Anesa Kajtazovic formally entering Iowa 1st District Democratic race

Democrats will select a candidate in the June 2014 primary

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After six weeks of exploring a candidacy for the U.S. House in Iowa’s 1st District, Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic is formally entering the Democratic primary race today.

The Waterloo Democrat who described herself as a “Bruce Braley Democrat,” will announce her candidacy in a series of news conferences around the district, including a stop at 2:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Building, 50 2nd Ave. Bridge, Cedar Rapids.

Her entry in the race brings to five the number of Democrats seeking the 2014 nomination to run for the seat now held by Rep. Bruce Braley. He’s running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Tom Harkin who is retiring.

The others are Rep. Pat Murphy of Dubuque, former state lawmaker and Iowa Utilities Board member Swati Dandekar of Marion, business owner and City Councilwoman Monica Vernon and attorney Dave O’Brien, both of Cedar Rapids.

Democrats will select a candidate in the June 2014 primary.

She’s running “because I believe that government should make people’s lives better,” Kajtazovic said and promised to “bring a fresh perspective to solve the gridlock and bring about meaningful reform for the middle class.”

Kajtazovic, who works for a non-profit consumer credit counseling agency and is in her second term in the Iowa House, heard from many Democrats during her listening tour around the 20-county northeast Iowa district there’s a “need for a new generation of leadership … in the mold of Tom Harkin and Bruce Braley that makes economic security and a growing middle class our number one priority.”

Like Dandekar, who emigrated from India, Kajtazovic calls herself an example of the American Dream. She was 10 when her family immigrated to Waterloo from war-town Bosnia.

“Only in America could a 10-year-old refugee rise up, graduate from college with a double major in three years and then be elected to a state legislature at the age of 24,” she said.

However, she believes attaining the American Dream is becoming increasingly difficult for middle class Americans.

“We must keep the American Dream alive and we can do that by providing all Iowans and all Americans with a fair shot,” Kajtazovic said.

Kajtazovic’s other news conferences will be at 10 a.m. at the Marshall County Courthouse in Marshalltown, noon at the Black Hawk County Democratic headquarters in Waterloo and at 4:30 p.m. at Groen Properties in Dubuque.

The 1st District stretches from Marshalltown north to Minnesota and east to the Mississippi River. It includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Dubuque.

For more on Kajtazovic, visit

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