116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The League of Women Voters of Linn County will host candidate forums Saturday ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
The forums will be held in person and livestreamed on YouTube.
The forums will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at Kirkwood Community College’s Linn Regional Center, 1770 Boyson Road, in Hiawatha.
Attendees can submit questions during the forums or ahead of time through an online form. Questions must be submitted no later than 10 p.m. Thursday.
All area candidates running for Iowa House and Senate districts representing Linn County were invited to participate in the forums and share their legislative priorities before the Nov. 8 election, according to the league.
House districts 73 and 74 and Senate District 37
Democrats Elizabeth Wilson of Marion and Eric Gjerde and Molly Donahue, both of Cedar Rapids, will participate in a forum from 9 to 9:45 a.m.
Gjerde, a Democratic incumbent, is seeking re-election to a second term representing Iowa House District 74, which encompasses parts of Cedar Rapids and Marion. He is running unopposed.
Wilson is running against Republican former Cedar Rapids City Council member Susie Weinacht to represent Iowa House District 73, which also encompasses parts of Cedar Rapids and Marion. Weinacht has a scheduling conflict, according to the League of Women Voters.
Donahue, a Democrat in the Iowa House, faces Republican newcomer Kurt Bendixen in the race for Iowa Senate District 37 representing eastern Cedar Rapids and Marion. Donahue narrowly defeated newcomer Austin Frerick in the June Democratic primary for the seat.
Bendixen did not respond to the invitation to participate, according to the league.
House districts 77 and 78 and Senate District 39
Democrats Jeff Cooling, Sami Scheetz and Liz Bennett, all of Cedar Rapids, will participate in a forum from 10 to 10:45 a.m.
Cooling, a Cedar Rapids union leader, is running unopposed for Iowa House District 77, which includes much of Cedar Rapids from 16th Avenue SW to the Linn-Johnson County line. Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, D-Cedar Rapids, represents that area, but is running for an open Linn County Board seat.
Scheetz, a community organizer, faces Republican newcomer Anne Fairchild for the Iowa House District 78 seat, which largely encompasses southeast Cedar Rapids. If elected, Scheetz would become Iowa’s first Arab American state lawmaker.
The newly redrawn district has been represented by Bennett, who is running for an open Senate seat against Republican Edward “Bernie” Hayes.
Both Fairchild and Hayes declined to participate in the forum, according to the league.
Bennett, the first openly LGBTQ women to serve in the Iowa House, defeated labor organizer Joe Zahorik in the June primary for the open Senate District 39 seat following Democratic state Sen. Rob Hogg’s decision to not seek re-election.
House districts 79 and 80 and Senate District 40
Democratic state Rep. Tracy Ehlert of Cedar Rapids, who is running unopposed for re-election, and Democratic incumbents Art Staed and Todd Taylor and Republicans Barrett Hubbard and Kris Gulick will participate in a forum from 11 to 11:45 a.m.
Staed faces a rematch with Hubbard in his bid for re-election in House District 80, a district created by redistricting. Staed currently represents House District 66, which covers northeast Cedar Rapids.
Hubbard unsuccessfully challenged Staed to represent House District 66 in the 2020 election.
Taylor faces Gulick, a first-time statehouse candidate, in his bid for a second Senate term after serving 12 terms in the Iowa House. The pair are running to represent Senate District 40, which covers Robins, Hiawatha and parts of northwest, northeast and southwest Cedar Rapids.
House districts 83 and 84 and Senate District 42
House District 83 candidate Kris Nall, House District 84 candidate Sara Yedlik, and Senate District 42 candidates Charlie McClintock, Bruce Gardner and Jessica Wiskus will participate in a forum from noon to 12:45 p.m.
Nall, a Democrat, faces Republican and small business owner Cindy Golding in the race for Iowa House District 83 in rural Linn County.
Golding said he was not available to participate in the forum, according to the League of Women Voters.
Yedlik, a Democrat and Vinton teacher, is running to challenge Republican incumbent state Rep. Thomas Gerhold of Atkins for the Iowa House District 84 seat that covers most of Benton County, including Vinton, and part of Linn County. The League of Women Voters did not receive a response from Gerhold about participating in the forum, according the league’s website.
McClintock, a state representative from Alburnett, won the Republican primary in June, beating out Colman Silbernagel by two votes after a recount in the race for Iowa Senate District 42, which covers much of rural Linn and Benton counties. McClintock faces Wiskus, the Democratic nominee, and Gardner, who is running as a no-party candidate.
For more information about the forums, to submit questions or for access the livestream, go to www.lwvlinncounty.org.
More information about each candidate can be found at VOTE411.org.
The League of Women Voters Johnson County is a nonpartisan political organization dedicated to keeping an informed electorate through advocacy and community events.
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