Iowa House candidate Adam Zabner emphasizes need for university funding

While meeting with the University Democrats at Iowa on Wednesday, Zabner said that if he wins the election, he would propose free university and community college for Iowa students who commit to staying in the state following graduation.


Lauren White

Adam Zabner, a candidate for Iowa House District 90, met with University Democrats at Iowa on Wednesday to discussion his campaign priorities.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

With nine months until the 2022 midterm elections, candidates are amping up their campaigning in Iowa City. Adam Zabner, Democratic candidate for Iowa House District 90, met with the University Democrats at Iowa on Wednesday to discuss his priorities. 

If he makes it to the Statehouse, Zabner said he would advocate for creating a cleaner environment through public transportation and renewable resources and support legislation to offer free tuition for students who commit to staying in the state following graduation. 

“We need to double our efforts in reinvesting in our universities and our public schools to take education seriously and make young iowans as talented as they possibly can be,” Zabner said. 

Zabner said that in a state where Republicans hold the trifecta — the House, Senate, and governorship — the most important thing that Democrats in Iowa can do is convince people to vote blue. 

The Iowa City native said that he plans to dedicate time to his district but also help Democrats in rural areas by knocking on doors. 

Finding common ground with Republican voters is important, Zabner said, and by making connections he can have the meaningful and valuable discussions necessary for flipping the statehouse. 

“The best thing I’ve learned is the importance of listening to someone. That can be really hard to do and sometimes you have to listen to things you don’t agree with, but it’s crucial,” Zabner said. “I sit there and listen and try to understand where people are coming from.”

Zabner said he would be an advocate for the university by making sure Iowans know the amount of innovation and research that comes from the university and emphasizing the benefit of funding it. 

At 22, Zabner is one of the youngest candidates running in the state, and he said that his age would be an asset to Des Moines because he understands how young people may be worried about the future of the state. He said he would bring new ideas and energy to the Iowa House.

He looking to replace Rep. Christina Bohannan, D-Iowa City, who is running for the U.S. Congress in 2022.

Zabner isn’t the only young candidate in this election. Andrew Dunn, another Democratic candidate for House District 90, is 23 and Dylan Harvey, Democratic candidate for House District 89, is 21. 

On Feb. 15 Gov. Kim Reynolds’ last extension of  the emergency proclamation of COVID-19 in the state ended. Zabner said that moving forward he plans to accentuate the continued need for Iowans to be vaccinated by shutting down misinformation about the vaccine and the pandemic. 

Zabner’s parents immigrated from Venezuela 30 years ago, he said, and he is worried that if moving today, they wouldn’t make the same decision — this is the reason he wanted to run for a state government position. 

“Whether it’s the rise of xenophobia in our state, the lack of opportunity, decreasing rankings from our public schools — we used to be number one in the country — we’re moving in the wrong direction,” Zabner said.