A West Des Moines Democrat who worked in state government for almost 10 years before focusing on running a small business with her husband is looking to unseat U.S. Rep. David Young, R-Iowa.
Cindy Axne announced Friday she’s seeking the 3rd Congressional District seat. The district encompasses the state’s southwest quadrant and includes Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Montgomery, Cass, Polk, Dallas, Guthrie, Warren, Madison, Adair, Taylor, Adams, Union and Ringgold Counties.
Axne said she’s a fifth-generation Iowan.
“My parents grew up here and taught me values about taking care of our family, friends and strangers,” she said. “Right now, no one is taking care of us.”
Axne said she’d work to help all Iowans get to the table, including men and women looking for jobs, students “wondering if they’ll be able to pay off college debt” and parents trying to find health care coverage for children with pre-existing conditions.
She noted disagreement over the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“I think, like so many people in Iowa, this health care mess is making me scared for my family,” Axne said. “With the current system, costs were out of control and it needed to be fixed.” But the GOP House bill “will be devastating,” she said.
Young voted for the House bill. The Senate is drafting its own bill. If it passes, the two houses will need to work on joint legislation.
Axne said President Donald Trump’s decision that the United States should start the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement was ill-advised. “Him pulling out of this (climate) agreement does not serve the people of this state, this country or this world,” Axne said.
Young has not issued a statement about Trump’s decision.
Axne received a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University and started working for the State of Iowa in 2005. Her roles included a stint with the Department of Management overseeing organizational strategies for the state.
“I made sure state agencies had proper processes and strategies in place to implement their services in a tighter fashion — making sure they used taxpayer dollars wisely,” Axne said.
She later served as division administrator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, overseeing “back end” operations: the budget, information technology, human resources, communications, engineering, volunteer services, AmeriCorps and other departments.
Axne left state employment in 2014 to focus on running the digital design firm Creation Agents with her husband, John. She also does consulting work.
The Axnes live in West Des Moines and have two children.
The Democratic primary for the seat is June 5, 2018. Pete D’Alessandro, who ran U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign in Iowa, says he’s exploring a potential bid.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.