Senate District 30 rush toward March 19 election

“I will fight to fully fund public education, make healthcare more affordable and improve water quality for all Iowans.”
—Eric Giddens
Democratic candidate

March 19 couldn’t come any faster for the candidates running for the Iowa Senate District 30 position, spanning all of Cedar Falls, west Waterloo and Hudson. 

The special election hasn’t been like most. Due to Sen. Jeff Danielson’s unexpected resignation, Republican candidate Walt Rogers, Democratic candidate Eric Giddens and Libertarian Fred Perryman, all of Cedar Falls, have been pushed to prepare for the early special election date of March 19. 

The brutal winter and the short timeline posed a real challenge for the candidates, making canvassing and campaigning hard due to the snow and low temperatures. “If it were 80 degrees we would be able to do a lot of things we’re having a difficult time doing right now,” Giddens said. 

Giddens, 45, is running for this position because he said he enjoys serving the community. “I really enjoy talking to different people and trying to work on things that are going to improve the community,” he said. 

To become the Democratic nominee, Giddens beat four other Democratic candidates, including Amy Petersen, a professor at the University of Northern Iowa; Sasha Wohlpart, a member of the Cedar Falls Board of Education; Tom Ralston, a former union leader and employee of John Deere; and John Berry, director of Tri-County Head Start.

Outside campaigning and canvassing, Giddens is a current member of the Cedar Falls Board of Education and program manager for Energy and Environmental Education at UNI. He also runs a program to help local governments develop climate action plans. 

Giddens was also a teacher at Peet Junior High and in Honduras. His wife Kendra teaches in the district as well. The involvement of education in his life gives him a foundation for his campaign. “We need more funding from the state level, we need more support,” Giddens said.

Giddens said he believes education should be a key focus of the state government. “It’s kind of the biggest thing the state government does is to fund public education. That is something that is the highest level of importance, and it is reflected in the highest level in the state budget,” he said.

Giddens’ said that more state funding will relieve some strain on the local property owners. “The biggest issue, really, is funding,” he said. “When we get less money from the state government. When we don’t get enough, essentially what we have to do is raise property taxes locally to make up for that, and it puts a big strain on property tax owners locally.” 

In addition to public education, health care and the environment are also important matters to  Giddens. “I will fight to fully fund public education, make healthcare more affordable and improve water quality for all Iowans,” Giddens said. 

Rogers, 57, unlike the other two candidates, has a lot of experience with Iowa politics at the state level. He ran against Danielson for senate in 2008 and lost by 22 votes. Later he was elected in Iowa House District 60 and served for eight years before Rep. Dave Williams’ win in 2018.

Originally Rogers wasn’t planning on running for the position, but he said his connections across the state pushed him to. 

Rogers emphasized that he will be in the majority party if elected, putting him in a better position for his voice and concern for Black Hawk County to be heard. “I  will have a lot more influence than Mr. Giddens could have in the minority party,” Rogers said. “I’ll be able to be a strong advocate for Black Hawk County in the majority for Des Moines right away.”

“I’ll be able to be a strong advocate for Black Hawk County in the majority for Des Moines right away.”
—Walt Rogers
Republican candidate

If elected, Rodgers wants to ensure citizens’ dollars are spent wisely. “It’s a balancing act what were trying to do,” he said. “I would go back to making sure our dollars are spent wisely, not too much of it every year. That we keep a good reserve fund, in case something bad ever happens to the economy.” 

In his time in the legislature, Rogers worked on freeing up flexible funds for schools, successfully freeing up $200 million throughout the state for schools that they already had. “I went to the school board last year in Hudson, and the first thing they did at the meeting was transfer $85,000 out of their categorical fund to a flexible fund,” Rogers said.

Perryman, 38, views himself as the “middle group” between Republicans and Democrats. He said he has the best of both worlds agreeing with parts of Democrats and Libertarians views. “I don’t get stuck where I have to say or do something where a party line says I have to do. I can look at what is best for everyone involved,” Perryman said. 

“We have an opportunity to represent our district with a candidate that respects the rights of all citizens regardless of which party we affiliate with.”
—Fred Perryman
Libertarian candidate

Perryman said he has taken a more diverse route to campaigning, which has set him apart from Giddens and Rogers. “They’re (Giddens and Rogers)  going to go back to their core, and that’s who they’re going to talk to, and they’re going to ask people to come out to vote for them. I want to talk to everybody,” he said. “There’s lots of times where I have an opinion until I talk to someone and say, ‘Oh I hadn’t seen it from that point of view.’” 

An important issues to Perryman is individual rights. “In my opinion the government should be as little as involved in your life and your decisions as possible,” he said. Perryman does not see the need of excessive government involvement if no harm is done. 

Like Giddens and Rogers, Perryman said funding education is important, but for him throwing more money at schools is not a sound solution. “Over the last several years we throw more money at it and the education system is not getting any better,” he said. “What that tells me is that throwing money at it isn’t the solution.” 

Although the candidates belong to different parties, they all urge citizens to vote at this special election. Although most early voting is over, voters can register early at the courthouse on March 16 and March 18 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Polling Locations

Precinct Locations for the Senate District 30 

Special Election, March 19, 2019

The Cedar Falls polling locations are as follows.  Please note that University Book and Supply will be closed for Spring Break, so Ward 3 Precinct 3 will vote at Gilchrist Hall with Ward 4 Precinct 3 for this election only.

WARD 1

PCT 1 – EAGLES CLUB, 2125 W Lone Tree Rd (east entrance)

PCT 2 – ST JOHN LUTHERAN CHURCH, 715 College St (upper level)

PCT 3 – CEDAR FALLS CITY HALL, 220 Clay St (council chambers)

WARD 2

PCT 1– UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 9204 University Ave

PCT 2– BETHLEHEM LUTHERAN CHURCH, 4000 Hudson Rd

PCT 3 – CANDEO CHURCH, 1405 Greenhill Rd

WARD 3

PCT 1 – CEDAR FALLS SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION BLDG, 1002 W 1st St (board room)

PCT 2 – CHURCH OF CHRIST, 2727 W 4TH St

PCT 3 – GILCHRIST HALL, UNI, University Ave to south Campus St (combined with Ward 4 Precinct 3 for this special election only)

WARD 4

PCT 1 – CEDAR HEIGHTS COMMUNITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 2015 Rainbow Dr (lower level)

PCT 2 – HEARST CENTER, 304 Seerley Blvd (upper level)

PCT 3 – GILCHRIST HALL, UNI, University Ave to south Campus St

WARD 5

PCT 1 – ST TIMOTHYS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 3220 Terrace Dr

PCT 2 – ORCHARD HILL CHURCH, 3900 Orchard Hill Dr, (South entrance, Door E)

PCT 3 – TRINITY BIBLE CHURCH, 125 Orchard Dr

The Waterloo polling locations are as follows:

WARD 1

PCT 1 – ASCENSION LUTHERAN CHURCH, 2211 Maynard Av & Greenhill Rd (upper level)

PCT 2 – YMCA, 669 South Hackett Rd (main entrance, multipurpose room)

PCT 4 – IRV WARREN GOLF COURSE (Pro Shop), 1000 Fletcher Av

PCT 5 – WALNUT RIDGE BAPTIST CHURCH, 1307 W Ridgeway Av

PCT 6 – CEDAR VALLEY COMMUNITY CHURCH, 3520 Ansborough Av (east entrance)

WARD 2

PCT 6 – SOUTH WATERLOO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN, 6227 Kimball Av (gymnasium)

WARD 5

PCT 5 – ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH, 810 Kimball Av (lower level)

PCT 6 – CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 3475 Kimball Av (main entrance, upper level)

Other:

BLACK HAWK TWP/HUDSON/LINCOLN TWP – HUDSON COMMUNITY CENTER, 525 Jefferson St, Hudson

 NOTICE: In accordance with Section 49.23 of the Code of Iowa, the following polling place locations have been changed since the last general election:

CF Ward 3 Precinct 3 and CF Ward 4 Precinct 3 polling locations have been temporarily combined, both precincts will vote at GILCHRIST HALL, UNI, University Ave to south Campus St

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