I was raised in a rural community with my parents and twin sister. I grew up working for my aunt and uncle at their family-owned grocery store, learning the ins and outs of the business from a young age. I received my undergraduate degree at Augustana College -- proudly graduating as the first in my extended family to earn a four-year degree.
I received two masters degrees from the University of Iowa in secondary education and education administration and eventually earned my doctorate in educational policy and leadership studies at the University of Northern Iowa. While working on this degree and since, I have worked as a special education teacher in Iowa.
I’ve been teaching special education and coaching at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids for the past nine years. For the past four years, I’ve also volunteered and served as a Linn County Sheriff’s Office special deputy.
My wife, Amy, also a special educator, and I have three daughters — Grace, who is eight, and five-year-old twins, Caroline and Ella.
I am running for the Iowa House to be a voice at the Capitol for everyday Iowans -- to advocate for affordable, accessible health care, fully funded public education and jobs with good wages. Public education includes academics from preschool to our community colleges and Regent institutions. Jobs with good wages will ensure our kids stick around as part of our great state.
Amy and I know what it’s like to be on the frontlines of our failing health care system. Our twin daughters have hearing loss and need intensive speech therapy, but our insurance company has refused to help cover the costs. Not being able to provide the services and health care our daughters need because of Medicaid privatization and insurance company refusals is devastating. No family should have to worry about how their kids will receive the care they need — at home or in school.
I’ve been knocking doors for over a year, and I know we’re not the only family facing these issues. As your state representative, I will hold myself and my fellow legislators accountable, so we are working for the people of Iowa; I will be a strong voice for our community at the Capitol. I would appreciate your vote in November, let’s make Iowa work again together.
• Eric Gjerde is a Democratic challenger in Iowa House District 67.
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