Introducing Michael Andreski, Democrat running in Iowa House District 31

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I want to introduce myself to the readers of Bleeding Heartland. I am Michael Andreski, a Democratic candidate in district 31 of the Iowa House of Representatives.

Why am I running for this office? The short answer is because the opportunity was there, and I was encouraged by several people, including Democratic State Representative John Forbes of Urbandale.

But the long answer is that as a fifth-generation Iowan, I could no long sit on the sidelines and see the state where I was born, raised, educated, started a career, and raised a family continue to become a place I no longer recognize as the Iowa I know and love.

A lifetime of experience and training, ready to work for my district on the first day of the session!

About me

I was born at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, in the OB ward where my mom worked for almost 40 years. I grew up and went to school in Des Moines, and then Clive, graduating from Valley High School in West Des Moines.

I then went to the University of Iowa to graduate with a BS in Pharmacy, entering practice in Muscatine. I then moved to Florida for job opportunities that were not there for young people in Iowa during the Reagan-Branstad era. But in my heart I was always an Iowan, and I moved back to enter graduate school at the University of Iowa, earning a PhD in Pharmacy. I had been a clinical pharmacy manager in Florida, finishing an MBA, and became interested in the infrastructure aspects of pharmacy practice.

I was happy to be able to join the College of Pharmacy at Drake University where for the past thirteen years I’ve taught pharmacy management, law, ethics, and services development, as well as supervise pharmacy students who complete legislative internships in the Iowa House. To enhance my scholarship and teaching, I entered the Master in Jurisprudence program at Drake, where I graduated earlier this month. To complete that degree I worked as a legislative intern with John Forbes, which was the genesis of my current campaign.

I’ve lived in the district for thirteen years, and was constantly in the area all throughout my high school years. Whenever I’d visit my parents, I would think of ways I could return to let my two sons experience the quality of life in Iowa, and when given the opportunity, in West Des Moines. My wife Kara, a U.S. Army veteran, and I share a total of five children. My youngest son followed in my footsteps graduating from Valley, while my oldest son graduated from Iowa City West High school when I was in graduate school at Iowa. Both of my sons are University of Iowa graduates.

I’m a lifelong Democrat, and have been involved at the precinct chair level in Muscatine, in Polk County, Florida, and here. I’ve advised student groups as a part of my role at Drake and as a volunteer for ten years at Iowa State. My volunteer activity at Iowa State conflicted with being a precinct chair in West Des Moines, and I chose to remain active with those students. My family provided a positive living environment for eight years for players on the Des Moines Buccaneers. I’ve volunteered to immunize hundreds of my neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

My priorities

Running for the legislature requires more than just a resume. It requires more than sitting on this board and that committee. It means being willing to take a lifetime of experience and training, and use it to become an advocate for the district where you live. It also means being passionate about issues that Iowans care about.

I started with a focus on three issues: public education, health care access, and civility. Since the U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v Wade leaked, I’ve added a fourth focus: reproductive rights.

As I mentioned, my mom was an OB nurse at Methodist. She would share her experiences with my sisters and me as we grew up. Those experiences led her to be pro-choice, and she raised a pro-choice son. I will oppose any efforts in the legislature to decrease access to reproductive health care, and that includes any efforts to restrict contraceptive choices.

I look at myself as an example of the often profound effect that public education can have on a child’s future. I was the first person on either side of my family to complete a college education. My preparation in Des Moines and West Des Moines public schools provided me with a sound foundation for success in my academic and professional careers.

The people of Iowa invested in my education, and I want to pay back that investment by helping keep the same opportunities available today, from pre-K to the postgraduate levels at the Regents universities. As a state we need to bring funding back to the levels of the early 2000s, adjusted for inflation, and then require that K-12 school funding increase by at least the rate of inflation each year.

We can start to fund those increases by ending tax breaks that are not creating the economic stimulus that was promised when they were passed. Make the corporations live up to their promises or lose the tax breaks.

Along with funding, we need to restore respect for the professionalism of our educational professionals. Of course, parents should be involved with their children’s schools! There are numerous ways to stay in touch with what is going on with their children though phone calls, emails, on-line classroom management systems, and parent-teacher organizations, to name a few. What we don’t need are politicians in Des Moines threatening educators. We also don’t need parents who may not agree with their school boards making threats and disrupting school board meetings.

In advocacy efforts for my profession, I’ve seen how Iowans are losing access to pharmacies, and to many basic health care services throughout the state. Access to primary health care is an issue in many areas of the state, but specialist care, mental health care in particular, is an even greater problem.

We need to harness entrepreneurial talent to bring these services into the community by forming care collaboratives. These collaboratives would provide specialty care on a rotating basis where it is needed. For example, a collaborative clinic would have cardiology appointments every other Monday, endocrinology every other Tuesday, and so on. Our critical access hospitals would coordinate access to telehealth services on an emergent basis. I will bring my health policy experience and expertise to the legislature to bring these and other innovations to our state.

And the final issue, in some ways the most important, is what I call “civility” as an umbrella term. In other words, how we treat our neighbors. “Iowa Nice” is a dated term that is often used as a polite way of yearning for the past. Iowa wasn’t always so nice for all Iowans, especially those from marginalized groups.

I advise pharmacy students at Drake, and their compassion and enthusiasm always inspire me. But in recent years most of them do not want to stay in Iowa. Many do not feel comfortable in the current environment, so they leave after graduation. We need an Iowa where all our children want to stay and work and raise a family, and where people would want to move to for economic opportunity: No matter their national background, skin color, religious beliefs, gender, or their identity in the LGBTQIA+ communities.

Once we treat our neighbors with respect, then we can solve issues such as voting rights, economic development, child care, or elder care, with greater ease.

I am ready to represent my neighbors in House District 31. Compare experience, training, and focus on policy issues that help all families and make an informed decision on June 7.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to get to know me and the issues that I’ve been hearing from my neighbors as my campaign has developed.

Top photo of Michael Andreski provided by the author and published with permission.

Editor’s note: Iowa House district 31 covers parts of West Des Moines.

About the Author(s)

Michael Andreski