Considering congress

Heckroth exploring run for Iowa’s First District


Another name is floating around the 2018 midterm elections in Iowa, and Waverly native Thomas Heckroth said he’s been busy gathering thoughts of First Congressional District voters.

“I’m trying to get around and talk to as many people as I can in the district about what their thoughts are, what their concerns are,” said the Democrat exploring a run for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Blum.

Heckroth said he’s heard many concerns from voters.

“Health care comes up all the time,” he said. “Congressman Blum’s vote for the healthcare bill that passed the Republican House is causing a lot of worry.”

The economy is another point of concern he’s heard.

“What I’m hearing [district voters] say is we need a strong economy,” Heckroth said. “We need jobs that strengthen the middle class and provide a livable wage; we need fair trade that levels the playing field for Iowans and American workers.”

With several other names on the Democratic side considering or announcing their candidacy for the seat, Heckroth said the primary process will be beneficial.

“I think primaries are good for the party and they’re good for voters and the citizens,” he said.

Heckroth said he finds inspiration in his father, former state Sen. Bill Heckroth, as well as former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and President Barack Obama. He worked on Harkin’s staff for three years with a focus on education, labor and agriculture before moving to the Department of Labor.

“I worked to hold our trading partners and corporations accountable to protect our workers,” he said of his time in the Obama administration.

Looking to 2018, Heckroth said he’s seen an “energized” Democratic Party, more so than in recent election cycles. That, he said, could mean more turnout.

Money in politics has been a hot topic in the last few cycles, and Heckroth said he would like to see money have less influence in the country’s politics.

“I know that it will take a lot of money in order to mount a successful and competitive campaign, and that is a plan I’m working to put together if I run,” he said. “We have to do something to reduce the influence of money on our political system, and our democracy depends on finding that balance again.”

Heckroth said he has fond memories of Marshalltown, as his parents grew up in Tama County and he often visited his grandfather in town. He also said his great aunt worked at Lennox Industries.

“I have roots in the area, and it’s certainly nice to be able to get around and go to places that have such good memories,” he said.