After teaching for 38 years in Cedar Rapids schools, Randy Ray is looking to move from the classroom to the Capitol.
Ray, who teaches U.S. history at Cedar Rapids Washington and has coached a variety of sports, is running for the Iowa Legislature as a Republican in House District 68, which covers the eastern side of Linn County, stretching from Ely to Marion and encompassing Bertram.
As an educator who also has operated small businesses, Ray believes he has a wealth of knowledge regarding education and the challenges facing Iowa employers.
“Education is what we have to sell here in Iowa,” Ray, 62, said when he announced he was running for the seat that will be open due to Rep. Ken Rizer of Marion not seeking re-election.
Ray will face the winner of the June 5 Democratic primary between Scott Foens of Marion and Molly Donahue of Cedar Rapids.
The House 68 contest is expected to be a high-profile race as Republicans seek to maintain their 59-41 advantage in the Iowa House.
The district is a competitive seat that has seesawed between Democratic and Republican representation over the years.
As of March 1, the Secretary of State Office reported 7,117 voters in the district were registered as Democrats and 6,188 were registered as Republicans. No Party voters are the largest bloc — 39 percent, or 8,919.
Drawing on nearly four decades in the classroom, Ray said education is a “top priority for nearly every Iowan, myself included.”
“I spent most of my working life teaching our kids and making sure they’re prepared for life in the real world so I’ll work to find ways for parents, students, teachers and administrators to collaborate and improve education in our state,” Ray said.
He plans to retire from teaching at the end of the school year, “but I’ve still got skin in the game.”
In addition to teaching, Ray has experience in small business, owning and operating his own packing and shipping store, a trucking company and a storage business. Currently, he’s seeking a patent for an invention.
“Having been a small-business owner, I also know the importance of cutting red tape to unburden small businesses so they can grow or expand and hire more workers,” he said.
Mostly, Ray said, he plans to offer “common sense practicality.”
“You don’t have to be a professional politician” to be a good legislator, he said. As in teaching, he said, “it helps to be a good listener.”
For more on Ray, visit https://randy4iowa.com/.
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