Government

Bohannan mounts primary challenge to Lensing in Iowa City Statehouse district

University of Iowa Faculty Senate President Christina Bohannan speaks during a meeting in the Old Capitol Building in Iowa City on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015. (The Gazette)
University of Iowa Faculty Senate President Christina Bohannan speaks during a meeting in the Old Capitol Building in Iowa City on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa City residents deserve a state representative who’s “all in” when it comes to “championing Iowa’s progressive values,” according to Christina Bohannan, who announced her candidacy for the Statehouse in House 85.

“Iowa has a history of supporting common-sense progressive values,” the University of Iowa law professor said. “It is time to restore Iowa’s values, reclaim Iowa’s legacy, and fulfill Iowa’s promise.”

Bohannan announced her primary challenge to Rep. Vicki Lensing, a Democrat who first was elected in 2000, in a video Monday. She’s planning a campaign kickoff fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City.

According to Bohannan, the state is “losing the values that make Iowa Iowa” because the state is disinvesting in priorities including education, health care and mental health.

“Iowa City can help to lead the state forward, win back Iowa’s values, and make our state better for everyone,” she said.

In the video, Bohannan, 48, the mother of a high school senior, traced her history from a working-class family in Florida to being the first in her family to attend college to the UI, where she has taught for 20 years and served as Faculty Senate president. Before arriving at the UI, she was an environmental engineer for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

She lists the restoration of union collective bargaining rights and a higher minimum wage among her priorities.

“We must build an economy from the ground up, and we can’t do that if people can’t afford decent housing or are one illness away from bankruptcy,” Bohannan said. “If we build a strong workforce and a solid middle class with money to spend, I am confident that businesses will be happy to locate to Iowa.”

Climate change is the biggest threat facing Iowa and the nation, Bohannan said.

“I believe in evidence-based decision-making. It is clear that climate change is real and is an existential threat,” she said. “Iowa is experiencing some of the worst effects in the country, but we could also lead the way in alternative energies and sustainability.”

Lensing, who last faced an opponent in either a primary or general election in 2000, plans to approach the 2020 election as she has every election.

“When you are an elected official, you have to keep working all of the time,” Lensing said. “So I will do all the work, reach out to all the voters and be in the places where I need to be” in the district that now covers much of northern Iowa City, including Manville Heights.

The co-owner of Lensing Funeral and Cremation Services in Iowa City and Coralville, Lensing is the ranking Democrat on the Environmental Protection Committee and is a member of the House Government Oversight, State Government and State Government Efficiency and Review committees.

For more about Bohannan, visit BohannanForIowa.com.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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