116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Democrats running for Iowa House District 89 disagree on the role they should play if elected.
“I say ‘nobody puts Baby in the corner,’” Currin said, using a line from the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing.” “I’m going to be loud. If that Legislature has Democrats still in the minority, I’m going to be a damn loud minority. I won’t be quiet.”
Currin, 52, a labor activist from Iowa City, is running against Levin, 34, a private writing tutor from Iowa City, to represent House District 89, which includes part of Iowa City and University Heights.
Rep. Mary Mascher, a Democrat who has represented the district for 28 years, announced in November she would not run again.
The winner of the Democratic primary June 7 is expected to face Jacob Onken, a Republican, in the November general election.
Onken is not listed as a candidate by the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office because when he filed he listed the former district number, but the Johnson County Republicans plan to nominate him at convention, said Karen Fesler, a Johnson County GOP organizer.
Levin is running for office because she thinks the laws crafted by Republicans in power are deterring working-age people from staying in Iowa.
“We have so much more place than people, but the people create so many opportunities to be a part of something,” she said of Iowa. “When we don’t encourage young people — and by young I mean under 50 — to want to stay here, organizations die, opportunities get lost, people retire and no one takes over. There are going to be fewer and fewer of those beautiful, incredible opportunities people can take advantage of.”
Levin wants to see the Iowa Department of Natural Resources get the funding it needs to clean up the state’s water and for the state to do more to encourage conservation farming, such as reduced tillage and fertilizer use. Iowa must support solar and wind power, which produce less greenhouse gas than coal and petroleum, she said.
If elected, Levin plans to spend time listening to constituents — not just hers, but those in other districts who don’t think their elected officials represent their interests.
“I don’t shy away from having conversations that will be uncomfortable for me if I think they will be important,” she said.
Occupation: Private writing tutor
Currin decided to run for office after recovering from prostate cancer.
“If I’m not going to get busy with the activity of dying then I need to get busy with the activity of living,” he said, paraphrasing a quote from another movie, “The Shawshank Redemption.”
He’s had enough of an Iowa Legislature in which Republicans have such a large majority that they don’t have to work with Democrats. The GOP controls the Iowa House, Senate and governor’s office.
“The priority I have by winning a seat in such a safe district is having a platform to go to the districts that are swing districts and help get more Democrats elected,” he said.
Currin supports local control, whether it’s over mask wearing in schools or funding of state universities.
Occupation: Labor activist
Family: Single, godfather
Both he and Levin oppose a legislative plan to tie higher education funding to in-demand professions. They also do not think the state should fund private school scholarships, also known as vouchers.
“Public funds for public schools,” Currin said.
“That’s one of the clearest places we can speak to rural voters,” Levin added.
Both Currin and Levin believe women should be the ones making reproductive decisions. This matters because the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to overturn part or all of the Roe v. Wade court case that legalized many abortions.
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