Jen Pellant, a human resources professional and a Lewis Central School District graduate, announced Tuesday her candidacy for Iowa House District 16, a seat currently held by Mary Ann Hanusa.

Her primary focus is elevating the interests of educators and students in Iowa, from pre-kindergarten through college.

“First and foremost, I want to talk about advancing education, because that’s a big part of what makes this community and state great,” Pellant said in a release announcing her candidacy. “We need trained and talented people in Iowa and must empower our educators to develop future generations.”

She said that means fighting to protect IPERS from those who would break promises to thousands of public servants. She supports collective bargaining and organizing rights for Iowans in the workplace as well.

Pellant supports returning Medicaid management to the state to ensure people-first care and effective oversight of essential services.

“People with disabilities and other vulnerable Iowans are suffering because the governor and Legislature allowed managed-care organizations to make catastrophic changes to Medicaid,” she said. “We need to return that system back to the state, which managed it by putting people over profits, and did so less expensively and more efficiently than the MCO’s.”

She said a defining feature of her campaign will be strong advocacy for the environmental restoration of Iowa’s land, water and air quality.

“We may be a divided state politically, but we all breathe the same air,” Pellant said.

After graduating from Lewis Centrl, Pellant, 47, a Democrat, went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from Simpson College in Indianola and a law degree from the University of Iowa School of Law. She is a daughter of Erwin and Jan Pellant, retired, long-time Council Bluffs teachers.

Pellant worked for years as a human resources manager for a Chicago-area restaurant chain and then a steel-fabrication company. She returned to her hometown last year to serve as a field organizer for the Democratic presidential campaign of former Maryland Congressman John Delaney.

“Politics can’t just be about ideas. It has to be about making real change that people need. In knocking lots of doors here, talking to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, I’ve heard first-hand about the hopes and the struggles of so many people in our city, and it would be an honor to advocate for them in the statehouse,” she said.

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