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.

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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.