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Iowa Black Caucus: Candidate Meet & Greet - 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, March 19, Noce Jazz Club, 1326 Walnut St, Des Moines. Free food+cash bar. Meet elected officials and 2022 candidates.
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Democrat Deidre DeJear, who is running for Iowa governor, visited East High School on Wednesday for a community breakfast in the aftermath of Monday’s deadly shooting, which has rocked the community. DeJear worked at East from 2008-2014 as a girls’ basketball coach.
She said legislators, educators, “a few students” and community leaders gathered at East to offer the community support in the aftermath of a shooting outside the school that seriously injured two teen girls and killed a 15-year-old boy. Authorities have charged six teens in the case.
The visit to East was sobering, she said. A former colleague fought back tears as he expressed the needs his students have and his concerns for them, she said.
“That type of loss should never happen in any of our communities,” DeJear said.
She said the damages caused on East’s campus aren’t wounds that need “Band-Aids,” but “resolutions” and serious change so it doesn’t happen again.
“Those folks are in a very vulnerable space. And we have to meet them where they are. I intend on being that type of governor for all of our state because this won’t be the only challenge that our state faces in the future,” she said. “We hope we don't see something like this happen again, but if it does, we’ve got to be there for each other.”
During the press conference, DeJear also addressed Gov. Kim Reynolds reelection announcement, which she said solidifies what “we’re up against.”
“I believe now more than ever that this is a moment that we can garner interest throughout the entire state and make change happen in a good way for all of this state. Again, we are facing challenges with education, mental health care, health care,” she said. “We are facing challenges with our workforce, with skills gaps and mind you these are challenges that the rest of the country is facing.”
Former gubernatorial candidate and businessman Fred Hubbell endorsed DeJear on Wednesday. A recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll on March 5 shows Reynolds leading DeJear among likely voters, 51% to 43%. The poll interviewed 612 likely voters from Feb. 28 to March 2 and has a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
“We’re taking that information as confirmation,” DeJear said.
The state needs leadership that acknowledges the challenges and finds solutions, she said.
“We need a governor that sees people first. I’m going to be that governor for each and every one of us throughout the state, because that’s that Iowans deserve.”
DeJear said volunteers are continuing to collect signatures ahead of next week’s filing deadline.
State Rep. Ross Wilburn, (D-Ames), chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, said in a press release Reynolds has failed Iowans. He criticized Reynolds’ performance in a variety of areas, including tax and educational reforms.
“She’s sold out our state to her wealthy donors, ramming through tax giveaways for millionaires. She’s bullied our children and teachers while defunding our world-class public schools. She’s failed to provide relief for working families and has doubled down on the punishing policies that worsened our state’s workforce crisis,” Wilburn said in the statement.
He said: “She’s betrayed Iowa’s proud legacy of being a welcoming state with her cheap attacks on Iowa’s workers, communities of color, and LGBTQ kids. She’s given corporations a free pass to pollute our water and put our children’s health and safety at risk.”
Banner: Photo of Deidre DeJear courtesy of DeJear; photo of Iowa Capitol and East High School sign, file photos by Black Iowa News.