Meet the Democrat running for Iowa’s redest U.S. House district


Coutrey of Melton for Iowa

Ryan Melton at the Western Iowa Labor Federation Labor Picnic in Fort Dodge earlier in September.

Democrat Ryan Melton, running for the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican incumbent Randy Feenstra, said he was inspired to run following the events of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Melton said since the insurrection, democracy has been in danger.

“There’s a perfect storm brewing right now about the values we will uphold that will guide us into the future,” Melton said.

The 2022 midterms will be Melton’s first run for office and did not always intend to enter this election. However, as he waited for a Democratic candidate to appear on the ballot against Feenstra, he began to feel the urge to get involved.

“At first, my interest was who was going to run next, not thinking it would be me,” Melton said. “By early this year, it became pretty clear that there would not be a Democratic candidate on the ballot.”

Melton said he threw his hat in the race for office after disagreeing with how some politicians handled the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Specifically, Melton said he disliked how Feenstra voted against the formation of the January 6th Committee.

Melton is an Omaha, Nebraska, native but moved to Iowa and attended Iowa State. Melton chose to stay in Iowa to be present for his family but found Iowa to have a unique and enjoyable living experience.

“Iowa is a unique place,” Melton said. “I think it’s a beautiful place. I think that there are really great people here.”

Melton said he also made his decision to run for office to ensure he could advocate for the voices of all Iowans, adding that he was also impressed by the diversity of ideas present within Iowa’s borders.

“The desire to do the right thing does not have to be a political motivation,” Melton said. “It really did feel like it was the right thing to do to amplify the voices of those whose voices are usually not heard.”

For Melton, these voices include those of women, people of color, veterans, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the working class.

While on the campaign trail, the three issues that Melton found the most essential in this election include reproductive rights, public education and climate change.

Melton said he upholds the principle that now is the time to get involved, regardless of prior involvement in politics.

Melton encourages Iowa State students to get involved in this election by voting and educating themselves on the issues involved in this current midterm session. The Secretary of State’s website can be used to access voter registration materials for the state of Iowa.

Melton will be visiting Iowa State at 5:00 p.m. on October 3 in the Memorial Union. He will be speaking as part of the Iowa State University Town Hall Candidate Series. More information can be found on the lecture series website.