116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WEST DES MOINES — Promising new leadership built on hard work, inclusion and plans to “restore” Iowa, small-business owner and political activist Deidre DeJear on Saturday officially launched her 2022 bid to be the state’s next governor.
“As your governor, I will spend my time working on solutions by bringing together Iowans from river to river to meet our challenges head on,” DeJear told supporters gathered in a thriving commercial district that was revitalized from 1993 flood damage. “I will do the work to ensure that every Iowan can provide for themselves and for their families, and that includes working for a sustainable wage across this entire state.”
DeJear is the second major Democratic candidate to enter the 2022 race. She said she has heard concerns from Iowans during a recent exploratory “homework” tour that she is convinced can be overcome with focused leadership and a comprehensive economic plan that opens opportunities and captures the state’s future potential in a way currently not addressed by the “cookie cutter approach” of Statehouse Republicans led by Gov. Kim Reynolds that “barely scratches the surface.”
“The priority must be put on Iowans,” said DeJear, who pledged to work to improve and modernize education, pay teachers more with the help of restored collective bargaining rights, boost manufacturing while addressing challenges associated with worker shortages, skills gaps and sustainable wages, bring farmers “to the table” in making policy decisions, and expand and improve mental health and health care services across the state.
“There is nothing that I said today that we can’t overcome,” she told a midday rally. “It won’t be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.”
DeJear, 35, is a small-business owner who has helped more than 600 businesses with marketing and business strategies. A Mississippi native, she said she moved to Iowa to attend Drake University and fell in love with the state and its people. In 2006, she founded her own marketing firm, Caleo Enterprises. She lives in Des Moines with her husband, Marvin.
DeJear launched her bid after an exploratory tour with the backing of seven current and former state legislators, three former Iowa Democratic Party chairs and more than a dozen community activists.
During Saturday’s rally, Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, said DeJear will make sure that everyone in Iowa is represented, while Iowa City activist Tony Currin applauded DeJear’s “historic candidacy,” calling her “a Black woman from small-business America” who “knows how to get things done.”
“I would follow her into hell if she says she has a plan to get us out,” said Currin.
DeJear joins state Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, in the 2022 gubernatorial primary field with other Democrats like State Auditor Rob Sand and 3rd District Congresswoman Cindy Axne also considering possible bids.
Primary elections are scheduled for June 7, 2022. The winner of next year’s June 7 Democratic primary likely will face Reynolds, who has not formally announced her intentions but is expected to seek re-election in 2022.
DeJear said she wanted to announce her candidacy now so she can build a statewide campaign that can “meet people where they are” after being thwarted by issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re going to get out there as much as we possibly can. Whoever will invite me to be in their faces, here I come,” she told reporters after her rally.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann issued a statement Saturday in response to DeJear’s official entry into the 2022 gubernatorial race.
"Iowa Democrats are signaling they are joined at the hip with their out-of-touch national Democrat counterparts," said Kaufmann. "Iowans overwhelmingly support Voter ID, and if DeJear thinks the elimination of Voter ID will win Iowans over, she will be sadly mistaken yet again.
“No matter who Democrats select, none will compare to Gov. Reynolds,” added Kaufmann. “Iowans believe in her because she got children back in the classroom, cut taxes, and proved she is the leader Iowa needed."
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