Story County Supervisor Lisa Heddens and 4th Congressional District Democratic nominee J.D. Scholten, both Democrats embarking campaigns for 2020 elections, provided updates on their campaign efforts to a crowd of roughly 50 local Democrats at a campaign fundraiser for Heddens’ at the Octagon Center for the Arts on Saturday.
A nine-term Iowa legislator who served 17 years in the statehouse, Heddens was appointed to the Board of Supervisors on June 15, and is currently serving the unexpired four-year term of former Supervisor Rick Sanders, who left his post to accept the Iowa State University Research Park president’s position in May.
Since she’s filling the term via appointment, Heddens is up for re-election in 2020, and if elected, will be up for election in 2022.
“I’ve had a number of people ask me, Lisa, ‘you’re the health policy wonk, what are you doing learning about drainage ditches and secondary roads.’ said Heddens. “They are all equally important, they’re all part of government runs smoothly, and if I can take the expertise that I’ve had over those 17 years in the Legislature and work to implement initiatives locally.”
With a proficient background in mental health services, having previously served as the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Iowa, Heddens is looking forward to the county’s implementation of the state’s children’s mental health bill.
In March, Iowa passed a children’s mental health bill that establishes a system just for children, lays out what core services must be provided, and creates a state board to oversee it. The bill seeks to create a system by 2020 to serve children up to age 18 who have serious emotional disturbances.
“One of my big issues that I have been working on is making sure we have a good healthy mental health system in the state of Iowa,” said Heddens. “That’s something I worked on at the state level, but a number of faces on that do fall on local government.”
Heddens said some of the challenge the board will face on a regional is finding creative solutions and supportive solutions in the face of financial limitations and efforts to converse resources for the county’s adult mental health services as well.
So far, no Republican challenger has been named for Heddens’ seat.
Scholten to this point is the lone Democrat challenger looking to unseat controversial nine-term Republican Rep. Steve King, who will be challenged by four Republicans at the June 2 primary.
The crowded Republican primary consists of King, the incumbent and Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra, Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor, former Irwin Mayor Bret Richard and Arnolds Park businessman Steve Reeder.
Scholten said that his campaign is the midst of a campaign tour targeted toward Iowa towns with a population of 1,0o0 or less.
“What’s amazing is, we don’t hear the stories at these town halls that we’re seeing in Washington Post or the New York Times,” said Scholten. “What we’re seeing are a lot of folks trying to keep their local grocery story or fighting for EMS services. So those are some of the realities that are in the Fourth District.”
In 2018, the Sioux City Democrat who nearly toppled King in the heavily Republican district in 2018, losing King by about 10,000 votes last year, out of 313,000 cast.