Hart announces U.S. House candidacy

Rita Hart

WHEATLAND — Former State Sen. Rita Hart this morning announced her candidacy for Iowa's Second Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The early morning announcement makes official Hart's intentions to vie for the seat held by Democrat Dave Loebsack. Loebsack, who was first elected to the seat in 2006, will retire in 2020.

Hart, a Democrat, represented Iowa Senate District 49, which includes Clinton County and and the northern and eastern portions of Scott County. She was first elected to that seat in 2012 and sought Iowa's lieutenant governor seat alongside gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell last fall.

In a press release, Hart, who was recently inducted into the Clinton County Democrats Hall of Fame, explained why she feels the need to jump back into the country's political landscape.

"Hard-working Iowans need a voice at the table as we fight for our future – that’s why I’m running for Congress," the release stated. "As a lifelong Iowan, farmer, and educator, I understand the struggle our small towns and rural communities face, because I’ve lived it."

Hart grew up in Charles City in northeast Iowa, and has been an educator in Clinton County for more than 20 years. She also farms with her husband, Paul, who also was inducted in to the Clinton County Democrats Hall of Fame in early May.

In the release, Hart highlighted her past experience in the Iowa Senate and her expectations to better prepare young Iowans and Americans to face the future.

"Whether spearheading efforts to train our young people or bringing local leaders on both sides of the aisle together as a State Senator, I’ve spent my life fighting to build a solid foundation for the next generation of Iowans," Hart said. "We have real challenges to solve: making sure heath care is affordable for all of us, helping families crippled by the cost of education and job training, and growing our economy so that it’s thriving in every corner of our state – not just for the wealthy and well-connected."

Hart's presence in Des Moines has prepared her for a run at Washington, D.C., the former state senator said. Now, in the midst of a race currently featuring herself and Osceola Mayor Thomas Kedley, Hart will try to appeal to those throughout the entire Second District, not just Clinton County.

"I know that the people we should be listening to aren’t always the ones with the loudest voices," Hart said in an announcement email. "Iowa’s hard-working men and women deserve a resounding voice in Washington who will listen to their needs and then put those needs first, every single time."

In her announcement, Hart paid homage to Loebsack. At the Democratic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, one at which Loebsack was present, the praises rang in nearly every speech given by inductees and guest speakers alike.

Hart has acknowledged the shoes she hopes to fill.

"Dave Loebsack has served our district so well for over a decade, and I have been proud to call him my representative," Hart said. "Now that he's retiring, our community needs someone who will continue his hard work and legacy, and serve as a strong voice for the interests of working Iowans."