Special Election is on April 10th! There will also be an election in November for this seat.
Tracy Freese announced last July that she would challenge Senate Majority leader Bill Dix in Senate District 25, a district that includes Grundy and Hardin counties, as well as parts of Butler and Story counties. Senator Bill Dix resigned unexpectedly on March 12th, when videos of him kissing a lobbyist in a bar were posted online. Tracy Freese, among others, felt that Bill Dix had never taken responsibility for the toxic work environment that led to a $2.2 million dollar sexual harassment judgment against the state.
Tracy Freese has a business background and worked in finance before starting a global online marketing company in 2014 that now employs 12 people. She believes that the legislature can get back to putting Iowa families first, and only raises money from small donations. She believes that IPERS, Iowa’s successful public retirement system, is under attack. She thinks that she is in a position to dig into complex financial matters, such as budgets, and make a real contribution to understanding and good policy. Tracy sees strong public schools as a major priority.
Republicans have nominated Annette Sweeney to run against Tracy Freese in a special election that will be held on April 10th. Annette Sweeney is a farmer who served in the Iowa House from 2009 to 2013. She and Pat Grassley were redistricted into the same district, and she lost a primary election to Pat. Most recently, Annette took a position in the Trump Administration, with the Department of Agriculture. She resigned that post to come back to Iowa to run for the Senate.
While in the House, Annette Sweeney voted to ban same sex marriage, and voted for some reckless gun bills, such as the measure requiring that concealed weapons permits be issued (removing the county sheriff’s discretion), and against prohibiting firearms possession by domestic violence perpetrators. Her labor voting record was weak – she voted against a bill that would have established wage standards for public projects, for instance. While in the Legislature, Annette floor managed the “Ag gag” bill, that prohibits whistleblowers from reporting alleged abuse on factory farms. She has not been in the legislature for the current session, but a study of past votes, and of her past donors and supporters, suggests a tendency to follow the current far-right Republican leadership, and favor large agribusiness concerns.
Tracy has a compelling personal story to tell. She was raised by a single mother, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Tracy tells about all of the ways that the community supported her, and helped her to become successful. She feels she was the beneficiary of many programs, such as Pell Grants and Social Security Disability. She wants to work for economic prosperity for ordinary people, not just the wealthy few. One of her professional interests has been to help family farmers pass their farms on to the next generation. She has sought to offer financial advising that puts clients first, rather than the interests of a large firm, and has seen first hand what a difference that can make.
In Tracy Freese, we have an energetic candidate who has been talking to voters in a straightforward way, and promises to continue doing so. She has posted many events on her Facebook page, where people are invited to come meet her, and join in on some canvassing. Donations are always needed, of course, but we at Activate Iowa appreciate a campaign that seems to focus on personal contact with voters, rather than on the process of raising money.
SOME NEWS ABOUT TRACY’S CAMPAIGN
Bleeding Heartland article on the race: http://www.bleedingheartland.com/2018/03/21/iowa-senate-district-25-preview-tracy-freese-vs-annette-sweeney/