Iowa State professor Dirk Deam seeks to provide true representation to 4th District


Alex Connor/Iowa State Daily

Dirk Deam, a political science professor at Iowa State, is “testing the waters” to see if there could be any support in running for Iowa’s fourth district seat in Congress. 

Chris Anderson

Dirk Deam, professor of political science at Iowa State, is running a campaign on the principle of giving better representation to Iowa’s 4th District.

Deam has created a team of volunteer staff for his campaign and started fundraising money. He has also spent the early days of his campaign talking to constituents and members of the Democratic Party.

Considering himself a lifelong Democrat, Deam plans to run for Congress on the Democratic ticket.

“Running as a Democrat is the most natural thing in the world for me,” Deam said. 

Deam’s campaign faces an uphill battle. He would first face 2016 Democratic candidate Kim Weaver, and if he gets past her, he would face incumbent Republican Rep. Steve King, who has been elected to eight straight terms.

Although he has a lot of work in front of him, Deam is still running to provide better representation in a district where he sees little of it.

“I think the district needs better representation than it has been given,” Deam said.

Deam believes the 4th District not only needs better representation of its values but also a better congressperson.

Many of the ideas Deam is running on are concepts he teaches to his students. He believes politics are interactive and primarily local.

Deam has a distaste for the way politics are normally run in the country, including polling from a distance. He hopes to bring a grassroots approach.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk in the country right now about the need to go out and talk to people about what’s on their mind and try harder to represent their concerns and interests in Congress,” Deam said.

Deam views King as “extremely ideological” and believes King lets his ideology define his representation of his district.

“I don’t want to replace that,” Deam said. “I don’t want to simply replace conservative ideology with liberal ideology. I just want to try harder to find out what the district is concerned about and represent them better.”

Although Democrats and Republicans often find themselves at odds, Deam feels the key to truly representing the district lies in finding common ground between the two parties.

Deam admits he may work against his own conscience on issues he feels his constituents are in favor of or against. But he does have a number of issues he has heard about that he hopes to solve if elected.

Among these are reforms for education, greater old-age security, health care reform and agricultural policy.

“With the specifics, it depends on going on to the district and talking with constituents about what those are,” Deam said. “That’s why it’s an exploratory campaign right now.”

When looking at his primary opponent, Weaver, Deam feels he is better suited to be the Democratic candidate because of his willingness to accurately represent the district.

“Kim [Weaver]’s too focused on things that are more traditionally identified with the Democratic Party and only the Democratic Party,” Deam said.

In other words, Deam feels the problems he has with Weaver are the same he has with King.

Deam hopes to prove he is willing to make the sacrifice of working against his own beliefs for the sake of providing representation to all people in the 4th District.