Ross Wilburn, diversity officer and associate program director for community and economic development for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the vacant Iowa House District 46 seat.
Wilburn spoke to the Daily in a phone interview to discuss his priorities should he be nominated and elected, and shared a letter he sent to Ames Democratic precinct chairs.
The Democrats are currently in the minority in the Iowa House of Representatives — and will be even if they hold this seat in the special election. Wilburn said he would be a part of the team to take back the House majority.
“Now, I want to help us keep a Democrat in the 46th Iowa House seat and begin the movement to take back the Iowa House,” Wilburn said in the letter.
Wilburn expressed support for making Iowa’s community colleges free and said he would work on making the regent universities more affordable for students.
“Iowa’s privatized Medicaid experiment continues to be harmful to Iowans,” Wilburn said. “We need to reverse this as well as ensure all Iowans have access to affordable quality healthcare.”
Because of his background in the Iowa Army National Guard, Wilburn said he has an understanding of the “unique needs of veterans,” and believes that perspective is part of why he should be nominated at the convention. He served six years in the National Guard, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.
Furthermore, Wilburn cited his extensive elected experience and experience in appointed office as an advantage he would have over other Democrats.
Wilburn served 12 years on the City Council of Iowa City and as mayor of the city, in addition to four years on the Parks and Recreation Commission. He previously sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018, falling short to nominee Fred Hubbell.
A special election will be held Aug. 6 to fill the vacancy created following the departure of now-Supervisor Lisa Heddens. The Democratic party will hold a nominating convention in the coming weeks to select a nominee for the special election.
The College Democrats released a statement criticizing the date Gov. Kim Reynolds selected to hold the special election.
"By scheduling the HD46 special election on August 6th, nearly three weeks before students begin classes on August 26th, Governor Kim Reynolds has taken away the ability of thousands of ISU students to choose the person who will represent them in the Iowa House of Representatives," the statement said.