A long time coming

Tom Walton: I plan to offer common sense in an uncommon time. We need more reality-based problem-solving in politics, less reality TV.

My name is Tom Walton. I’m running as a Democrat for Iowa House District 28, which includes Adel, Van Meter, and parts of West Des Moines in Dallas County. The right Democrat can win this district, which Republicans barely won by increasingly narrow margins in 2018 and 2020. Donald Trump carried the district by only about seventy votes.

My desire to run for public office has been with me for now for 40 years. This campaign has been a long time coming.

I was eighteen in 1984. I walked with mom to attend my first Iowa Democratic presidential caucus at a nearby church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I was transfixed. I saw people getting together as neighbors with shared ideals who still disagreed with each other, carefully following the rules, counting off, dividing up—husbands from wives, children from parents—offering resolutions, discussing the critical issues of the day, and then leaving at the end as families and neighbors, all without anger, upset or hard feelings. I will never forget how it all felt. It was empowering.

Graduating near the top of my law school class, I came to the Des Moines area in 1989 to work for thirty-one years for what would become Iowa’s largest law firm, growing from about thirty-five attorneys to over one hundred. I volunteered for a Democratic gubernatorial campaign, served as president of a breakfast club for young professional Democrats, and supported winning candidates up and down the ballot with time and money. Several I call friends today. I also chaired my precinct’s presidential caucuses in 2008 and 2016, which were boisterous affairs to say the least.

Governor Chet Culver and Governor Terry Branstad appointed me to serve on two state boards that advised lawmakers on issues involving our criminal and juvenile justice system and public safety. Board members elected me chair of both. I also served for many years on the boards of two nonprofits. One provided early childhood education to a community of color. The other encouraged civic engagement and leadership. I learned so much serving on these public boards.

My wife, Lori, and I had a growing family of two children. My interest in public office grew also, but my busy trial practice made it difficult to run. We moved to the Booneville-Van Meter area about 17 years ago. Our children attended Van Meter Public Schools. There, I was a volunteer youth sports coach. Today, I coach the school’s debate team, and we are boosters of the performing arts. I am now Director of Legal Services and General Counsel for Delta Dental of Iowa.

I am fortunate the stars finally aligned this year to allow me to run for public office almost 40 years since my first caucus. I am qualified to represent House District 28. I have practiced law at the highest level, often with much at stake, including drafting and vetting legislation. I will not be outworked. I want to make each resident of House District 28 the most important client of my legal career.

I plan to offer common sense in an uncommon time. We need more reality-based problem-solving in politics, less reality TV. I have put forward on my website pragmatic ideas to improve Iowa’s quality of life to attract and keep skilled workers here. These include aiding our weakened public schools, addressing a persistent nursing shortage, reversing stagnant state growth, supporting a neglected environment, and solving the unmet need for quality childcare.

To learn more, visit www.tomwalton2022.com, email me at tomwalton2022@gmail.com or call 515-515-537-9089.  Please help Democrats take back the House so Republicans will hear from all Iowans. House District 28 is a perfect place to start. It’s been a long time coming.

Editor's note: Bleeding Heartland is unlikely to endorse in any Iowa Democratic primaries this year but welcomes guest commentaries by candidates or their supporters. Please read these guidelines and contact Laura Belin if you are interested in writing.

Map of the new Iowa House district 28:

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