CEDAR FALLS —- A “neighborly” race is shaping up in an Iowa House district in southern Cedar Falls.
Retired John Deere operations manager Dave Williams announced last week he’s running as a Democrat for Iowa House District 60, which includes the community of Hudson and parts of Waterloo and Cedar Falls.
He’ll be running against his neighbor.
Four-term incumbent Iowa State Rep. Walt Rogers, a Republican, filed his papers this week to seek re-election.
“We’re next door neighbors,” said Rogers with a laugh. “I didn’t know he was running until I read it in the paper.”
Both live on South Main Street near Greenhill Road.
Rogers, apparently undeterred by his neighbor’s candidacy, filed his papers two days after Williams announced.
“I went down to Des Moines eight years ago with the goal of smaller, smarter government,” Rogers, 56, said. “I feel like I’ve been able to have a positive influence on what happens in Des Moines” and how it affects the Cedar Valley.
Rogers was an assistant House majority leader his first six year in office and then chaired the Education Committee, which he said has had positive results for the University of Northern Iowa.
“I feel like in the Republican caucus, there’ s a recognition that UNI’s different, and is under different pressures than the other universities,” Rogers said, and consequently has been able to steer clear of some of the cuts imposed on the other state schools in proposed legislation still under deliberation this session.
There are UNI advocates in the Democratic caucus, too, Rogers noted, but added it’s important to have that voice in the majority party as well.
Also Rogers said, Iowa has had some of the largest K-12 education funding increases in the nation, despite a “mantra” to the contrary by some political opponents, and also brought more decisions down to local school districts.
He also said the state collective bargaining law passed last year has fostered greater dialog between local teachers and administrators.
He also agreed with a contention by former longtime local Republican state legislator Willard Jenkins that it is important for the Cedar Valley to have representation on both sides of the aisle. He said it’s important to have his voice in the majority caucus.
“I’m a practical Republican,” he said. “I just try to do what makes sense.”
Rogers, a native of Waterloo and a graduate of Columbus High School, is involved in religious ministry work in the area.
Party primary elections are June 5. The general election is Nov. 6.