Longtime firefighter and community activist Steve Gorman of Council Bluffs has entered the race for the Iowa Senate District 8 seat.
Gorman, a Democrat, is the first to announce from the party. If there is not a primary, he’ll face Sen. Dan Dawson, a Council Bluffs Republican, in the November 2020 election.
District 8 includes the majority of Council Bluffs and all of Carter Lake.
“The people in Council Bluffs and Carter Lake are losing ground in today’s economy because politicians are spending too much time on partisan bickering and games at the Iowa Capitol and in Washington, D.C.,” Gorman said in a release through the Senate Democrats organization. “We need more leaders who will go to Des Moines and work to give everyday Iowans — like those in Pottawattamie County — a better shot at getting ahead. I’m running for the Iowa Senate to help find bipartisan solutions to real problems affecting hard-working people in my community.”
In an interview on Wednesday, Gorman said a key reason he’s running is, “I don’t think Iowa is meeting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Gorman said the state needs to improve its mental health treatment, including funding recently rolled out programs.
Asked what a solution to the crisis would look like, Gorman noted the need to move mental health patients from prisons to mental health facilities, saying the state should reopen facilities that have been closed in the last 5 to 10 years. He said funding the mandate will help people access care who currently can’t afford it.
Gorman was born and raised in Council Bluffs and attended both public and private schools before graduating from St. Albert High School, according to his campaign.
After high school, he trained and then worked as a commercial and industrial journeyman electrician for 25 years. During that time he joined the Council Bluffs Fire Department, which he’s been a part of for 28 years and currently works out of Station 2.
Gorman said his involvement in community activities includes helping found the Gibraltar Neighborhood Association, as well as volunteering at several local schools, Neighborhood Watch, Celebrate Council Bluffs and Preserve Council Bluffs. He was also a Scout leader and a youth sports coach.
Gorman ran for the Iowa House District 16 seat in 2016 and 2018, losing both times to Republican Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa by 1,727 votes and 114 votes, respectively. Gorman also ran in a special election for House District 81 — which included a portion of rural Council Bluffs and stretched into Harrison County — in 2001, losing to Republican Paul Wilderdyke. The state has since redrawn districts.
“Learn and look forward, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Gorman said of his earlier runs for office. “People do want representation; they do want to know their candidates. They like to see you on the doorstops and be out there where they can talk to you. In 2018, they appreciated the hard work and efforts I was making to get their views met, listen to their needs. Going forward we’ll work to talk to as many people as possible.”
Gorman and his wife, Chris, have been married for 34 years. She has been a teacher for 32 years and is currently teaching 8th grade for Council Bluffs Community Schools. They have two grown children.
“In the Iowa Senate, I will work hard to tackle the state’s mental health crisis, to train more workers for better paying jobs, and make sure all Iowans – regardless of their zip code – get the health care they need and deserve. When we find solutions for these issues and more, Council Bluffs and Carter Lake will be a better place to live, work, and raise a family,” Gorman said. “I pledge to work hard every day to listen to people and to take action to solve real problems in Council Bluffs, Carter Lake and Iowa.”
Dawson, an agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said Wednesday he plans to run again in 2020. The first-term senator beat 32-year incumbent Mike Gronstal by 1,869 votes in 2016.
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