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First Arab American lawmaker elected in Iowa, plus other Iowa House results
Voters in southeast Cedar Rapids have elected the first Arab American to serve in the Iowa Legislature.
Democrat Sami Scheetz, 26, won 65 percent of the vote in House District 78, besting Republican Anne Fairchild, according to the unofficial vote totals from the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.
“I’m just really grateful to the community, to the city of Cedar Rapids, for putting me in this position,” Scheetz said Tuesday night. ”This is where I was born and raised. These are the people that I grew up with. I’ve spent basically my whole life here in Cedar Rapids.“
Scheetz called the victory historic, noting people of Arab ancestry have lived and worked in Cedar Rapids for more than a hundred years.
It’s “really meaningful” for that community, “that’s a really integral part of Cedar Rapids and the state of Iowa, to have representation for the first time in Des Moines. … It will give me the ability to bring a different perspective to the Legislature,” Scheetz said. “But, frankly, not just the Arab American community, all working people, all working families in my district, are what I’m going to be focused on when I’m in the Legislature.”
Scheetz, a community organizer who’s worked on Democratic campaigns, wants to build financial support for public education and increase access to health care, including access to abortions. He opposes funding private school scholarships.
Here’s a look at other unofficial results of some of the other Iowa House races in Eastern Iowa:
Republican Rep. Steven Bradley of Cascade won re-eleciton to the Iowa House in District 66, with 8,415 votes to Democrat Tony Amsler’s 4,456 votes. The district covers Jones County and most of Jackson County.
Bradley, 65, who has previously represented House District 58, won the Republican June primary against Rep. Lee Hein of Monticello after they were thrown into the same district with redistricting.
Bradley said his priorities are limiting access to abortion, lowering taxes and improving health care options in Iowa.
Republican Craig Johnson of Independence won 67 percent of the vote in House District 67, besting political newcomer, Democrat Terry McGovern of rural Delaware County.
The district covers all of Delaware County, the southern half of Buchanan County, including Independence, and Cascade Township in Dubuque County.
Johnson, 59, a state senator since 2016, decided to run for the Iowa House rather than run against state Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan, when they both ended up in the same Senate district after redistricting.
He has supported bills in the past that would limit abortion rights, allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work unsupervised at child care centers, prevent schools from teaching about gender identity without a parent or guardian’s consent and make it illegal to discriminate based on a person’s vaccination status.
A late report of absentee ballots pushed Elizabeth Wilson ahead of Republican Susie Weinacht, 59, in the House 73 race. The district covers a portion of southeast Cedar Rapids and much of northern and eastern Marion.
Wilson had an approximate 300 vote lead over Weinacht, a former Cedar Rapids City Council member, when absentee votes were added to results after 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Democrat Art Staed of Cedar Rapids won re-election in House District 80 by less than 500 votes over Republican Barrett Hubbard. The district covers northeast Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Robins.
Staed, 73, has represented House District 66 since 2013 and was seeking his eighth term in the House. He said his priorities include increasing child care assistance subsidies and expanding child and independent care income tax credits.
Staed, a retired educator, favors protecting reproductive rights, reducing tuition at state universities and community college through increased state investment, and he opposes spending public dollars on private school scholarships.
Republican Cindy Golding won House District 83, garnering 8,575 votes over Democratic newcomer Kriss Nall’s 5,436 votes. The district covers northeast Mount Vernon, Lisbon, Center Point, Central City, Coggon, Palo, Alburnett and other communities in Linn County.
Golding, 70, of rural Linn County, and Nall, 38, of Center Point, both said they were focused on family and education.
Golding wants to see more research on long-term solutions for better education, including “a whole dose of accountability” for higher education. She also wants to see an improved environment for small businesses in Iowa.
Republican state Rep. Thomas Gerhold will be entering his third term in the Iowa House, easily winning House District 84 with 65 percent of the vote over Democrat Sara Yedlik. The district covers most of Benton County, including Vinton, and several townships in northwestern and southwestern Linn County.
Gerhold, 61, of Atkins, has supported a Second Amendment Preservation Act, a resolution to remove gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Act and a constitutional amendment that would state the constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to an abortion.
Democrat Amy Nielsen won re-election to the Iowa House to represent District 85 instead of her current District 77. In unofficial results, Nielsen had 9,150 votes to Republican Wayne Grell’s 4,742 votes and Libertarian Jacob Wenck’s 484 votes.
The district covers Solon, North Liberty and parts of northeastern Johnson County.
Nielsen, 45, the former mayor of North Liberty, has served three terms in the Legislature. Her priorities for 2023 include lowering costs for Iowans, protecting reproductive freedom, investing in public schools and legalizing adult use of recreational marijuana.
Democrat Elinor Levin won House District 89, which covers part of Iowa City and University Heights, with 82 percent of the votes over Republican Jacob Onken.
Levin, 35, of Iowa City, said her main priority will be making Iowa a place where young people want to stay. She said she’d like to do this by creating a progressive tax code that provides more relief to low-income Iowans, connecting to rural Iowa, improving water quality and encouraging entrepreneurship and creativity.
Republican Brad Sherman won House District 91 with 8,759 votes to Democrat Elle Wyant’s 6,214 votes,
The district covers parts of Johnson County, including Clear Creek up to Swisher, and all of Iowa County, including Williamsburg, Marengo and North English.
Sherman, 68, of rural Iowa County, is pastor of the Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville and, on his website, said he’s “pro” many issues, including life, law enforcement, the Second Amendment, election integrity, state rights, free speech, energy independence, family farming, medical privacy and the traditional family.
Republican Heather Hora won House District 92 with 7,209 votes over Democrat Eileen Baren’s 4,858 votes. The district covers all of Washington County and parts of Johnson County.
Rep. Jarad Klein, a Republican from Keota, has represented the area for 12 years and did not seek re-election.
Hora, 52, a farmer in Washington County, was endorsed by Gov. Kim Reynolds ahead of the primary election in June because she supports creating taxpayer-funded scholarships to pay for private school tuition. Her other priorities are property tax relief and strengthening programs intended to grow the state’s workforce, like Future Ready Iowa.
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