Could 2018 Be the Year of the Female Candidate?
by Jason Frerichs
Next year is shaping up to be quite the year for both progressive politics in Iowa and for those of us who wish to see women take a more prominent role in the Democratic Party. There are three very strong, progressive women who have either announced their intention to run or are putting together a committee to explore the possibility of a congressional run. These women have answered the call for a political revolution.
In the first district, we have a literal rocket scientist exploring a run against Rod Blum. Courtney Rowe is a member of the Linn County Central Committee and was a 2016 delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders. She is married to a minister and is very active in the Iowa Democratic Party. She studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue University. When asked why she is thinking about running, Courtney had the following to say, “I’m running because Democrats must recognize that wealth inequality is tied to all other forms of inequality: racial, religious, gender, environmental, educational, etc. We cannot appropriately defend the rights of all people if we do not defend their opportunity to make a decent living. The policies of the political establishment have reduced the middle class and stagnated the wages for the bottom 98% of the population. This last election was an indication of the frustration of many Americans who no longer see the American Opportunity that is the foundation of our country. A successful con man played upon the economic frustration of many and gave them a false outlet: refugees, immigrants, Muslims, diversity in general. This distraction is intentional. The reason many politicians are unwilling to address the real problems that face our country and our economy is because they are paid through campaign donations by those at the top who have created this system of inequality. We need problem solvers who only serve one master: their constituents. As an engineer, a student of politics and economics, and a person who is unbought and unafraid, I am ready and willing to take on this challenge.”
In the third district, Anna Ryon has stepped up the plate to challenge Congressman David Young. Anna will be holding an event on Wednesday, March 8th at 6 pm at Street Car 209 in Des Moines’ East Village. Anna will be officially announcing her intention to run for congress. Anna works for the Office of Consumer Advocate, where she represents consumer interests on issues in front of the Iowa Utilities Board. She lives with her husband in the Drake neighborhood of Des Moines. When asked why decided to run for congress, she had the following to say, “I intentionally avoided politics for most of my life. I always thought it was enough to have a day job where I was doing something worthwhile and I could leave the vicious game of politics to people better suited for it. But the events of the last year have changed my perspective. I can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do what I’m not willing to do myself. It’s time for me to be willing to put myself on the line and fight for what I believe in.”
In the fighting fourth, well-known party activist Kim Weaver is gearing up for a rematch with Steve King. Kim is a county chair and a member of the State Central Committee. The fourth district has been an extremely difficult district for anyone to gain traction in. In 2016 Kim did an excellent job fighting an uphill battle. She got a higher percentage of the fourth district vote than both Hillary Clinton and senate candidate Patty Judge. Kim did all this with a budget of roughly $200,000. When asked why she decided to run again, Kim had the following to say, “I’m running because I believe it is important to have our voices heard. No matter how daunting the challenge is, losing our voice is much more of a threat to democracy than the risk of losing an election.”
Progressive Iowans are extremely lucky to have three very talented women expressing an interest in running for office. The Democratic Party and our political system, in general, has been dominated by white men for far too long. If we are truly going to be the party of the working class and the People’s Party, it is imperative that we have a diverse group of voices representing us. To paraphrase Third District Chair Bill Brauch, the more diverse voices we have, the better off we’ll be.