CLINTON — Jon Van Roekel announced his plans to run for the House District 26 seat in November before a group of supporters gathered at Rastrelli's on Tuesday.

Nicole Baker, the new chairperson of the Republican Central Committee, introduced Van Roekel, stating that he had been elected at a special nominating convention the night before to run on the Republican ticket.

He is seeking the seat currently held by state Rep. Polly Bukta, a Democrat from Clinton.

“It’s gone too long, uncontested races in this county,” Baker said. “And I hope as the new chairperson to rectify that situation and I'd like to start today.”

Van Roekel, who is a small business owner and currently serves as president of COBRA, the Clinton Organized Bar and Restaurant Association, stated one of his main goals will be to provide representation for small business owners.

“I hope to bring a voice for the people who own small businesses and are affected by them,” Van Roekel said. “For too long, small business owners have had to fight legislation.”

According to Van Roekel, the three major issues of his campaign will be the economy, education and tax reform.

He stated he feels one of the biggest issues facing Iowans today is an increasing amount of legislation “that has been shoved down our throats,” and he will work to put an end to it.

“My grandpa Harold taught me something many, many years ago, that I will remember as long as I live, and that is, God gave you two ears and one mouth, and you should listen twice as much as you talk,” Van Roekel said. “I can’t guarantee anything with the exception of, I will hear what your concerns are, and I will try to make those concerns be represented.”

Van Roekel stated that he was encouraged by fellow COBRA members to run for office.

“For too long, people of Clinton, Iowa, have not been adequately represented at the state level. They’ve been unheard, their views have not been followed,” Van Roekel said. “I think it’s time we put somebody in office that will listen to what the people of Clinton want and be willing to vote accordingly.”

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