We may be 14 months away from election day, but the race for the Iowa State Senate seat in District 41 is heating up.
Democrat Steve Siegel officially kicked off his campaign Tuesday with announcement events in Bloomfield, Keosauqua, Fairfield and Ottumwa. Siegel has worked as a social worker for the state Department of Human Services and as a union representative for AFSCME Council 61 in the past and is currently serving his fifth term on the Wapello County Board of Supervisors.
Siegel said he made the decision to run for senate so that he can better represent the district's middle class .
"I think I have a lot of experience at the local level and I see how the state legislature and the state government does impact us here at the local level and we can't do a lot about it at the local level," he said. "So I want to be able to go to Des Moines and make it easier for, like my friend Dale Taylor here in Davis County, to make Davis County government work better."
After working at the local level for so many years, Siegel said the representatives in the capitol don't listen to their constituents. Siegel said an example of this was the passage of mental health reform in Iowa over the last two years.
"We spent a lot of time talking to them about the inequities and the problems that were going to come up and the lack of planning," he said. "But we really weren't listened to and now most of what we said was going to happen has come true and I think people are going to get hurt. And we don't want that to happen again."
Siegel said his other main focuses as a state senator would be on education, jobs, the environment and fair taxes.
Siegel could be matched up against incumbent Republican Mark Chelgren on election day, who told KTVO Tuesday he will announce his decision about whether or not he will be running again at a later date. Chelgren said he welcomes anyone willing to serve Iowans as their senator in the state capitol.
District 41 includes all of Davis and Van Buren counties, part of Wapello County, including Ottumwa, Agency and Eldon, and part of Jefferson County, including Batavia, Fairfield, Libertyville, Maharishi Vedic City, Packwood and Pleasant Plain.