Editorial | Daily Iowan Editorial Board endorses Weiner, Dunn for Iowa Legislature

Janice Weiner and Andrew Dunn will be strong voices for progressive action in the Capitol. In District 89, both Tony Currin and Elinor Levin would be excellent representatives for Iowa City.


Iowa City voters will have the opportunity to elect three new representatives to the Iowa Legislature this year, as two long-standing legislators retire and one representative seeks election to the U.S. House. 

It’s an important moment in Iowa City politics that will likely determine who represents us for several years to come, and voters should take a good look at the candidates who are running in their districts. 

The Daily Iowan’s editorial board spoke with candidates running in the Democratic primary election in Senate District 45, House District 89, and House District 90, all of which cover portions of the University of Iowa and student housing. There are no Republicans running in those districts, so the board made endorsements among the Democratic candidates for the primary election coming up on June 7.

Senate District 45

Janice Weiner’s background and experience, alongside progressive policies, deem her fit for the Democratic candidate for Iowa State Senate District 45.

As an Iowa City native, Weiner understands the community and the commitment it takes to serve as a representative. Her experience in the Iowa City City Council, as a leader in her synagogue, and serving the country as a diplomat offer a wide skill set she’ll bring to the legislature. 

Iowa Senate candidate Janice Weiner answers questions during an interview with The Daily Iowan in the Adler Journalism Building on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, when she was then running for City Council. (Katie Goodale)

Although Republicans could keep control of both legislatures in 2022, her experience as a diplomat has taught her what it is like to work with people across the political spectrum. 

“As my one of my main jobs in the Foreign Service, no matter where I served, and what country was to get to know people across the political spectrum, understand what they cared about, what made them tick, and why they were they were looking at policy in a particular way so that I could understand the politics as a whole of that country report to Washington but  mostly really get perspective,” Weiner said.

Her priorities as a candidate, which include funding Iowa’s higher education institutions, will help the state grow and encourage people to stay in the state. Weiner hopes to reward students who graduate and stay in Iowa by helping pay their loans and increase scholarships funded by the government. However, the most important point she emphasized is increasing the funding in the state Board of Regents’ universities.

“I think that it would be in the legislature’s and in the state’s best interests to more robustly fund the regents’ universities, their engines of growth in the states,” Weiner said.

House District 90

For House District 90, which covers much of the University of Iowa, the DI’s Editorial Board endorses Andrew Dunn. 

Dunn knows the Legislature well — he’s in his third year as a legislative aide in the Iowa Senate, and he’s worked for various campaigns and progressive activist organizations.

Andrew Dunn, an undergraduate political science student running for the Iowa House, stands at the Old Capitol. (Becca Ball)

Dunn advocates for unabashed progressive positions, often going beyond the standard line of Iowa Democrats. From tuition-free college, to a $15 minimum wage, to making Iowa carbon-neutral, Dunn will bring exciting, if ambitious, policy goals to the statehouse.

While Dunn may not be able to accomplish some of his more lofty goals with the current makeup of the Iowa Legislature, he will bring an important voice to the Iowa Democratic Party, representing the progressive values of younger Democrats. With Dunn in the seat, Iowa City will have an unwavering progressive representative who will, we hope, be able to help push the party in the right direction. 

Dunn’s experience as a student at the University of Iowa is also a major advantage, as the district covers much of the university. Other candidates in this race have supreme qualifications and experience, and we don’t doubt that they’d be successful and effective legislators. But the voice of students in the Iowa Legislature is one that has been missing for a long time, and Dunn will bring a unique and needed perspective to the Legislature.

House District 89

In District 89, the editorial board decided to make no endorsement because both candidates are equally qualified and have unique strengths they could bring to the Statehouse. Elinor Levin and Tony Currin would both make excellent representatives for the people of Iowa City. 

Elinor Levin, Iowa House of Representative candidate for District 89, poses for a portrait at Encounter Cafe in Iowa City on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (Gabby Drees)

Levin, an English tutor and resident of Iowa City’s South District, brought detailed policy ideas forward and showed a clear knowledge of many of the issues facing Iowans. She advocated for sensible and achievable policies that can make Iowans’ lives better, like addressing workforce problems with a centralized state jobs board and TV advertising in other states. 

Levin, a graduate of the University of Iowa and former teacher, also has the education expertise to bring a positive perspective to Iowa’s education policies. 

Currin, a labor activist and affirmative action chair of the​​ Johnson County Democratic Central Committee, said he would not be a quiet legislator at the Capitol, and that’s a huge advantage for any Iowa City Democrat. 

Tony Currin, Democratic candidate running for Iowa House District 89 speaks during the University of Iowa Faculty Staff Legislative Forum at the Iowa Memorial Union on Monday, April 18, 2022. (Braden Ernst)

As a member of the minority party, Currin said he’d use his platform to push back against Republican control in the Legislature.

“I think that maybe if they won’t let us legislate, maybe they’ll let me agitate,” he said.

Currin is an excellent public speaker and determined advocate for the labor-focused Democratic ideas that are missing from the statewide political process, and he would be a powerful voice for Iowa City.