Defining himself as a “fiscally conservative Democrat” and an “outsider,” Rich Leopold announced his plan to run for Iowa governor in the 2018 election.
“I’m a scientist by trade. I’m not a legislator. I’m not a politician. I’m actually a doer. I get things done by bringing people together. I’ve been doing this my whole career,” he said in a video livestreamed on his Facebook page.
He said he was first inspired to go into government after working as a conservationist for about 20 years and being unhappy with the policy decisions made by government officials. He served as the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources from 2007 to 2010 and currently serves as the Polk County Conservation director. He has also held positions with the Dickinson County Conservation Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa Environmental Council.
He characterized himself as “candid,” “transparent” and “fair.”
“I say what I mean and I mean what I say,” he said.
He highlighted the need for good-paying, non-outsourceable jobs (using jobs in the wind energy industry as an example), better water and soil quality, improved infrastructure and a diverse agricultural sector (with both big agriculture and smaller operations) as areas he would focus on in his campaign and, should he be elected, as governor.
Other names that have been thrown into the ring for governor include Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who will take Gov. Terry Branstad’s place upon his appointment as ambassador to China. Reynolds already reported having $1 million in the her coffers for a 2018 run, although she hasn’t confirmed for sure that she will run. Current Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, also a Republican, is reportedly considering running for governor.