Rep. Mary Mascher of Iowa City announced on Monday she will not run for reelection next year. Mascher, a leader among progressive Democrats in the Iowa House of Representatives, was first elected to her seat in 1994.
“I want to thank the people of Johnson County for their love and support over the last 28 years,” Mascher said in a written statement. “It has truly been an honor to represent the people in Iowa City, University Heights and Hills. I am looking forward to continuing to be their voice in the State House during the 2022 session.”
Speaking to students at Kirkwood’s Workplace Learning Connection via Zoom last year, Mascher said she became interested in politics at an early age, while growing up on her family’s farm in Johnson County. Her father served on the school board, and was an active member of the National Farmer Organization. Her mother was experienced working on the campaigns of community members running for office, and her help was considered invaluable.
“They knew that if you had Lucille on your side, then you had a good chance of being elected,” Mascher said.
“We had a very political family, and a family that loved to talk about the issues of the day and why they were important.”
It was also a large family — Mascher grew up with 12 brothers and sisters, some of whom have also gone on to be elected to public office. Having that many siblings help teach Mascher the importance of negotiating, compromise and patience, she explained, saying those three attributes have proven important in her career in the Iowa House.
Mascher told the Kirkwood students she considered that the bill creating a preschool program for 4-year-olds and passing the ban on smoking in indoor public spaces to be among the work she is most proud of in the Iowa House.
Mascher included both of those accomplishments in a list of significant legislation she has worked on during her 14 terms in the legislature, along with creating incentives for investments in wind and solar energy, and protecting the rights of LGBTQ Iowans by putting them into the state’s civil rights law in 2007.
Mascher also pointed to her work to increase funding for education, both college and K-12, and educational opportunities in the state. Education has been a top priority for Mascher throughout her political career, which isn’t surprising since she taught fifth and sixth-graders in Iowa City schools for 33 years before retiring in 2009.
In her statement on Monday, Mascher said she is “looking forward to this next chapter in my life and will continue to be active in local party politics.”
“I am committed to community organizations that help those who struggle with housing and food insecurity. Quality, affordable, accessible early childhood education continues to be a top priority for the people in Johnson County and I will join forces with others to make that a reality for hard-working families.”
Mascher’s announcement comes just days after Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City, another Democratic leader who has served in the Iowa Legislature since the ’90s, announced he would not be seeking another term. In August, Christina Bohannan, who is in her first term representing Iowa City in the Iowa House, announced she wouldn’t seek reelection and is instead running for the Democratic nomination for Congress in what is transitioning from Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District to the 1st District.