Former Marine Pat Ritter Runs On Water Quality In Northeast Iowa House Race

Far from both parties’ activist cores and the state political press, a Northeast Iowa legislative race might hold the key to which party controls the Iowa House next session. The Decorah-based House District 55 features an open seat where both parties have fielded strong candidates. On the Democratic side is Pat Ritter, a 34-year-old attorney and former Marine from West Union, the more-Republican side of the district. Republicans nominated Michael Bergan, a well-known former Winneshiek county supervisor who has deep family roots throughout the Democratic side of the district. House District 55 covers almost all of Winneshiek County, including Decorah, […]

Rising Star Profile: North Liberty Mayor Amy Nielsen

When Amy Nielsen ran for mayor of North Liberty in 2014, few expected her to succeed. It was her first campaign for public office in a city she had only lived in for seven years, up against an incumbent who had been involved in local government for 15 years. While her opponent criticized her lack of experience, Nielsen ran on a message of new ideas and a fresh perspective. She won with a convincing 55% of the vote. In a sign of how dismissive the elected establishment had been of Nielsen, her opponent had few of the typically kind words that one […]

Rising Star Profile: Pete Hird

He may hail from a small northern Jackson County community named Leisure Lake, but Pete Hird’s focus in his campaign for State House is all about work and the working people he hopes to represent. The 33-year-old electrical worker is an active volunteer in the small, dirt-road rural neighborhood of about 100 families, and recently decided to take his interest in legislative issues to the actual Legislature with a bid for House District 58, which covers Jackson County and parts of Jones and Dubuque counties. A number of Iowa leaders have high hopes for the young candidate, who they see […]

Rising Star Profile: Rob Sand

Were Rob Sand to run for office in the near future, he’ll already hold many qualifications of a successful candidate for public office: an Assistant Attorney General, family man, rural upbringing and… chicken wrangler. That last one he added to his resume early on growing up in Northeast Iowa, where he developed an appreciation for small-town life, the outdoors and civic engagement. Now he lives in Des Moines, where his work as a 33-year-old attorney fighting corruption and fraud for the state has built him an impressive profile. Sand is fresh off a major legal victory from earlier this month, […]

Rising Star Profile: Miyoko Hikiji

When Miyoko Hikiji’s friends first suggested to her that she run for office, she was hesitant. Am I really qualified for this? Would I be prepared? Those were the questions that went through her mind before she realized how silly the doubts were. “I’ve done a lot of scary things in my career,” the Iraq War veteran and mother of two young girls finally decided. “If I can go to war, I can probably survive [a campaign] and do well in it.” Hikiji is now a candidate for State Senate District 20, which covers the Johnston, Urbandale and Grimes parts […]

Young Leaders Profile: Natasha Newcomb

A life of political advocacy and being a single mother to a gifted child has well-prepared Natasha Newcomb in her new plan to run for Des Moines School Board. She is a candidate for School Board District 3, campaigning for the election in September. Starting Line enjoys highlighting younger Democrats running for office or who might be future leaders, and Newcomb promises to be an important voice in central Iowa and the local education system. Being a Single Mother and Campaigner Newcomb grew up in Minnesota for most of her childhood, she and her brother raised by a single mother. […]

Heather Matson Announces Run for Ankeny House District

Ankeny has proven to be an Iowa boom-town in recent years, with new neighborhoods filled with young families popping up across the Des Moines suburb seemingly every month. A woman whose family looks like the many moving to the popular and thriving community now seeks to represent them in the Statehouse. Heather Matson plans on announcing her candidacy for House District 38 today, aiming to challenge Republican incumbent Kevin Koester. “I’m running because I think it’s time for a new generation of leadership,” Matson says of her decision, adding that she feels like “big new ideas” are missing from the […]

Ravi Patel Announces for Congress – Our Profile

Update: This morning Ravi Patel officially announced that he is a Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District. In a press release he calls himself a “pro-growth progressive” and says, “We need a fresh perspective, we need new leadership, and we need innovative thinkers who are genuinely interested in seeing our country succeed.” Below is our profile of him that we posted earlier this morning: For a 29-year-old, Ravi Patel is already a lot of things in life. He’s a successful businessman in the hotel world, a start-up entrepreneur, a first-generation American and an up-and-coming politician. It sounds like Patel […]