University of Iowa College of Law professor Christina Bohannan announced on Monday that she is running for the Iowa House of Representatives. Bohannan, a Democrat, is a candidate in the Iowa City-based District 85, which is currently represented by Vicki Lensing, a fellow Democrat.
“I am running for the Iowa House of Representatives, because over the past few years, we have been losing the values that make Iowa Iowa,” Bohannan said in a campaign video. “The legislature has been disinvesting in education and health care. It has struck down Johnson County’s minimum wage, and has eviscerated collective bargaining rights. It has failed to act on climate change, even though recent studies show that Iowa is experiencing some of the worst effects in the nation.”
“And at a time of horrific mass shootings all over the country, the Iowa legislature has taken the first step toward passing a state constitutional amendment that the NRA describes as an ‘iron wall around gun rights.'”
The video begins with Bohannan recounting her working-class upbringing in Florida and the importance of public education in her life. She was the first member of her family to attend college. Bohannan received a degree in environmental engineering from the University of Florida and worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, before attending the UF College of Law.
She was a visiting professor at the UI College of Law for two years starting in 2000, before joining the faculty. Bohannan is currently a professor, Lauridsen Family Fellow in Law and director of the Master of Studies in Law program.
“As a law professor, I research innovation and economic growth, and I teach young people the importance of law and constitutional democracy to achieve a just and vibrant society,” Bohannan said in the video. “As a former environmental engineer, I understand the need for evidence-based decision-making and the urgency of climate change.”
“And as a mother, I know why we have to get all of this right.”
In a written statement accompanying her announcement, Bohannan said, “Iowa has a history of supporting common-sense progressive values. It is time to restore Iowa’s values, reclaim Iowa’s legacy, and fulfill Iowa’s promise. I’m running for Iowa House District 85 because I am all in.”
Bohannan lists a series of priorities on her campaign site, including helping Iowa “reclaim its legacy as a champion of education,” creating a health care system that’s affordable for all, prompting workers’ and voters’ rights, and addressing climate change and gun violence.
Rep. Vicki Lensing, co-owner of Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service, has never faced a challenger in District 85. She was first elected in the district in 2012, without opposition in either the primary or general election. Lensing was also the only candidate for the seat in the following three elections.
Prior to the 2012 election, Lensing had represented the same general area in Iowa House since 2001. From 2001 to 2003, she was the representative in District 79, and from 2003 to 2013, she represented District 78. Iowa legislative districts are redrawn every ten years to reflect changes in the U.S. Census, so while Lensing has represented the same general area since she was first elected to the Iowa House 19 years ago, the boundaries of that district changed each time its name changed.
The primary for the District 85 seat in the Iowa House of Representatives and other state offices will be held on June 2, 2020.