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Smith holds governor campaign kick-off event in Waterloo

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - A Waterloo native is the first major Democratic candidate to announce a run for Iowa governor, 17 months from the November 2022 election.

Democratic State Rep. Ras Smith formally opened his campaign Tuesday afternoon. Smith is in his third term serving District 62, which covers part of Black Hawk County. He made the announcement earlier on Tuesday, and then spoke to dozens of people who came out to the RiverLoop Amphitheater in Waterloo.

Last year, he helped to create a police policy bill that banned most police choke holds.

During Tuesday’s event, he spoke about goals of prioritizing education, a modern economy for the state, and looking ahead to issues like climate change.

“Our people need the opportunity to work hard and get ahead. So many Iowans are grinding day in and day out just to make it. And so for me, that’s the focus. Returning power to the people and empowering them to be as great as they can be,” Smith said.

Smith is currently the ranking member of the Education committee, as well as founder and chair of the legislative Black caucus.

”Our uniqueness is what contributes to our society being great, to our community being great. So I want people to know that they are valued, that their differences are valued, that they contribute to our greater Iowa. That’s different than what we’ve been hearing because we’re told diversity doesn’t matter,” Smith said.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has not yet said if she’ll run for re-election in 2022. She has dismissed speculation that she’ll run for U.S. Senate instead.

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