In Waukee, progressive candidates win the day

By Amie Rivers

November 7, 2023

Two incumbents and a progressive candidate endorsed by both the teachers’ union and One Iowa were voted onto the Waukee school board Tuesday.

Three school board seats were open this year.

Current board president Wendy Marsh took the most votes, with an even (unofficial) 5,600, or 23.4%. Incumbent board member Michael Trettin garnered the next-highest amount, at 5,571, or 23.2%.

Newcomer Kate Boonstra took the third and final seat with 5,442 votes, or 22.7%.

Amy Jepsen and Tami Rubino did not make it on the board, receiving 3,767 (15.7%) and 3,475 (14.5%) votes, respectively.

Boonstra, Marsh and Trettin were all endorsed by the local teachers’ union. Marsh and Boonstra were also endorsed by LGBTQ advocacy group One Iowa.

Moms for Liberty did not formally endorse any candidates in Waukee, but two candidates publicly shared similar views to the organization’s stances before taking on more moderate tones before the election.

Tami Rubino’s husband, Jeff, lost in 2021 running on an anti-Critical Race Theory platform, and Tami Rubio ran a Warrior & Wolves United political action committee that supported her husband that year (and accused Waukee officials of trying to indoctrinate students into Marxist beliefs).

Rubino endorsed Amy Jepsen, who spoke passionately in favor of private school voucher legislation at a Feb. 14, 2022 school board meeting, calling it the “best option for students and our community taxpayers.”

Waukee’s two bond referendums also easily passed. That will mean:

  • A $180 million general obligation bond “to fund critical school projects, improvements, and infrastructure needs” (70% in favor), and
  • An extension of the physical plant and equipment levy, or PPEL (65% in favor).

Read more about what that money will be used for here.

  • Amie Rivers

    Amie Rivers is Starting Line's community editor, labor reporter and newsletter snarker-in-chief. Previously, she was an award-winning journalist at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier; now, she very much enjoys making TikToks and memes. Send all story tips and pet photos to [email protected] and sign up for our newsletter here.



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