Longtime Democratic State Senator Dick Dearden will be retiring next year and not running for re-election in 2016. Democrats looking to succeed the Senator in Des Moines’ East Side/Pleasant Hill district are quickly making their intentions known. Earlier this week, Dearden’s daughter, Pam Conner, who works at the Iowa Division of Labor, made public that she will run for her father’s seat. This morning Nate Boulton, a workers’ rights attorney, announced he’s launching his campaign for the seat.

“Now more than ever, we need someone who will take the lead on progressive issues in the Iowa Senate,” Boulton said in a press release. “Someone who will stand up and advocate for expanding workers’ rights, growing our economy with quality jobs, restoring educational excellence, and cleaning up our air and water in this state. I am running to be that advocate.”

“Too often state legislators and Governor Branstad spend time talking about ‘values’ and then take actions that underfunded education, protect polluters, strip away workers’ rights to protect bad employers, and insulate the rich and powerful from responsibility and accountability,” Boulton added. “Those aren’t the values of the Iowans I talk to, and it’s time we stand up for our citizens’ interests again.”

Boulton is also a part-time college instructor at Simpson College, where he graduated with a degree in history and political science, later getting a Master of Public Administration and his law degree at Drake University. His wife, Andrea, is the trails coordinator for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

Working as an attorney at the Hedberg and Boulton law firm, Boulton will likely have a leg up in Democratic support among unions, given his history with workers’ rights and workplace safety issues. He serves as the President of the Iowa Workers Compensation Advisory Committee.

“When Governor Branstad has overstepped his authority, we’ve been there to push back,” Boulton said of his and his firm’s work on legal issues with Branstad’s vetoes. “He’s done it to hurt some of the people a good government should be there to help, and we’ve stood up for unemployed Iowans, persons with mental disabilities, and at-risk adolescents who have been victimized by the unconstitutional implementation of bad policy.”

Senate District 16 is overwhelmingly Democratic, with currently 14,624 registered Democrats compared to 6,978 Republicans, along with 10,106 No Party voters. This safe Democratic seat will be determined in next year’s primary election, and there could still be more entrants into the race beyond Boulton and Conner in the future.

by Pat Rynard
Posted 9/25/15

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