett has served as Secretary of Energy on the Young Elected Officials Network America’s Cabinet project. A graduate of Cornell College, Bennett has over 10 years of experience in the tech sector and currently works for internet company Wix.com.

Citizens can learn more at www.lizbennett.com.

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