Meet the Story County candidates running for state office – Ames Tribune

This year, all 100 Iowa House seats and 25 of the 50 Iowa Senate seats will be on the ballot. Story County residents can vote for their candidates in the races for State Senator District 26, and State Representative District 49, 50 and 51.
The primary election will take place on June 4, ahead of the general election on Nov. 5.
More:Find out who the candidates are for Story County's primary election in June
The Ames Tribune reached out to each of the political candidates running for state office. Here are their responses:
Age: 39
Party: Republican
Grew up in: A farm outside of McCallsburg in rural Story County
Currently live in: I live on my family farm outside of McCallsburg
Education: I graduated from Colo-NESCO High School and Iowa State University. I have also attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and multiple other military schools.
Political and civic experience: Ran for Story County Supervisor; elected as a Colo-NESCO School Board member, Warren Township Trustee and Warren Township Clerk. I have volunteered for numerous political campaigns, primarily in the Iowa State Senate, but I have also volunteered for Tom Latham for Congress, Dave Deyoe for Iowa House, and a few Republican presidential campaigns.  Additionally, I served on the Story County Republican Central Committee as a Story County Republican convention delegate and as a 4th Congressional District and State Republican convention delegate for Story County.
Why are you running? 
Rural Story County has long had true conservative leaders in the Iowa General Assembly.  Most recently, Senate District 26 has been well-represented by Jeff Edler.  He has brought a rural voice and conservative principles to the capitol. With his retirement, I believe the constituents of Senate District 26 deserve a senator who will continue to provide these qualities and viewpoints in Des Moines.  I am running to ensure voters have a conservative, rural, and experienced candidate in the race.  I will continue to fight for smaller government, lower taxes, constitutional liberties, and the unborn in Des Moines.
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it? 
Property taxes are the issue I am hearing about most as I visit with constituents, and this is concerning, especially for people living on a fixed income, like retirees. I believe we need to enforce hard caps on property tax levies and eliminate levies that are duplicative to provide greater transparency in property tax revenues and local government budgets. Iowa families have to prioritize spending to live within their means, and government should be no different.
Why should residents vote for you? 
I have the experience to be a highly effective senator on day 1. I am a combat veteran with nearly 22 years in the Army Reserve, and I am currently a lieutenant colonel. I run a small business as a livestock farmer on my family farm. I have served in public office, and I currently work for Senate President Amy Sinclair in the Iowa Senate.  I am in my 14th session as a staff member in the Iowa Senate, and I have the relationships, knowledge, and skills to be immediately successful and effective for the residents of Senate District 26.
Age: 44
Party: Republican
Grew up in: A Navy family in San Diego
Currently live in: Rural Story County outside Ames (Franklin Township)
Education: Industrial engineering from Stanford University; MBA from University of Iowa
Political and civic experience: Member of Iowa Rural Development Council, Farm Bureau, and Izaak Walton League. Board Member American Heritage Girls and Ames Soccer Club. Candidate for Story County Supervisor in 2022. 
Why are you running?
I’ve decided to step up and run for the Iowa Senate because we need leaders who will take the baton and continue to identify and implement bold, conservative solutions. I will work tirelessly to protect the progress we have made and improve the lives and opportunities of the residents of our district. 
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it?
With my professional background in business, bolstered by an engineering degree from Stanford and an MBA from the University of Iowa, I bring to the table a wealth of experience and a perspective that combines innovation with practicality. My approach as a fiscal conservative is straightforward: protect Iowa’s taxpayers and uphold a responsible, balanced budget, ensuring Iowa families keep more of their hard-earned money.
In these times where inflation touches us all, I pledge to concentrate on tax cuts, economic development, and expanding career opportunities to foster prosperity for all Iowans.Why should residents vote for you? 
I love Iowa, and I guarantee no one will work harder to deliver conservative results. I believe in an Iowa where schools shine as the nation's best, supported by exceptional teachers and active parental involvement. Moreover, as a mother of two girls, I'm committed to making sure men and women compete in athletics on their own level playing field. My husband and I cherish rural Iowa life. I'll do everything in my power to make sure hard-working family farmers receive the support they need and that China is banned from buying our farmland. 
Age: 49
Party: Democrat
Grew up in: Lacey, WA
Currently live in: Maxwell
Education: I graduated with distinction as a construction engineer from Iowa State University.
Political and civic experience: I have served on professional boards in my field, the American Society of Heating Ventilation and Airconditioning Engineers and the American Society of Professional Estimators. But this is my first campaign for public office.
Why are you running?
I'm running because I feel that Iowans deserve to be heard by their elected officials. The governor and Iowa Senate have passed bill after bill against the will of the people. Most Iowans want public school funds to pay for public schools. Most Iowans are pleased with the service they receive from their AEAs. Even opposition from their own party won't stop Republican lawmakers from passing laws that are hurting small-town Iowa. I think that Iowans deserve a better deal, and I will work for them to deliver that when I am Senator.
What is the biggest issue facing my community and how would I address it?
Our communities depend on our public school system to provide our kids with the tools to become successful Iowans. Yet our state funding to schools is nearly half a billion dollars behind just keeping up with inflation over the last decade. We need to stop hoarding cash (nearly $2 billion hidden away from taxpayers) and put that money to work for our kids. We need to roll back changes that give wealthy families private school tuition and reinvest that money in our public schools. We also need to ensure Iowans have the right to make their own healthcare decisions.
Why should residents vote for you?
My opponents like to talk about freedom, but they are opposed to you having freedom over your own body, what books your kids can read, how much a city or county can have local control. I will defend your right to make your own decisions about carrying a child, or your kids' healthcare choices. I don't want to tell you what to do, and you shouldn't vote for someone who does.
More:Iowa Board of Regents consider another tuition hike for its three universities
Age: 69
Party: Republican
Grew up in: Klemme, IA
Currently live in: Klemme
Education: Iowa State University
Political and civic experience: Incumbent State Senator for District 28. I was on a lot of local community boards, such as the Pork Producers Board, and I was on the Farm Bureau Board as president of the county Farm Bureau.
Why are you running?
I am running because I want to see the values that our country was founded on maintained. We seem to be rapidly moving away from those. I have a strong Christian background, and I want to see that continue in the public arena as it has in the past.
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it? 
The most current issue that is a real challenge is using eminent domain for carbon pipelines. I think that's a real challenge to our personal property rights, and tends to put individuals second to corporate issues. I really thing that's something we should do something about.
Why should residents vote for you?
Because I will stand for the values most Iowans hold, and I will do that at all times. Whether it's popular or unpopular, I will make that stand.
Age: 63
Party: Democrat
Grew up in: Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois. Born on Chi Chi Jima, Bonin Islands, Japan.
Currently live in: My husband John Paschen and I own a home in Ames and a farm in Hamilton County. My residence has been in Jewell since March 2020.
Education: Iowa State University JlMC (Journalism and Mass Communications) 1982
Political and civic experience:
Paid work: Youth and Shelter Services, Ames Public Library, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, Webster City Daily Freeman-Journal.
Volunteer Work: Mary Greeley Hospice, Ames Public Library, The Bridge Home (formerly Emergency Residence Project.) 
Why are you running?
I am running for three reasons: To give a voice to rural Iowans, for reproductive freedom, and to fully fund AEAs and public schools. The voucher program is a scam.
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it? 
The biggest issues I am hearing about are public schools/AEAs and the carbon capture pipeline. The other issue is Iowans feel their governor and many of their legislators do not care about their constituents. Folks have tried calling, emailing and snail mail. Senator Guth lets them know he is going to vote with the Governor and her wishes, the heck with the rest of us. He does not listen.
Why should residents vote for you?
I will work to listen to all Iowans, rural and urban, gay or straight, part of a faith community or not, old or young. I am old enough to remember excellent public schools, and support for our immigrant neighbors. I remember leaders like Bob Ray who cared about all Iowans. Iowa deserves better.
Age: 64
Party: Democrat
Grew up in: Ames
Currently live in: Ames
Education: Ames High School, 1977; University of Northern Iowa, 1981; Iowa State University 1987
Political and civic experience: I am completing my 10th term in the Iowa House.
Why are you running?
I believe our state can do better. We need to put people over politics to support great public schools, reproductive health care, lower costs for Iowans and to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use.
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it?
The state of our public education system is declining. We must trust educators to be the experts in the classroom. Schools need adequate funding to maintain and improve education. Our public universities are seriously underfunded and Republicans have worked hard to discredit them. We must work to fund and acknowledge the importance these institutions are to education and Iowa's economy.
Why should residents vote for you?
I meet with constituents on a regular basis and visit with them about their concerns. My goal is to represent the interests of my constituents. I work hard to represent them despite the negative political environment which exists today. I have confidence that this negative environment will get better if we don't give up. I won't give up.
Age: 59
Party: Democrat
Grew up in: Davenport and Galesburg, IL
Currently live in: Ames
Education: The University of Iowa
Political and civic experience: Incumbent State Representative for House District 50, Ames; Mayor, Iowa City, IA; City Councilmember, Iowa City; Parks & Recreation Commissioner, Iowa City; Chairperson, Iowa Democratic Party; Midwestern Region Chairperson of the Association of State Democratic Committees
Why are you running? 
I know we’re all proud of our long history of strong public schools, vibrant communities where neighbors look out for each other, and using common sense to get things done. Iowans want their elected leaders to listen and then focus on the issues important to them. I’m running for re-election to focus on legislation that puts people over politics. A strong majority of Iowans support investing in our public schools, AEA’s, and universities, lowering costs, protecting reproductive freedom, and yes, to legalize cannabis for adult use.
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it? 
Too many Iowans are still struggling to make ends meet today. Their wages simply aren’t keeping up with the rising costs of healthcare, food, child care, and utility bills. I’ve co-sponsored legislation to: expand access to affordable child care, lower taxes for working families instead of more handouts to big corporations, create more affordable housing options, expand the use of renewable energy to lower gas prices and utility costs as well as create good jobs, and to Raise wages.
Why should residents vote for you? 
I’ll keep working with you to push through the politics and to make progress on issues that Ames and Story County residents care about like education, good paying jobs, supporting mental health care, and making sure kids don’t go hungry. I’ve fought against the efforts that weaken education, and that create an unwelcoming Iowa. I’ve sponsored legislation focused on putting people over politics. We won’t agree every time, but I’m asking for your vote to keep fighting for our shared values.
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Age: 41
Party: Republican
Grew up in: I grew up in Lecanto, FL and graduated high school in Geneseo, IL.
Currently live in: Nevada
Education: I received my Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Iowa
Political and civic experience: I am in my second term as Mayor of the City of Nevada having previously served on the city council beginning in 2010. I have been the Chair of the Republican Party of Story County since 2015 and am the current Midwest Regional Vice Chair of the Young Republican National Federation. I was a founding member and past state Chair of the Iowa Federation of Young Republicans.  
Why are you running?
I am running for Iowa House because my depth and breadth of experience in areas such as economic development, healthcare, rural revitalization, and foster care will help our state enact policies to make Iowa a place where families can thrive and the next generation will be proud to call home. My record as a leader is full of big dreams turned reality through bringing the right partners to the table and having the persistence and tenacity to see them through. These are the same qualities that I hope to use to be an effective champion in Des Moines. 
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it? 
While our metro areas continue to grow, many of our rural areas are in decline, yet rural Iowa is the fabric of what makes Iowa special. We must continue to invest in rural Iowa and ensure our communities have the tools, resources, and infrastructure to reimagine themselves and attract new jobs and families. I understand that agriculture is the bedrock of our economy and is vital to ensuring that Iowa continues to feed and fuel the world. It’s vital that our state continues the progress being made to make rural Iowa a place that will thrive for generations to come.
Why should residents vote for you? 
During my time as Mayor of Nevada, I have prioritized strengthening our community through economic and community development, Main Street revitalization, and quality of life opportunities. Nevada has experienced unprecedented job growth through small business, industry, agriculture, and renewal energy, and can be a model for Iowa communities. I understand how to make our communities strong with job opportunities and quality of life for future generations. I will use my experience to fight for policies that are right for you and will move Iowa forward.
Age: 65
Party: Republican
Grew up in: Nevada
Currently live in: Nevada
Education: Waldorf College, DMACC, Worsham College of Mortuary Science
Political and civic experience: Story County Supervisor
Why are you running?
I am running because District 51 is a largely rural makeup, my family's farming background and my time in agriculture will connect with many citizens within this district. I am currently a member of the Story County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. I have a working knowledge of the challenges and hardships found in the unincorporated parts of Story and Marshall counties.
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it? 
The cost of citizenship is paid through multiple levels of taxation in this state. In recent years our governor and this legislature have reduced personal and commercial taxes and are leaning toward property tax reductions. I celebrate their successes and look forward to adding my voice to lessen the burden of the cost of government to the citizens of Iowa. To this end, I will be voting at Nevada Schools to reduce its tax levy by over $1 per $1000 assessed value. We can have great schools in this state and still ask for modest dollars.
Why should residents vote for you?
The Iowa legislature has trended downward for many years in elected officials with a farm background. I have 15 years of experience on the Nevada Community School Board, most spent as its president. There are five school districts in Story County and three in Marshall County that lie within District 51. In the time that I have served I have learned a great deal in successful school governance. I hold out Nevada schools as an example of my time and leadership. I have demonstrated successful countywide leadership in Story County. The Iowa House is the next level up. 
Age: 47
Party: Democrat
Grew up in: I was born in Boone, but grew up in an Army family, so I have lived all over the world, Germany, Korea, Alabama, Washington, Texas, and many other states.
Currently live in: Nevada
Education: ISU, I graduated in 2002 with a BS in Psychology 
Political and civic experience: I am an Army National Guard veteran, Boy Scout/Cub Scout leader for Nevada pack/troop 128, member of the American Legion, and volunteer for Food at First.
Why are you running? 
Because I want normal middle-class Iowans to have a voice again, no more career politicians that lobby, run, then lobby again. It’s time for regular people to represent us, no more monied interests.
What is the biggest issue facing your community/the state and how would you address it?
There are many, but I believe high property taxes and our underfunding of education and area education agencies. We need to re-examine the tax structure and where Iowans money is spent. 
Why should residents vote for you? 
Because I am just a regular everyday Iowan. I’m not in anyone’s pocket, and want to return our government to its original intent, citizens serving citizens, no more using office to enrich yourself. I am a strong proponent of term limits and campaign finance reform. It’s time the middle class get a true representative for them, not just whatever lobbyists can pay the most for their cause.
More:Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird launches task force to combat antisemitism
Incumbent State Representative Shannon Latham is running uncontested to represent District 55. The representative is a member of the Republican Party.
Latham did not respond to the Ames Tribune's candidate survey.
Celia Brocker is a government, crime, political and education reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached at CBrocker@gannett.com.

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