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Iowa State Student And Lecturer Vie For State House

This story was written by Virginia Zantow, Iowa State Daily


An Iowa State University lecturer and an ISU student will face off for the state House of Representatives seat representing District 45 on Nov. 4.

Ryan Rhodes, senior in horticulture, and Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, lecturer of political science, are competing for the seat this year and not only represent different ends of the political spectrum, but are from different stages of life as well.

Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat, has already served two terms as a state representative, and is running for re-election.

Rhodes, a Republican, is still finishing his bachelors in horticulture at Iowa State. He said he is specifically studying turf grass management.

Ive always been interested [in politics], but like everybody else I thought thats something you do when youre older, Rhodes said.

However, he said, if no one else is going to stand up, then its time for you to stand up.

He said he has been frustrated lately with an issue that is on virtually everyones mind this election year: the economy.

As a country and as a state, Rhodes said, people are over-spending and under-performing.

The number one idea Rhodes said he has come up with to help rebuild the economy is to develop a program in which college graduates who choose to remain in Iowa after school can pay off their student loans sooner, without the government giving a hand.

Rhodes said this could be accomplished by not requiring those alumni to pay state income tax instead, the money they would pay for income tax would go toward paying off student debt.

If people have this much debt, the economy cant go forward because people cant spend money and they cant invest, Rhodes said.

He said some legislators have contacted him and told him they thought it was a good idea.

Wessel-Kroeschell said she is also very concerned about the economy.

She said it will be important to create new, good jobs and to maintain the educational system all the way up to graduate school in Iowa by making tuition affordable.

When it comes to creating new jobs, she said Iowa can really harness its natural resources, such as water, to help accomplish this. While water may seem irrelevant to the economy, Wessel-Kroeschell said businesses such as Google and Microsoft look for that resource when they want to set up business in a state.

Because this natural resource is important to the business community, Wessel-Kroeschell said it is important to be good stewards of our environment.

Wessel-Kroeschell said she has helped push forward legislation to make it possible for anyone in the state of Iowa to bring voter registration information and a photo ID to the ballots on election day and be able to register and vote right there and then. She said this helps students, who often move and forget to fill out voting paperwork.

Another thing she said she has helped to fight for, relating to students, has been the cost of tuition. She said state college tuition in Iowa went up by more than 70 percent between 2001 and 2005, when Republicans had control of the Iowa House. However, since the Democrats have seized control, she said state tuition has had record low increases.

I have a good, strong record for Iowa State students keeping tuition low, Wessel-Kroeschell said.

Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (Democrat):

- She received a bachelors degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a masters at Iowa State.

- She served as an assistant to a senator and to a state representative. She is a board member on ACCESS, an organization that assists people suffeing from domestic violence.

- In the Iowa House, she is a member of the environmental protection, human resources and judiciary committees.

Ryan Rhodes (Republican):

- Ryan Rhodes, 26, graduated from high school in Cedar Rapids and plans to graduate this fall from Iowa State with a degree in horticulture.

- Rhodes was a personal intern to the Leadership Institutes President in 2008 in Washington, D.C. where he was trained in campaigns and elections.

- Rhodes said the three most important issues to him in this election are education, energy independence and healthcare.