Iowa Gubernatorial Candidate Deidre DeJear visits Decorah, gives town hall meeting at Luther College


Deidre DeJear answers a constituent’s question at the town hall forum. Photo by Isabelle Pippert (‘23)

On Wednesday, September 14, Iowa Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear visited Luther, and gave a town hall meeting in the Recital Hall of the Center for Faith and Life. Sponsored by the Luther College Democrats, the town hall was attended by students, staff, faculty, and other Decorah residents. DeJear spoke about her love of Iowa, as well as the two main issues that she wants to address: education and mental health services. 


“If I intend to lead this state, it is incredibly important to understand the challenges that we, as Iowans, are facing so that we can fix them,” DeJear said.


DeJear focused on the importance of having a strong, quality education system, especially in states like Iowa that have a mix of both urban and rural communities. She argued that education has been funded by both Democratic and Republican leadership in Iowa’s past, and that education should become an important part of both party’s platforms once again. As a state that previously led the U.S. in public education, DeJear argued that it is difficult to comprehend that the education system of Iowa is not fully funded by current governor Kim Reynolds.


DeJear’s plan for education reform does not just focus on grades K-12. She plans to expand access to preschool to ensure all Iowans have access to 30-40 hours/week of childcare. For high school students, DeJear also plans to implement trade skills classes back into schools to expand access to opportunities across the state.


Political science and global health major Sidney Miller (‘24) attended the town hall and was impressed by DeJear’s emphasis on quality public school education. As a part-time Iowa resident, Miller will not be casting her vote for Iowa governor, but has a great interest in Iowa politics.


“It was great to hear about DeJear’s political goals concerning education,” Miller said. “She wants to provide Iowans with the best possible education in public schools, which will take a lot of funding, yet she was dead-set on this plan to improve the schools.”


DeJear also stressed the importance of voting in this election, and in every election. She spoke directly to the students in the audience, encouraging them to register to vote and to persuade their friends as well. Luther College Democrats President Ethan Bellendier (‘23) resonated with this sentiment. As a senior at Luther, Bellendier liked how DeJear placed a high level of importance on student voting.


“College students play a huge role in elections,” Bellendier said. “If students make their voices heard, the political atmosphere in the U.S. will be drastically different.”


Although she was born and raised in Mississippi, DeJear moved to Iowa when she was 18 to attend Drake University. She finished at Drake at the top of her senior class, an honor that she received all four years of college. DeJear also started the non-profit organization “Back 2 School Iowa” while at Drake, which focuses on collecting school supplies for impoverished members of the Des Moines area. In the years that followed her graduation from Drake, she has continued to be an entrepreneur and has even added basketball coach to her resume. She was a nominee for the Iowa Secretary of State in 2018 and her gubernatorial candidacy was endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA).


“I’m proud to endorse @DeidreDeJear for governor of Iowa because she is a determined, compassionate, and resourceful leader and problem solver,” Warren said on Twitter.


DeJear will be faced in the Iowa Gubernatorial election by incumbent Republican Governor Reynolds and Libertarian candidate Rick Stewart. The election will be held on November 8, 2022.