From personal experience, a supporter of higher minimum wage
Just one day before the deadline to get a candidate on the ballot, local Democrats found one - a fresh one.
Kate Logan, a 21-year-old sophomore at Buena Vista University, will oppose Republican Gary Worthan in a special election Dec. 12 to fill the Iowa House of Representatives seat vacated with the recent death of Rep. Mary Lou Freeman.
If Logan wins, she would be the youngest member of the legislature and possibly the youngest ever elected.
She edged out one of the professors at BVU, Dr. Nadine Brewer, also nominated by Democrats Monday night.
The Democrat special convention had to be extended from last week, as the party could not forward a candidate initially. A possible choice, Tom Grau of Newell, had declined.
"I'm honored to receive the nomination and I will work as hard as I can to represent the people of the district," Logan said.
"I have always been interested in politics - my family has four politicians. I am pretty firm in my stances on certain issues. I do not know all the local issues, but I'm not afraid of studying... and if need be I'm not afraid to ask questions to get the answers I need."
"If we hadn't believed we would find someone then we would have never gone into recess," Matt Pearson, democratic chairman for Buena Vista County.
Both Logan and Brewer were given a chance to make a statement on their ambitions for the House seat before the Democrat gathering finalized its decision.
Logan currently resides in Lakeside and is studying at Buena Vista University in Biology and Education with goals of becoming a high school biology teacher.
Brewer will be retiring as a professor at BVU at the end of December. She has been involved with politics since the 1970s working on different boards and committees.
"I have known Chet Culver since he was young and I have worked with many of the politicians quite well," Brewer said.
Brewer was asked about English as an official language, an issue that may be revisited as Democrats gain power in the state.
"To be honest I find the whole issue to be very silly," Brewer said. "English has always been viewed as the official language but I'm upset when Americans go over to foreign countries and expect everyone to speak English."
The candidates were asked to leave the room after speaking.
"Some members saw the strength in youth while others saw the strength in experience," Pearson said on the discussion.
The House District includes Buena Vista and Sac counties. Each group had one vote, split between the representatives. Brewer received 4 5/6 votes and Logan 6 2/3 votes.
"I am pleased that were able to have two quality candidates that both of them could have represented the area well," Pearson said.
"I've always wanted to run for something and after Mary Lou died I knew it was something I wanted to do," Logan said. "I knew her and respected her."
Logan acknowledged that filling Mary Lou's place if she is elected is going to be a challenge.
"I know that she left very big shoes to fill but I will work my hardest to fill them," Logan said.
During her speech to the Democratic Committee, she took stances on some controversial issues like abortion.
"Personally I'm pro-life but I see the need to have pro-choice and I believe everyone should have that choice," Logan stated.
When asked about stem cell research, she said she was in support of taking actions to support research for medical cures, but said she was not sure about the issue fully.
A debate that has started with Governor-elect Chet Culver was about the state of Iowa raising minimal wage early next session.
"I'm in support of raising minimal wage," Logan said. "I have worked many minimal wage jobs, two to three at a time in fact, to support myself. Being 21 and only a sophomore I have been in the workforce and had to support myself and it's not easy."
She also supports education and has made her case to various political leaders on those issues.
"Last year they were taking funds away from education for defense and I was not in support of it and I was part of campaigns on campus where we let our voices be heard," Logan said.
The special election will be held December 12.
There is something of a youth movement underfoot in state politics, as unofficial sources indicated about half a dozen candidates under 30 were running for the legislature in Iowa this year.
Elisha Gayman, age 28, was elected with a narrow victory in District 84 to become apparently the youngest woman ever to serve. As of 2002, the youngest lawmaker was 27, and only one member was under 30.
In 1994, Brian Coon made headlines by winning a term in the House the year after his graduation from the University of Iowa. Lorne Worthington was 24 when he was elected in the early 1960s. And Congressman Jim Nussle was one of the youngest elected in the state in his time, joining the House at age 31, where he appeared with a paper bag over his head to dramatize a scandal by the opposing party.