Election 2020: Meet the candidates in Iowa House 73 race


The Wilton-Durant Advocate News sent political questionnaires to all county-level candidates in contested races running in Muscatine and Cedar counties.

Forms were sent to the following candidates: in Cedar County, board of supervisor candidates Jon Bell, Larry Hodgden, Steve Agne and Jeff Kaufmann. In Muscatine County, auditor candidates Tibe Vander Linden, Mary Mason-Wheeler and Brandy Harfst; sheriff candidates Michael Channon and Quinn Riess; board of supervisor District 3 candidates Scott Sauer and Ed Askew; board of supervisor District 4 candidates Michelle Servadio Elias and Nathan Mather; and county attorney candidates James Barry and Bill Tharp.

Of those, all were responded to except one. Questionnaires were also sent to Iowa House District 73 candidates Bobby Kaufmann and Lonny Pulkrabek, but neither were returned by the deadline. In follow-up correspondence with Rep. Kaufmann, evidence of electronic response was submitted, although it was never received. Therefore, responses are being printed this week.

Early in-person voting began Oct. 5 and will continue until the election. Election Day is Nov. 3. Voters may also cast their ballots via absentee. Check with both Cedar and Muscatine county auditor offices for polling places.

Iowa House District 73

Bobby Kaufmann

Republican Incumbent

Bobby Kaufmann, 35, of Wilton is running on the Republican ticket for the Iowa House in District 73, which includes Wilton, Cedar County and portions of Johnson County. He’s a 4-term incumbent in the position, and currently works as farmer and small business owner.

Memberships include — Iowa Farm Bureau, Cedar County Historical Society, Sons of the American Legion, Solon Optimist Club, Tipton Lions.

What do you feel are the main issues concerning your constituents?

The main issues concerning my constituents are ensuring our schools are well-funded, helping small businesses and Iowans as a whole safely recover from the impact of COVID-19, and provide adequate mental health funding. I think it is also important for the state to be prudent with Iowans’ tax dollars and have a balanced budget. I hear a lot about passing legislation to help those that help us — law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS workers. I also think it is critical to work on legislation that makes healthcare and prescription drugs more affordable.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term in office?

COVID-19 made the 2020 session shorter and much more difficult to navigate. There were several bills that I passed out of the House that didn’t make it through the Senate due to the pandemic. One of the bills provided more funding and better benefits for police officers and firefighters. I will make it a priority to get that signed into law. I also will get EMS as an essential service across the finish line. This will provide critical funding for our ambulance services. The biggest thing I want to accomplish is to continue Iowa’s record of being a bipartisan state where everyone works together to achieve results — 93 percent of the bills that were signed into the law the last four years have passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. I believe in working with anyone who has a good idea.

Why are you seeking public office?

I am seeking office again because I have a track record of working together with both parties to achieve results for the people of Muscatine and Cedar counties. This year we passed a great bill to strengthen our animal cruelty laws. We have also increased K-12 public education spending by $765 million during my time in office. I am also proud of the fact that Iowa was recently named the best state in the nation when it comes to our budget weathering the pandemic. We never spend more than we take in and ensure our savings account is full, so we can pay for disasters as they happen. It is very important that Wilton and Cedar County has its own representation. My opponent and our Senator are from Iowa City and Coralville. I am a lifelong Wilton community member and resident of Cedar County. I will always watch out for Wilton and Cedar County in Des Moines.

Lonny Pulkrabek

Democratic challenger

Lonny Pulkrabek, 57, of Iowa City is running on the Democratic ticket for the Iowa House in District 73, which includes Wilton, Cedar County and portions of Johnson County. He’s currently serves as the Johnson County Sheriff.

He is a graduate of Kirkwood Community College, and received a criminal justice degree from Mount Mercy College.

Lonny and his wife Julie have one son. Memberships include — president of the Iowa State Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Association in 2017, and president of the Iowa State Association of Counties in 2018; member of the League of Women Voters and the Eagles Lodge.

What do you feel are the main issues concerning your constituents?

The Coronavirus is our most pressing issue. We’re seven months into this pandemic and, again, Iowa’s infection rate is one of the highest in the nation. We need to do more to expand access to reliable testing, distribute PPE, and help families, farmers and small businesses through this crisis. Separately, we need to invest more in education, and expand access to affordable healthcare.

Iowa used to have the best school system in the nation, but in recent years our standing dropped. We must invest in public schools and support teachers to get our schools back to No. 1. We also need to ensure access to affordable healthcare, doesn’t depend on where you live or how much money you make.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term in office?

During my term in office, I’ll work to bring balance and transparency back to Des Moines. With single party control in Des Moines, we’ve seen too many partisan bills passed in the dead of night, and little transparency over billions of dollars of spending.

Too often, decisions in Des Moines are made based on party allegiances rather than what’s best for folks at home. As your state Representative, I will always put the residents of District 73 first. I’ll work hard for substantive improvements, and always be accessible and transparent.

Why are you seeking public office?

After 35 years, I was looking forward to retiring. My wife of 29 years, Julie, and I were ready to spend more time with family. But seeing the path our state is on, I knew I had to pitch in. We can’t afford problems like the high cost of healthcare, inadequate funding for our schools, and lack of mental health services to continue unaddressed.

Too often legislators put partisan interests above meaningful outcomes. I’m running to use my experience and bring people together to make progress on long standing issues affecting the residents of District 73.