Matt Robinson said his candidacy for an Iowa Senate seat has given him much to do when he’s not at his day job.
“We’re getting out and we’re doing the work on the ground,” Robinson said. “We’re knocking on doors, talking with people, getting the introductions done, and people are very excited to meet with a local candidate.”
A Democrat, Robinson, 28, of unincorporated Dubuque County, is running against Iowa Sen. Carrie Koelker, R-Dyersville, for the newly created Iowa Senate District 33 seat. Robinson hosted a barbecue fundraising event Sunday at Farley Community Park.
The district includes most of rural Dubuque County, all of Jones County and most of Jackson County. Robinson said he has been busy meeting the district’s voters.
“It’s an enriching experience to meet these people and hear their concerns and just have a conversation,” he said. “I think one of the best things you can do as a legislator is be a listener and figure out what the people are looking for.”
Robinson is a construction worker with a company based in Dubuque.
“I am a lot like these everyday Iowan blue-collar folks who are getting their day’s work done and getting home and trying to live their lives,” he said. “I want them to know that they have an ally.”
Iowa Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, attended the event in support of Robinson. Mathis is running to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson to represent Iowa’s new 2nd Congressional District.
“It gives us hope that a crowd is supportive of someone like Matt Robinson,” Mathis said at the event. “They want him to represent them at the state Capitol because he has roots here.”
Bob Gertsen, of Oxford Junction, lives in the senate district and attended Sunday’s event.
“We met Matt through the Jones County Democrats,” Gertsen said. “For a younger guy, he has a great grasp of the issues.”
Robinson said his candidacy will continue to seek and meet voters in the district’s small towns.
“The small towns are where we get our votes,” he said. “In my opinion, the people in these small towns need someone who has their back. Rural communities in Iowa are hurting — whether it’s their public schools, access to health care or good-paying, safe jobs — they are looking for help. The people who can help are legislators, and that’s why I got into this race.”
Robinson’s opponent, Koelker, told the Telegraph Herald on Sunday that her campaign also has been busy.
“I’ve been out meeting with constituents,” she said. “The district is made up of 45 rural Iowa communities, and I’ve been out on the campaign trail.”