Ex-Iowa Citian Appel aims for congressional spot


An Iowa City native hoping to claim a seat in the U.S. Congress returned to a familiar local haunt Tuesday to emphasize to voters the need to improve the nation’s shrinking middle-class.

In an appearance in front of roughly 40 people at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., former state Sen. Staci Appel said such improvement won’t come unless bipartisan support on Capitol Hill is reached.

“You have to be open to talk to anybody and be willing to listen to them,” Appel said. “And acknowledge when they’re right. Democrats don’t have all the right ideas. Republicans don’t have all the right ideas. We have to come together.”

Appel, 48, said she supports a national minimum-wage bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin — which would raise the wage standard from $7.25 to $10.10 — because it has not increased in nearly seven years.

Appel, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, now resides in Ackworth, Iowa. She is seeking the 3rd Congressional District seat, which became open when Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, announced his retirement in December 2013.

Along with hoping for a minimum-wage increase, she said she believes supporting small businesses will translate into more jobs.

One answer to that could come with making more small-business loans available, she said.

Appel said Tuesday’s appearance arose from her local ties.

“I grew up here in Iowa City; my folks wanted to help host a fundraiser,” Appel told The Daily Iowan. “Two of the senators and some of the House members I knew in the Legislature wanted to help do something for me, and so we’re here and just talking about the message and raising some money today.”

Several state representatives and colleagues of Appel were present Tuesday evening.

“She was a really good advocate for families and middle-class Iowans,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City. “I’m here as a supporter tonight to bring our first woman congressman for Iowa.”

Although there are several women not only vying for Congress but also hoping to be the first woman to represent Iowa nationally, Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, said he believe Appel will be that woman.

“She’s been a friend; I know she stands up for Iowans,” Jacoby said. “I think it’s very important for us to have a woman in Congress in Washington, D.C. I think it’s also important that we have the right woman. Staci is that person.”

Across the state’s political aisle, six candidates are seeking the Republican nomination: Secretary of State Matt Schultz, physical-education teacher Joe Grandanette, David Young, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, biofuels-association Director Monte Shaw, Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, and construction company owner Robert Cramer.

When none of the six candidates garnered 35 percent of the necessary votes in the June 3 primary, the nomination process went to convention — a political term associated with the appointment of a nominee at a convention.

The Republican Party of Iowa is set to hold its 3rd District convention on Saturday at Creston High School, where 513 delegates will be eligible to participate.

The candidate nominated will need to receive 50 percent plus one vote.

Appel is not the only Iowa woman running for Congress.

In the 2nd Congressional District, Mariannette Miller-Meeks is running for the third time against Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst is running for Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat against Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.

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