Democrats visit Simpson College in preparation of midterm election


Caleb Geer

Warren County Democrats hosted a campaign rally in Black Box, featuring Congressional candidate Christina Bohannan, gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear, Iowa Senate candidate Lisa Fleishman and Iowa House candidate Joe Kerner.

by Kyle Werner, Feature Editor

With the midterm election days away, four Iowa democrats running for office came to Simpson Thursday evening, speaking to both students and Warren County constituents. 

Gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear, Representative candidate Christina Bohannan, State Senatorial candidate Lisa Fleishman and Iowa House candidate Joe Kerner all stood on the stage and spoke about the Iowa they strive to see. 

 Simpson alumni Tatum Clayburn helped coordinate the event as the finance manager of Dejear for Iowa. 

“It truly was a full circle moment for me. I have been trying to get Deidre down to Simpson since I started in May,” Clayburn said. “I am very proud to be a Simpson alum, having the opportunity to bring someone who took a chance and believed in me back to Simpson was really an honor.”

DeJear has been making her rounds across the state as a part of her “Worth the Work Tour.”

DeJear, a native of Mississippi, is running against incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds. She graduated from Drake and has lived in Iowa since. She also co-founded the nonprofit “Back to School Iowa” to support youth to continue in their educational endeavors in 2005.

DeJear, if elected, will be among the first Black women elected as governor in the country.

“Is your education system good enough for the public right? Is access to reproductive health care good enough for the public?” DeJear asked the audience with their heads shaking. “Well, it appears that we should be making some alterations, and we have the opportunity to do so.”

Caleb Geer

DeJear emphasized that the opportunity for change lies in voters’ hands.

“We have this tool called democracy that allows us to exercise our right and to alter government because right now, we have a government that’s creating policy for this half of the room,” she said. “Meanwhile, this side of the room is saying, but what about us?”

One of DeJear’s major issues is access to mental health care in Iowa.

“There are less than 30 child psychiatrists in Iowa, and we have more than half a million kids. We have less than 750 mental health care beds in the state, and we have a population of more than 3 million people,” she said. “We are literally perpetuating the crisis under this governor’s guidance right before our eyes.”

Christina Bohannan, professor of law at the University of Iowa and current representative of Iowa House District 85, is running to represent Iowa’s first congressional district. Running against incumbent Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks, who won last election cycle by six votes, Bohannan said she hopes to get the vote of college students in-district.

Kyle Werner

“I want to ask you to reject extremism. I want to ask you to seek the truth because it matters,” Bohannan said. “We are in a moment right now in our country where there are so many lies being told, so much misinformation being spread and it’s causing us to move to the extremes more and more. And I don’t know what the endpoint is here for our country or for our democracy, but it’s not good.”

Lisa Fleishman, a Warren County native, is running for Iowa Senate District 11. She said she hopes to give constituents a voice and reflect those values in the legislature.

“Unfortunately, we have taught Republican leaders that they can get away with anything. They can lie to our faces, no consequences,” Fleishman said. “They can propose legislation that disrespects us. They tell us over and over again that we cannot be trusted to make our own life choices.”

Fleishman said Iowa electors don’t reflect the values of everyday Iowans, running to listen to constituents and give them a voice.

Iraq veteran Joe Kerner is running for Iowa House District 21. He said he wants to bring back the lessons and values he learned while deployed overseas. “All those lessons learned [overseas], come back to making this place, right here in Iowa, a better one.”

Spending eight years in the military and coming from a gun-owning home, Kerner is heavily campaigning on the basis of gun rights. To him, it’s all about safety; it’s proper maintenance, it’s safe storage, it’s proper gun education. “It’s critical to do those things.”

Kerner said that Iowa Republicans aren’t doing enough to protect constituents.

“We have Republicans proposing exactly where there should be legislation to allow anyone, whether they should have a firearm or not, to obtain. But they’re not offering any alternatives to make things safer”

Kyle Werner