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State Representative Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) announced a couple months ago that his current term serving the southeast corner of Iowa would be his last. The district includes Keokuk, Fort Madison, and southern Lee County.Three Democrats entered the race to replace Kearns: Jeff Kurtz (D-Fort Madison), Bob Morawitz (D-Fort Madison) and Michael Hardy (D-Keokuk). You can hear extended interviews with Kurtz and Morawitz below (Hardy informed TSPR that he has withdrawn from the race.)The winner of the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 will likely face Jeff Reichman (R-Montrose) in the November General Election. Reichman is running unopposed for his party's nomination.

Meet Bob Morawitz - State Representative Candidate - June 5 Iowa Primary

Bob Morawitz (D-Fort Madison) is running in Iowa House District 83.

Bob Morawitz (D-Fort Madison) is running for the District 83 seat in the Iowa House of Representatives. He said if elected he would carefully consider every issue that comes before him and do what is best for all of his constituents.

Morawitz is one of the candidates running to replace Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk), who announced this will be his final year representing District 83, which includes Keokuk, Fort Madison and south Lee County. The other candidates in the race are Jeff Kurtz (D-Fort Madison), Michael Hardy (D-Keokuk), and Jeff Reichman (R-Montrose).

**NOTE - Tri States Public Radio spoke with Morawitz prior to the adjournment of the legislative session and prior to the passage of the fetal heartbeat bill.**  

Morawitz said he was not interested in challenging Kearns, but the lawmaker's retirement announcement opened the door to a great opportunity to serve the region he’s called home for decades. Morawitz said he’s also concerned about what has gone on in Des Moines the past two years.

“They’ve done some much damage to the working families of Iowa in the last two years,” said Morawitz, citing education funding, public employee bargaining rights, and health care as several examples.

Morawitz is a Navy veteran who has served on several boards and commissions in Fort Madison, including the electrical board and the historic preservation commission. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Lee County Democratic Party and 2nd Ward Alderman on the Fort Madison City Council, a position he would have to give up if elected to the Iowa House.

Morawitz said that as a state lawmaker he would push to make sure cities and counties have the right to increase the minimum wage, regardless of whether the state rate changes. He said he was unhappy when the state stepped in and stopped Lee County's attempt to pass a higher local minimum wage.

“The state came around and said, ‘No, everyone is going to be at the base level,’” said Morawitz. “That is one of the things that really upset me with the state.”

On the issues: 

  • Morawitz said he would strive to reverse the privatization of Medicaid and put the state back in control of the health care program for its most vulnerable residents.
  • He said Iowa could put more money into mental health care and education by recalling tax incentives for large businesses that fail to comply with the terms of the incentives or are not in need of the financial help.
  • Morawitz said state incentives should be offered to smaller businesses that need the support rather than major corporations such as Walmart.
  •  He would support putting more money into programs to help improve the local workforce so that Lee County can offer highly qualified workers to businesses.
  • Morawitz would reverse the changes to the public employee bargaining bill, restoring the list of issues that must be negotiated during contact talks between local governments and their employees.

Morawitz said he would take his time when considering legislation to make sure a bill does what is best for the residents of House District 83. He said he will maintain the same commitment he has shown while on the Fort Madison City Council.
Morawitz said a fellow alderman described him as a bulldog once. "'You grab onto an idea and never let it go until it is done.' I research and think about both sides. And I talk to people and get their opinions and then I parse those ideas and come up with what I think is the best, fairest way of doing something and once I have convinced myself, then I try to convince others and stick to it," Morawitz said.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.