Iowa Champions of Small Business

Date: October 01, 2020

Meet the 16 Lawmakers Defending Iowa Small Businesses

NFIB in Iowa would like to thank our Guardians of Small Business – lawmakers and community leaders who have proven to be friends to small business.

These 16 individuals have shown that they do and will continue to stand up for small business principles like lowering taxes, deregulation, and fighting against government mandates and burdensome paperwork.

Our 2020 Guardian of small business include Sen. Dan Dawson, Scott Cirksena, Sen. Jeff Edler, Rep. Gary Worthan, Rep. Brian Best, Rep. Matt Windschitl, Sen. Brad Zaun, Rep. Ray Sorensen, Rep. Jon Jacobsen, Rep. John Landon, Rep. Phil Thompson, Rep. Jane Bloomingdale, Rep. Michael Bergan, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, Rep. Joe Mitchell, and Steve Bradley.

Please take a moment to call their offices to thank them for defending small business. To reach a member of the Iowa House, call 515-281-3221. To speak with a member of the Senate, call 515-281-3371.

You can view their voting record here.

During the 2020 legislative session, one major piece pro-business legislation to pass the legislature was  SF 2338 – COVID-19 Liability Protection (Tort Reform) This legislation will help protect small business from frivolous COVID-19 related lawsuits by setting in place minimum requirements in order to bring a lawsuit and protect small businesses unless that small business acted recklessly or disregarded health regulations and their employee or customer’s health.

As we all know, the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on thousands of small businesses across the state. NFIB is doing everything they can to make sure federal and state lawmakers keep them in mind as they pass legislation in response to the crisis. For resources on how to apply for aid and the latest information on what’s going on in D.C. in response to the virus, click here.

Sen. Dan Dawson

Term: 

Serving first term in Senate.

Profession: 

Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Education: 

Graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs. Graduated from Bellevue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration.

Military Service: 

Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army Reserves, 18 years of service.

Memberships and Activities: 

American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Knights of Columbus.

Birth and Residence: 

Born in 1978 in Omaha, Nebraska. Resides in Council Bluffs.

Family Members: 

Wife, Chrystal; one son and one daughter.

 

 

Sen. Waylon Brown

 

Profession: 

Small business owner and farmer.

Education: 

Graduated from St. Ansgar High School.

Memberships and Activities: 

Vice president of Mitchell County Farm Bureau Board and member of St. Ansgar Planning and Zoning Board.

Birth and Residence: 

Born in 1979. Resides in St. Ansgar.

Family Members: 

Wife, Julie; one son and one daughter.

 

 

Sen. Jeff Edler

Profession: 

Farmer.

Education: 

West Marshall High School and one year at Marshalltown Community College. Received B.S. in agricultural studies from Iowa State University.

Memberships and Activities: 

Former President of Consumers Energy Rural Electric Cooperative. Member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, State Center Fire and EMS (honorary), Marshall County Farm Bureau, Marshall County Pork Producers, and National Rifle Association.

Birth and Residence: 

Born in 1976 in Marshall County. Resides near State Center.

Family Members: 

Wife, Stephanie; one son and four daughters.

 

 

 

Rep. Gary Worthan

Gary Worthan is serving his sixth term in the Iowa House after first being elected in 2006.

Gary was born in Storm Lake in 1954 and grew up in Truesdale which is just north of Storm Lake. He graduated from Albert City/Truesdale High School.

Gary has served in various capacities within the Farm Bureau, and has an Associate’s Degree in Farm Operations from Iowa State University. He is a 4th generation family farmer. His Great-Grandfather purchased the land that he farms in 1878 from the railroad.

Gary and his wife, Jan, have been married over 40 years and have three sons and six grandsons.  Ryan is on assignment in the Pentagon, has been on five combat deployments and has been awarded three Bronze Stars and one Silver Star.  Gabe works on the farm and manages the family trucking business with Gary.  Shannon is currently stationed in Europe with the 173rd Airborne and has served on four combat deployments.  He was awarded the Bronze Star during his last deployment in Iraq.

Gary and Jan started a military family support group several years ago when their oldest son was first deployed.  The group had as many as 40 members who met regularly.

 

 

 

Rep. Brian Best

Brian Best is serving his second term in the Iowa House.

Brian was born and raised on a farm South of Glidden.  He graduated from Glidden-Ralston High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from the University of Northern Iowa.  He earned a degree as a Certified Respiratory Therapist in 1991 and is licensed as a Respiratory Care Practitioner by the State of Iowa.  He has worked in the medical field since 1984.

Brian and his wife, Sharon, started a family-owned business, Bestmed Respiratory in 2001.  In 2005, they opened Western Iowa Sleep (a sleep testing facility).  Both facilities are located in Carroll.  Bestmed specializes in equipment for seniors and patients who wish to remain living in their homes.  They began their businesses with one fulltime employee, and now employ five people.

Best previously served on the Glidden Planning and Zoning Board.  He and his wife have four children: Haley Best of Iowa City, Chelsey Boldt of Davenport, Amy Walsh of Waukee, and Lori Becker who lives in Carroll.

 

 

 

Rep. Matt Windschitl

Term: 

Serving fifth term in House.

Profession: 

Conductor with Union Pacific Railroad, gunsmith for family business, Double Barrel Shooters Supply in Missouri Valley.

Education: 

Home schooled. Attended college for gunsmithing at Colorado School of Trades.

Military Service: 

Enlisted in Marine Corps in 2001. Served one tour in Iraq in 2005. Honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 2009.

Birth and Residence: 

Born in 1983 in Marshalltown. Resides in Missouri Valley.

Family Members: 

Wife, Ivelisse; two daughters.

 

Sen. Brad Zaun

Senator Brad Zaun was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2004. Before serving in the Iowa Senate, Senator Zaun was the mayor of Urbandale, and owner and operator of Zaun’s Trustworthy Hardware. He is currently Director of Sales at Master Dowel in Ankeny.

Senator Zaun generously gives back to his community by serving on various boards and commissions.  He is a past board member of the Greater Dallas County Development Alliance, the Greater Des Moines Animal Rescue League, Iowa Commercial Real Estate Association and a current member of the Urbandale Breakfast Lions Club to name a few.

Senator Zaun finds time for his biking hobby, his family, and enjoys time with the love of his life, Dede.  He and Dede live in Urbandale and have five children: Zac, Bailey, Drew, Greyson and Devon.

Employment Highlights: Owner of Zaun’s Trustworthy Hardware (1988-2005) Vice President R&R Realty (2005-2012) Director of Sales & Marketing Grapnel Tech Services (2012-Current) Director of Sales Master Dowel (2014-Current)

Civic/Professional Organizations: Past State of Iowa Child Support Advisory Board, Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates board member, Past Generation Iowa Commission member, Mid Iowa Small Business Development Center board member

Elected Offices Held: Mayor of Urbandale (1988-2004), Urbandale City Council (1996-1998) Iowa Senate ((2005-Current)

Honors: 1994 nominee for the Iowa/Nebraska Entrepreneur of the Year, 2001, 40 Under 40 Award recipient, inducted into the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2004

Education: Grandview College, Ellsworth Community College

 

 

 

Rep. Ray Sorensen

Ray was born in Creston and grew up in Fontanelle.  He graduated from Bridgewater-Fontanelle High School (now Nodaway Valley).  He attended Iowa State University before pursuing a career in art. He has worked as a graphic designer for Edje Technologies and Livestock Plus.  Ray and his wife, Maria started a photography and mural painting business called Sorensen Studios. He also paints The Freedom Rock(s) to honor veterans.  Ray and Maria have two children.

Ray is a member of the Farm Bureau, NRA, and Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fornanelle.  He is also a volunteer at St. Malachy School.

In the House, Ray will focus on fixing our crumbling rural infrastructure and will work for high-speed Internet access for everyone across our state.  He will ensure all children receive a quality education. Lastly, he will make sure our veterans receive the care and support they need.

 

 

 

Rep. Jon Jacobsen

Jacobsen is serving his first term in the Iowa House after recently winning a special election.

Jacobsen is a Senior Trust Officer and Vice President at Security National Bank in Council Bluffs.  He previously served as a Senior Vice President at Treynor State Bank for 11 years and holds a law degree from the University of Iowa.  Jacobsen also co-hosted the weekly radio program, “You Ain’t Heard Nothing”, heard on Saturday mornings on KMA radio.  For that work, he received 11 awards from the Iowa Broadcast News Association.

Jacobsen has a long history of community involvement, and has served as a member of the Council Bluffs Mercy Hospital Charitable Council, Treynor Optimists, President of the Cathedral Arts Project (a program to bring free access to fine arts to the public), Iowa Right to Life Committee, St. Albert’s liaison to the Catholic Schools Educational Board, Co-Chair of Boy Scouts of America Capital Campaign, Troop Committeeman for local Troop #729, President of the Council Bluffs Estate Planning Council, and member of the Grist Mill Theatre in Macedonia.

He has also been a long-time active member of the Pottawattamie County Republican Central Committee, served as moderator for Senate and Congressional debates, and as chair, delegate, and parliamentarian for Pottawattamie County Republican conventions.

Jacobsen has been married to his wife, Debra, for 29 years, and they are members of St. Cecilia’s Cathedral Church.  They have 3 grown children, Gerard, Peter and wife Hayley, and Jamie.

 

 

 

Rep. John Landon

John Landon is serving his third term in the Iowa House.

A lifelong Iowan with a background in business, Landon is a pro-life, pro-family conservative committed to balancing the state budget creating jobs in a favorable climate for business and agricultural growth eliminating costly regulations and making education more cost effective.

Landon is retired from a nearly 40 year career in agricultural business.   He is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy Seabees prior to graduating from Iowa State University.  He attends Prairie Ridge Church and has served many years as a Boy Scout leader with Troop 188. He has also been a leader in the Polk County Republicans.

Landon, and his wife Marvis, have two children, Eric (married to Rebecca) and Morgan who both graduated from Ankeny High School, having attended Ankeny schools K-12.

 

 

 

Rep. Phil Thompson

Phil Thompson is serving his first term in the Iowa House.

Phil grew up in Jefferson and graduated from Jefferson-Scranton High School.  He went on to serve in the U.S. Army for eights years, including a tour to Al Anbar Province, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He finished his active duty time at West Point, where he studied Systems Engineering for two years before returning home and joining the Iowa National Guard.  In 2016, he worked for the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action as the Iowa Campaign Field Representative. For the last two legislative sessions, he has served as an assistant to Representative Dawn Pettengill in the Iowa House.

Phil is active in the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Greene County Republican Central Committee.  He also serves on the Bob Carman Patriot Scholarship Board and the Floyd W Brown Scholarship Board.

In the House, Phil will work to bring infrastructure to our rural communities and help local businesses grow.  He will make key investments in the priorities of Iowans like education and healthcare. His desire is to make sure our state remains one of the best places to live, work, and raise a family.

 

 

 

Rep. Jane Bloomingdale

Jane Bloomingdale is serving her first term in the Iowa House.

Jane is a lifelong resident of Northwood.  She has served in city government for 20 years, currently as Mayor of Northwood.  She has a degree in education and worked for the Northwood-Kensett school district as a coach and substitute teacher.  Jane continued her education in accounting and has owned and operated Bloomingdale Tax and Accounting for the past 25 years.

She has been married to her husband, Jim for 36 years.  They have two adult children.  Jim has farmed in the Worth County area his entire adult life.

Jane has an understanding of the numerous challenges facing our communities and brings experience prioritizing expenditures, allocating funds, and balancing budgets.  The combination of her experiences in education, business, and civic service makes her well qualified to serve as our State Representative.

 

 

 

Rep. Michael Bergan

Michael Bergan is serving his first term in the Iowa House.

Michael is a lifelong resident of Winneshiek County.  He was raised on a dairy and beef farm and his roots are deeply planted in the farming community.  Michael graduated from Decorah High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Economics from Luther College.

Michael began his career at the Miller Law Firm as an income tax preparer and office accountant.  In 2005, he assumed duties as the Director of HAWC Partnerships for Children working to implement state funding in Howard, Allamakee, Winneshiek, and Clayton Counties to address prevention and early intervention, focusing on five areas: healthy children, children ready to succeed in school, safe and nurturing families, safe and nurturing early learning environments, and safe and supportive communities.

Michael has a long history of community service and now he’s looking to work on behalf of Iowans in the Statehouse.

Michael served eight years on the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors.  He has also been active in a number of organizations, including Aase Haugen Homes and Foundation, The Spectrum Network, Wellington Place, Northland Area Agency on Aging and the Winneshiek County Solid Waste Agency.  His experience also includes service on three state level boards and commissions: the Mental Health and Developmental Disability Commission, the Iowa Empowerment Board, and the Iowa Council for Early ACCESS.

Michael and his wife, Carol, have two daughters.

 

 

 

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann

Bobby Kaufmann is serving his third term in the Iowa House.

Kaufmann grew up on his family’s farm in rural Wilton and is a graduate of Wilton High School.  He attended Muscatine Community College where he received the Outstanding Student of the Year Award.  He went on to study business at the University of Iowa.

After college he purchased and remodeled a brick home built in 1876.  Kaufmann is a crop and livestock farmer who also owns and operates a steel hauling, construction and demolition business in Cedar County.

Kaufmann is a member of the Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association, Cedar County Historical Society, Cedar County Soldiers Monument Association and a wide variety of service and volunteer organizations.

 

 

 

Rep. Joe Mitchell

Joe Mitchell is serving his first term in the Iowa House.

Joe grew up in Wayland and graduated from Waco High School.  He is currently a senior at Drake University in Des Moines and will graduate with his Bachelor’s Degree in Business.  While going to school, Joe has worked at the Capitol for the last four legislative sessions. This past session he interned with a multi-client lobbying firm where he helped represent a variety of clients on issues involving healthcare, taxes, education funding, and regulations.

Joe’s parents, John and Jean started a small manufacturing business in Wayland, MD Orthopedics.  The business has been in operation for more than 15 years and employs nearly 30 full-time employees.  After graduating from Drake, Joe plans to move home to southeast Iowa and help his father run the family business.

Joe is an avid trap shooter, fisherman, and golfer.  He enjoys serving on mission trips where he helps those who are less fortunate.  At home in southeast Iowa, he attends Harmony Bible Church.

In the House, Joe will work to ensure the state has a balanced budget and ensure taxpayers are protected from wasteful government spending.  He will also work to improve mental health accessibility and ensure Medicaid remains sustainable into the future.

 

 

Sen. Craig Johnson

Profession: 

Executive director, Heartland Acres Agribition Center.

Education: 

Graduated from Independence Jefferson Senior High School. Received B.A. in industry from the University of Northern Iowa in 1986.

Memberships and Activities: 

Member of the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, National Rifle Association, Knights of Columbus, and the Independence Area Dollars for Scholars Investment Review Committee. Former member of Vision Iowa Board.

Birth and Residence: 

Born in 1963 in Independence. Resides in Independence.

Family Members: 

Wife, Susan; one daughter.

 

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