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House District 91 rivals run for equity, against government overreach
The district includes Iowa County, part of Johnson County
Even before last year’s legislative redistricting, Democrat Elle Wyant was plotting to challenge her Iowa House District 75’s Republican representative — given “he didn’t represent me.”
“He did not hold the same values that I had,” Wyant, 47, told The Gazette, talking — in part — about LGTBQ representation and interaction in the Iowa Legislature.
The race today looks different from the one Wyant first eyed. When lawmakers redrew districts, they created a new and open House District 91 seat — covering parts of Johnson County, including Clear Creek up to Swisher, and all of Iowa County, including Williamsburg, Marengo and North English.
Some communities in the new district used to be covered by House District 75, represented by Rep. Thomas Gerhold, R-Atkins, including Marengo — near where Wyant lives.
Running against her for the new District 91 seat is Brad Sherman, 68, who lives near Williamsburg in Iowa County, according to his website. Sherman didn’t respond to The Gazette’s outreach and repeated requests for an interview.
He currently serves, according to his website, as chair for the Iowa County Republicans and as pastor and president of Solid Rock Christian Church, which he co-founded in the 1980s, and today sits just west of the Vine Tavern along Second Street in Coralville.
Sherman touts his experience working in farm drainage and land improvement; as a heavy equipment operator and mechanic; in the construction trade building commercial and residential buildings; and in real estate development.
“There is a serious disconnect between politicians and the real hardworking people who actually get things done in this country,” according to Sherman’s website. “This disconnect exists largely because we have big donors and big businesses controlling career politicians who are more concerned about position and power than people.”
He takes the “pro” stance on 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.
Sherman on his website said he’s been married for 47 years, with four children and 13 grandchildren. Before moving to Williamsburg, Sherman said he lived in Johnson County for 30 years.
Wyant told The Gazette she was born and raised in Marengo and attended Iowa State University, earning a communications degree in 1999. Growing up, she helped her family farm over 2,000 acres.
After graduating from ISU, Wyant got a job in commercial real estate in Kansas City for four years before taking a job nearly two decades ago with UPS — where she remains today, working in air cargo sales at UPS Airlines.
Shortly after starting at UPS, her family diversified its farming operation by planting grapes — opening Fireside Winery in Marengo in 2005 and later acquiring Ackerman Winery in the Amana Colonies.
She’s also mom to two teenage daughters and is an “outspoken LGBTQ+ activist,” having started her transformative journey in 2010 — about a year after her youngest daughter was born.
Wyant served as chair for UPS’ LGBTQ Business Resource Group — growing it from 30 to 130 members — and with the UPS Public Affairs ambassador program in 2018, working with members of Congress. She currently serves on the board of directors for One Iowa, an advocacy group for Iowans who identify as LGBTQ.
Sherman hasn’t run for office before but has worked in caucuses, political conventions and presidential campaigns going back to the 1980s. On his website, he noted endorsements from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Sam Clovis, former chief policy adviser for former President Donald Trump; and the state director for the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm.
“Like many Americans today, I find the socialist and Marxist trends that are pushing our nation ever closer to the tyranny of communism very alarming,” according to Sherman’s site. “I can’t sit back and let these evils destroy the freedoms that have made America a blessing to the entire world. This is my pledge to you if I am elected to the State House: I won’t become a rubber stamp for any donor or any career politician.”
In the Republican primary in June, Sherman faced five opponents and garnered nearly 56 percent of the vote. Wyant said she was surprised to be the only Democrat to run for the seat.
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