UI law Professor Christina Bohannan fundraises for Iowa House District 85 bid

On Wednesday night at Big Grove Brewery, University of Iowa Law Professor and 2015-2016 Faculty Senate Past President Christina Bohannan kicked off her campaign for an Iowa House seat. She spoke to a group of about 50 people and touched on issues such as education and climate change.


Katina Zentz

Iowa House candidate Christina Bohannon speaks during the kickoff event for her Iowa House bid at Big Grove on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. Bohannon advocates for combating climate change, voices for education, and addressing gun violence.

Hannah Rovner, News Reporter

Speaking to about 50 people at Big Grove Brewery Wednesday, UI Law Professor Christina Bohannan kicked off her campaign for the Iowa House to Dolly Parton’s song “Nine to Five.”

Bohannan is running against 18-year incumbent and fellow Democrat Vicki Lensing for House District 85. Lensing has been in office since 2001 and had run unopposed for at least the last decade.

“‘Why would I run for public office?’ people ask,” Bohannan told the group of people at Big Grove on Wednesday. “I am running because I love this state, moving here twenty years ago made me admire so much from the pride of public education to the movements of civil rights that have occurred here.”

In an interview Wednesday, Bohannan said she could bring her background and expertise as a constitutional law professor to lawmaking in the Iowa House.

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She said her emphasis on funding education and combating climate change, as well as her knowledge of the 2nd Amendment also made her an ideal candidate. With her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in environmental engineering and a law degree from the institution too, she credits this educational background to her interest in current political issues.

“My environmental engineering background will help in the conversation of climate change,” Bohannan said.

When asked about running against a fellow Democrat, Bohannan emphasized that voter choice is important and people choose who represents them based on the values they embody, referencing her stance on climate change and her closeness to the university community through her role as a professor at the UI.

Lensing did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Republicans hold Iowa’s three branches of state government, the House, Senate, and the governor’s office.

Isaac Caverly, a third-year UI law student who attended Bohannan’s fundraiser, said Bohannan’s teaching skills would translate to the Statehouse.

“She is one of the most caring individuals I have met,” Caverly said. “Professor Bohannan pushes people to think and do things outside of their comfort zone.”

Caverly added that even though Bohannan is running against a fellow Democrat, he thought the Statehouse needed younger voices.

“Professor Bohannan has strong new ideas that are full of empathy, and these will benefit her when connecting with constituents in her district [if elected],” said Caverly.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Bohannan touted her personal experiences with higher education as a first-generation college student in a press release.

“I am the product of public education,” Bohannan said in the release. “Education provides people of all backgrounds — like me — the opportunity for a better life.”

As well as being a law professor here at the UI for almost twenty years, Bohannan has served as a Faculty Senate Past President.

In this role, “she drafted and championed a university-wide policy that gave hundreds of non-tenure track faculty greater job security, a path to promotion, and grievance rights,” according to her campaign website.

Tom Vaughn, a professor in the College of Public Health and a colleague in the faculty senate, spoke highly of Bohannan.

“I support her because of how value-oriented she is, the leadership initiatives in the University have helped create inclusivity. Her communication skills are extremely thorough and clear,” said Vaughn.