Former fighter pilot, base commander running for Iowa House 68 seat

Rizer says he wants to make government more efficient, effective

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During 25 years in the Air Force, Ken Rizer was a jet fighter pilot and a base commander responsible for 60,000 people and a $250 million budget.

Now the retired Air Force colonel wants to serve again – in the Iowa House.

Rizer, a senior vice president for operations at Goodwill of the Heartland since last fall, said that since retiring from the Air Force, he has been looking for ways to serve his community.

“I’ve been working to employ people with disabilities and homeless vets, so I know what it means to give a hand up to those in need,” he said. “Service to others is in my blood, which is why I’m running for the Iowa House.”

Rizer plans to seek the Republican nomination to challenge freshman Rep. Daniel Lundby, D-Marion, in House 68. The district covers eastern Linn County from Marion to Bertram and Ely.

He emphasized his leadership and experience. Rizer has led men and women in combat and was the base commander for Andrews Air Force Base, home of Air Force One. There he was responsible for a $252 million budget, opened a charter school for children of deployed military parents, ensured the safety of senior U.S. and foreign leaders, and increased area small business contracts by $4 million. During that time, Andrews was selected as the No. 1 Air Force-led joint base in the Department of Defense.

As a House member, Rizer said he would work to make government more efficient and effective, create a stronger Iowa economy and promote opportunities for future Iowa generations to prosper. He wants to create a “vibrant Iowa economy that will be the envy of the nation” by expanding economic growth and creating better-paying jobs.

Although his experience is different than most people in House 68, Rizer said as a husband and father with three teenagers and one child in college, he can relate to “kitchen table issues: How do you pay for college? How do you make ends meet?”

“Iowans deserve certainty from their state government, not burdensome regulations and out of control spending,” Rizer said. “Now is the time to increase opportunities for Iowans by investing in a skilled and competitive workforce.”

Rizer and his wife, Cheri, both lived in the Marion area as children. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, he also has master’s in public administration and strategic studies. He hopes to complete his MBA at the University of Iowa in 2014.

He and his family moved 15 times in 25 years, but when Rizer retired, they decide to return to Marion.

“For the entire time I was in the Air Force, Linn County was our home base,” he said. When he was on deployment, separated from his wife and children, “they would come home to Linn County.”

For more on Rizer and the campaign, visit

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