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Iowa Senate District 39 turns blue

BY AARON WALKER | NOVEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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Democrat Kevin Kinney will soon turn Iowa’s 39th State Senate District blue.

He was elected Tuesday over Republican Mike Moore by an unofficial margin of 9,594 to 7,679.

Kinney will take over the seat from the retiring Republican Sandra Greiner, who has held the seat since 2011.

“First, I’m going to reach out to the people in Washington, Johnson, and Keokuk Counties and try to work across the lines and move forward,” Kinney said. “I want them to realize that I’m here to work for and with them."

This will be Kinney’s first term as an Iowa state senator.  He is currently a veteran lieutenant sheriff in Johnson County and a lifelong farmer from Oxford, Iowa.

He was awarded the 2014 American Legion’s Midwest Region Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
The 39th district covers all of Keokuk County, most of Washington County, and the south and west portions of Johnson County.

Kinney said his experience managing his Johnson County farm will provide him with the skills necessary to maintain a fiscally balanced district.

“Operating our family farm we have to be responsible and stay within our budget,” Kinney said. “[This is] no different.  You need to stay within your budget, and you can’t overspend.”

During his campaign, he consistently iterated issues with the prison system, regarding mental health by referring to them as the largest mental health facilities in the state.

“I would like to sit down with other legislators and talk about the mental-health situation,” Kinney said. “I think that we need to look at it, and it could be run more efficiently.”

On education, Kinney maintained a desire to establish a Common Core curriculum across the state or the nation.

“It sets a minimum curriculum, in which kids moving in and out of school district and lets the teachers know they have had at least been taught the minimum standards,” Kinney said. “People in western Iowa would be no different from students in eastern Iowa. That way we could compare apples to apples instead of apples to oranges.”

Head of the Johnson County Republicans Bill Keettel said this will lead to an “interesting dance” in the state Legislature.

“Assuming Republicans made no compensating districts in the Senate, then control stays the same,” Keettel said. “Gov. Branstad will need to lead the state through difficult confrontation between the [Democrat-controlled] Senate and the [Republican-controlled] House.”

Losing candidate Moore said he was surprised and disappointed by the results of the election.

“We ran a very clean campaign, response was very positive but obviously didn’t carry over to the voting booth, so it caught us by surprise,” Moore said.

He said his next step in life will be to relax and find something else to do that helps the people in his community.

He wished Kinney the best and reluctantly said, “Unfortunately somebody has to lose.”

Kinney wanted to thank Moore for running a good and clean campaign.

“I’d just like to thank everyone that came out and helped us, supported us. It’s been overwhelming,” he said. “We couldn’t have done this without the support of the people that helped me.”


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