Governor candidate Deidre DeJear makes a trip to Ames


Courtesy of DeJear for Iowa

Deidre DeJear’s listening tour is to hear what challenges the communities in Iowa are facing directly from their perspective. Her tour kicked off Monday at her alma mater Drake University.

Biong Biong

Deidre DeJear, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Iowa, visited Iowa State University Tuesday.


While on campus, DeJear spoke to classes and toured the campus, ultimately ending at the Student Innovation Center for a meet-and-greet with students. Students asked questions pertaining to her political campaign. DeJear also received feedback from students on the state of Iowa. 


DeJear told the Iowa State Daily that some of the most common concerns she heard from students were access to general and mental healthcare and government funding of education. She also provided some insight on how she and her team are dealing with the issue of voter turnout.


“We increase turnout by meeting people where they are,” DeJear said. “In our presidential election cycle, there are a lot more resources to make that happen.”


DeJear said that without the funding present during a presidential election cycle, politicians need to work harder to get engagement. She also spoke about the purpose of visiting Iowa State.


“The purpose of the visit was to understand the value, truly, that Iowa State University adds to the state and many of our other educational institutions,” she said.


DeJear said she plans to address the worker shortage in Iowa by incentivizing students to remain in the state after graduation, but it won’t come easily. 


“That work is going to take a village,” said DeJear. “It’s going to take our higher education institutions, both four year and two year, it’s going to take our trades. It’s gonna take business and industry all working together to make sure that we’re one, preparing our students for success, but also connecting them to the many jobs and opportunities that are out there.”


Mack Shelley, chairman of the political science department, was instrumental in coordinating DeJear’s visit to campus. Shelley spoke on some of the preconceived notions of politicians.


“Some people come up into politics being lawyers, which is a bit of a stereotype,” said Shelley. “It’s actually fairly common for people to come into politics, really in both major parties, through kinda a business background. That is the case of DeJear.”


Shelley said events where politicians come to Iowa State to interact with students can serve as memorable experiences.


“It gives them [students] a different perspective,” Shelley said. “Hearing from someone who, conceivably, could be in a position of influencing what the state does— that’s important.” 


Shelley said the face-to-face contact with students and politicians can make engagement with politics, which some students may feel is an invisible process, more real.


Obi Chukwunenye, a sophomore majoring in political science, said he was made aware of the event by a notification sent from the Political Science Club. Chukwunenye said he enjoyed interacting with DeJear.


“I think that she laid out very good groundwork for who she is, what she’s doing and where she’s coming from,” said Chukwunenye.