Janice Weiner is running for Iowa State Senate

Janice Weiner, Thursday, Oct 10, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Janice Weiner will run for the Iowa State Senate instead of seeking reelection to the Iowa City Council in 2022. The first-term councilmember will campaign for the Democratic nomination in the newly drawn Senate District 45, whose area largely matches that of the current District 43, currently represented by Sen. Joe Bolkcom.

Bolkcom announced earlier this month he will not run for another term, after 22 years in the Iowa Senate.

Weiner’s formal announcement will come later this week, but the Daily Iowan reported on her Senate plans on Sunday, after seeing Weiner had changed her campaign Facebook page from “Janice for City Council” to “Janice for Senate” on Friday.

“Now that we’re losing Joe and Mary [Mascher] at the same time, I think we need someone at the state level who has local experience who can speak to what happens when local control is taken away,” Weiner told Little Village regarding her decision to run for the Senate. “And more importantly, make a positive point about what you get when you allow communities to experiment.”

“I think that I have a pretty unique perspective and background that I hope could benefit both this area and the state as a whole.”

Weiner grew up in the Iowa City area and attended Iowa City West High School, before going on to Princeton University and Stanford Law School. After 26 years in the U.S. foreign service, including diplomatic postings in Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Germany and Poland, Weiner returned to Iowa City, where she is currently raising her granddaughter, Alaska.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar talks with Janice Weiner and her grandaughter Alaska following a campaign event at Iowa City Public Library. Saturday, May 4, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Asked if her diplomatic background would be helpful in dealing with Republican majorities in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature if she is elected, Weiner said it was “an incredibly useful tool to have in my belt.”

“Because wherever I was in the foreign service, I built relationships with people from all political parties, so that I could really understand what was going on.”

But experiences closer to home form the focus of what Weiner wants to address in the Senate.

“Raising my 4-year-old granddaughter is giving me huge insights and focus on childcare as an issue, which is economic as well as an equity issue for the state,” Weiner said.

She also cited expanding and improving mental health treatment in Iowa, along with the issues she has worked on during her three years on the city council, as priorities.

This is Weiner’s second run for the Iowa Senate. In 2018, she ran for the open seat in District 37, but lost the Democratic nomination to Zach Wahls.

The following year, Weiner ran a successful campaign for an at-large seat on the Iowa City Council. Her term on the council runs through 2022.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.