Small business owner John Raley announces run in Iowa Senate District 45

Small business owner John Raley is the second candidate running to replace Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City.

The+Iowa+Senate+gavels+in+and+begins+a+special+session+on+redistricting+maps+on+Tuesday%2C+Oct.+5%2C+2021%2C+at+the+Iowa+State+Capitol+in+Des+Moines.

Kelsey Kremer/The Register / USA

The Iowa Senate gavels in and begins a special session on redistricting maps on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.

Emily Delgado, Politics Reporter


John Raley, a Democratic candidate for Iowa Senate, said he is running on the principles of transparency and accountability in the state government.

“​​As a state senator, I will work to ensure that the same opportunities exist today and for future generations,” Raley wrote on his campaign website.

Raley is the second candidate to announce a run for Iowa Senate District 45, the first being Iowa City City Councilor Janice Weiner. Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, who currently holds the seat, has announced he will retire after completing his current term

Raley moved from Chicago to Cedar Rapids to attend Coe College has stayed in the state since. He is involved with the Iowa City Community School District and a member of the Iowa City Business Partnership. 

Coming from a family of educators, Raley understands the importance educational institutions play in society, seeing Iowa university graduates leaving the state a major problem. 

“We’re losing a lot of our brain power. I call it brain drain because people are coming here getting their education, and then they’re taking off and they’re leaving. We need to keep them here. So we need to incentivize,” Raley said in an interview with The Daily Iowan

As a small business owner, Raley said he understands the importance of business to the economy and fostering employment opportunities. 

“I know people flourish when they are equipped to make informed financial decisions,” Raley wrote in his candidacy statement. “I am so passionate about this topic that I am working with state and national leaders on a financial literacy curriculum for high school students.”

Raley is running for Senate in a year when several incumbent lawmakers in Johnson County will not seek reelection, including Bolkcom, who plans to retire after his current term ends.

“I’m hoping that there’s many more people that get into my race, because I think that the more democracy that we have, the more activism that we have, then the more everybody else gets excited, and they go to the polls,” Raley said.

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