Johnson County House, Senate candidates agree on importance of prioritizing young Iowans

At a forum hosted by University Democrats at Iowa, Johnson County House and Senate candidates discussed education, police reform, and the importance of prioritizing young Iowans.


Democratic legislative candidates in Johnson County answer questions at a forum hosted by University Democrats at Iowa on April 20, 2022.

Emily Delgado , Politics Reporter

Democratic House and Senate candidates in Johnson County agreed the statehouse needs to prioritize young Iowans. 

The University Democrats at Iowa held a forum for Johnson County House and Senate candidates on Wednesday. The candidates for House District 89 and House District 90 were in attendance, as well as the candidates for Senate District 45. 

“We need to get back to showing young people that we believe in progress, and that there is a future for them here,” Iowa House 89 candidate Elinor Levin said. 

Retaining young people within the state is a goal all candidates said they want to address if elected. 

“I think keeping people here starts with going back to some of the things that have worked in the past and what we need to work on in the future,” Iowa Senate District 45 candidate Janice Weiner said. 

Iowa House District 90 candidates Andrew Dunn and Christy Wolfe said young people are tired of mean and aggressive policies. Wolfe cited an example of these aggressive policies is the recent legislation passed barring transgender girls to play in school sports.  

“Some of the legislation that came out in the Iowa house this year was just downright nasty, the transgender athlete bill, there was absolutely no reason for that,” Wolfe said. “It was just about being mean. And I think more and more people are getting tired of that, so I think that ability to cross the aisle and work with others is going to be important.”

Adam Zabner, Iowa House District 90 candidate said one way to resolve losing young people after graduation is by providing free tuition for public institutions. 

“I’m proposing that the universities and community colleges in our state should be tuition free for students that commit to staying in Iowa after graduation,” Zabner said. 

All the candidates are running for seats that are empty as the incumbents will not be seeking reelection. 

Iowa House District 89 candidates Tony Currin and Levin are running for the open seat that is being left by Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, who is retiring. 

Dunn, Wolfe and Zabner, the candidates for House District 90 are running to replace Rep. Christina Bohannan, D-Iowa City, who is not seeking reelection as she is running for U.S. Congress. 

Iowa Senate District 45 candidates  John Raley and Weiner are running to replace Sen. Joe Bolkcom, who will be retiring. 

The candidates agreed that the government should not have a say in bodily autonomy and abortion, in addition they agreed there needs to be more police reform. 

In a speed round of questions, the candidates all agreed Iowa needs to decriminalize weed and cannabis and expunge records for people who have records concerning marijuana.

“I support legalization and expungement as well. As well as the equitable distribution of licensure for dispensaries to communities,” Dunn said.

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