Candidate Q&A - State Senator District 8


The candidates for State Senator - District 8 this election cycle are Ryan Roenfeld (D - Glenwood) and Sen. Mark Costello (R - Imogene, incumbent). Roenfeld's Q&A is below. Costello did not fill out the Q&A that was sent out by the Times-News.

Name: Ryan Roenfeld

City/town: Glenwood, Mills County

Candidate for: Iowa Senate District 8

Explain who you are:

Well, I’m not much like the people we keep sending to “represent” our interests. I’m not a lawyer and didn’t get a farm. I have no stocks, bonds or dividends and have always worked jobs that pay by the hour. Most didn’t pay enough to keep living here. Still, I am a sixth generation resident of southwest Iowa whose family has been here since 1858 on one side and 1847 on the other. I write books, can get away with calling myself a regional historian around Omaha, give historical walking tours, and have a lowly government job to pay the bills. A job for which I have to drive to Omaha, of course.

I am disgusted and angry at the dumbing down of my state and the apparent loss of the Iowa Republican Party to either the Confederates, Dixiecrats or Iowa Bootlicking Bund. I am very serious. Just listen to them. Banning books? Saying science isn’t real? Blaming society’s ills on people who have NO money while falling down to praise those with the economic means to actually do something? Hating immigrants? Claiming it’s coastal elites and “globalists”?

For how long will they continue to point to the Dems as the source of our dying small towns, polluted waterways, no jobs that pay anything and where only courthouse, cops and school teacher jobs have benefits? Folks, the Republican Party has controlled southwest Iowa for over a century. I think we should try something different before it’s too late.

Why did you run for this position?

They removed “A Handmaid’s Tale” from the Glenwood Public High School library. That book should be taught to sophomores as mandatory. That’s education and that book was scarier when I read it in 2017 than it was when I read it in 1988. Of course, in the 20th century we didn’t understand that some people really thought the Weekly World News was reality. Then came the internet.

What from your background qualifies you for this position?

Nothing. I'm not a politician. I can’t smile and lie to your face. I can’t feel your pain, shake your babyand kiss your hand. But I sure as hell know the difference in standing up and fighting for what’s right in our unique corner of the state and accepting awards in West Des Moines from the folks who profit most the longer grandma sits in her own urine. No, I don’t know how many Iowa Senators ever worked in a nursing home. I have. It’s pretty grim and we should do better. Instead, Iowa no longer regularly inspects nursing homes.

What are your goals if elected?

To usher in an era of common sense, pragmatism, logic and secularism sorely needed in the state I’ve lived in my whole life but don’t hardly even recognize. And, no, really, my grandfathers didn’t fight in WWII, my great-grandfather in WWI and his dad in the Civil War, his dad in the War of 1812, and his dad in the American Revolution for this to go on like it’s normal or typical “conservative” Iowa politics.

That’s my goal then. To make Iowa the place where the intellectual and artistic and immigrant and horticultural and entrepreneurial sort of folks want to move and grow and thrive. I want an Iowa where small towns have small town businesses and where we grow more than soybeans and subsidized ethanol corn. I want Iowa to return to having the best public education in the country and a place those kids don’t feel the need to leave behind.

We start that last one by getting rid of people who think banning books is okey-dokey. Ignorance has never been a traditional southwest Iowa value. I’ll be damned if it’s going to start being one.