District 85 candidates Vicki Lensing and Christina Bohannan will discuss the issues on Thursday in a League of Women Voter’s forum

League of Women Voters Virtual Candidate Forum

LWVJCIA Facebook Page -- Thursday, May 7 at 4 p.m.

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Vicki Lensing (left), Iowa House of Representatives; Christina Bohannan, contributed photo

On Thursday afternoon, the Johnson County League of Women Voters is holding its third virtual forum featuring candidates in the June 2 primary. This third forum will feature the two Democrats running in Iowa House of Representative District 85, Christina Bohannan and Vicki Lensing.

Lensing, co-owner of Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service, has represented the Iowa City area in the legislature since 2001. She was first elected in 2000 in what was then District 79, which later became District 78 and is now District 85, during the redrawing of legislature district maps following the 2000 and 2010 census.

Bohannan, a first-time candidate, moved to Iowa the same year Lensing was first elected to the legislature. A native of Florida, Bohannan came to Iowa City in 2000 to take a position as a visiting professor at the law school. Two years later, she joined the faculty full-time, and is now Lauridsen Family Fellow in Law and director of the Master of Studies in Law program.

Bohannan is the first challenger Lensing has faced in either a primary or general election since the current boundaries of the 85th District were drawn in 2012.

The League sent questionnaires to both candidates as part of the voters’ guides it presents for its Vote 411 project.

In response the question, “What, in your view, is the most critical issue facing the State of Iowa at this time and how will you address it?,” Lensing responded,

This pandemic means new ways for our daily life – healthcare, business, education and government. We have not yet peaked in Iowa so it’s hard to know where this might take us but I think assessing services, priorities and available dollars will Indicate what is needed as we continue though this difficult time. Having never experienced anything like this, the challenges of restoring economic and personal well being to Iowans will be paramount. It will take effort and bipartisanship by all.

Bohannan’s answer to the same question had a broader focus.

The biggest issue – and one that affects all others – is that we have lost all balance in our state government. The far-right has control. In this environment, it is not enough for our Iowa City representatives to vote the right way. We must lead the way for change. I would show up for vulnerable populations. I would be a committed fundraiser to help flip seats. I would make the case for why progressive legislation benefits Iowa and work to bridge the divide between rural and urban areas.

The forum, which begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, will be livestreamed on the Johnson County League of Women Voters Facebook page, where it will also be archived so those who can’t watch it live will be able to do so when time permits. The forum will also be rebroadcast later on Iowa City Channel 4, Coralvision and North Liberty TV.

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