Rep. Jerome Amos Jr. was a career man at John Deere in Waterloo, but it was being an active member of the UAW local that inspired him to become involved in politics.
During a union training session in Black Lake, Minnesota, a presenter told members in attendance to get involved in local politics.
“There’s not a single person in this room who would not make a good city council person or a good this or a good that,” Amos Jr. recalls the speaker telling him and hundreds of others in the crowd.
“I come back and I was like, ‘You know what? He’s right.’ That was my start into politics.”
The new Democratic representative for House District 62 in Waterloo served on that community’s city council for seven years before resigning his post to serve his community in the Iowa Legislature.
Amos Jr.’s foray into politics was managing Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart’s first campaign. Before becoming mayor, Hart served as a councilman in Waterloo’s 4th Ward, an area where Amos Jr. also happened to reside.
“He told me he was going to be running for the mayor’s position and I told him, ‘Well, I’m going to run for the Ward 4 position because I know you’re going to need help,’” Amos Jr. said. “And that was how I ended up getting into the city council side of this.”
A combination of factors including redistricting and the retirement of former Rep. Ras Smith led Amos Jr. to seek out his new state house seat. Amos Jr. ran unopposed in the heavily Democratic district but doesn’t think party affiliation is the only reason his race went that way.
“I had been on the city council for seven years and working on the city council, it’s a nonpartisan position,” he said. “So I was working with Republicans, Democrats, independents, and everybody, and people know what I’m about and it’s about the people; it’s not about any of the politics or anything like that.
Now that he’s in Des Moines, Amos Jr. wants to be a voice for unions and laborers all over Iowa. He thinks unions have gotten a raw deal from the legislature in the last few years—especially public-sector unions—and he wants to help
“I’m a labor person—and I have been here my entire adult life—and I just think the things that are going from the standpoint of what they are doing to unions should not be happening,” he said
At A Glance:
Name: Jerome Amos Jr.
Position: Iowa Representative for District 62
Committee Assignments: Appropriations, Labor and Workforce, Local Government, Public Safety; subcommittees: Economic Development Budget
Education: Graduated from East High School in Waterloo in 1972; attended Upper Iowa University in Fayette in 1974.
Experience: Worked at John Deere from 1974-2010; adjunct instructor at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo 2013-present; served on Waterloo City Council from 2016-2023.
Family: Wife, Tina Harmon-Amos; 7 children, 15 grandchildren.
Interests: Spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
by Ty Rushing
If you enjoy stories like these, make sure to sign up for Iowa Starting Line’s main newsletter and/or our working class-focused Worker’s Almanac newsletter.
To contact Senior Editor Ty Rushing for tips or story ideas, email him at email@example.com or find him on social media @Rushthewriter
Iowa Starting Line is part of an independent news network and focuses on how state and national decisions impact Iowans’ daily lives. We rely on your financial support to keep our stories free for all to read. You can contribute to us here. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.