As the Iowa State Legislature began its new legislative session on Monday, Representative Brooke Boden began her career as one of Iowa’s newest state representatives.
Boden, an Indianola resident who was elected to Iowa’s 26th House District in November, took the oath of office on Monday. While new to elected office, Boden is not new to Iowa’s political scene, taking her experience as a local and statewide activist and former Iowa Senate clerk.
“The new representatives had classes, orientations and have gotten together with our great leadership,” Boden, a Republican, said. “I’m ready to roll and I’m excited.”
She said that although she hasn’t been an elected official before, she is coming into the position with some experience.
“I have a unique experience in the fact that I worked for my daughter to pass a bill on Lyme Disease and stood on the outside in the rotunda and spoke to all the legislators in the House and Senate, just like the lobby would,” she said.
That bill, which helped support Iowans suffering from Lyme Disease, passed both chambers in 2017.
After defeating incumbent Democrat Scott Ourth with over 53% of the vote, she will represent the northern and eastern parts of Warren County, including the city of Indianola and parts of Norwalk and Carlisle.
In addition to starting her new role as a state representative, Boden will also take a leadership role as the vice chair of the state government committee.
Boden said as vice chair she will help shepherd through many different bills in this committee under the leadership of the committee chair, Rep. Bobby Kauffman.
“So many bills and types of legislation can pass through state government,” she said. “Pretty much everything is considered state government.”
In addition to the state government committee, Boden will also be on the Human Resources, Ways and Means, and Veterans Affairs committees and several appropriations subcommittees.
“I feel like the leadership did a very good job of fitting me to the things that I will be good at in a committee,” she said.
Boden will be joining a state legislature controlled by her party that will decide how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 4,000 Iowans.
Boden said about COVID-19, the Iowa legislature needs to follow guidelines and be transparent about COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
“I’m not a leader and I’m not making those decisions, but those who are are mindful of the pandemic, watching it, and will make adjustments if they need to,” she said.
During the opening session, a simultaneous protest against Iowa’s mask mandate took place at the Iowa Capitol building. While the state is under a mask mandate, the state legislature is exempt under its new rules.
Boden said her other priorities include mental health, reducing the tax burden, education and children issues.
“I have a kindergartener, a senior and a college student,” she said. “I get a good, wide view of those issues.”
Childcare, which she said has been a top priority for her caucus, is also on Boden’s mind. While she isn’t writing any upcoming bills on it, she said she is looking forward to the debates on the topic.
“I know we have to look at the high cost and low access,” she said. “I believe that we will move the needle on that and its a good bipartisan thing we can work on.”
Boden said she also wants to take a look at Iowa’s election law to make sure the state’s procedures are solid.
Many of these topics were brought up at a legislative luncheon with local Warren County businesses and elected officials hosted by the Indianola Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
The luncheon took place around the same time as the riots at the U.S. Capitol led by a group of President Donald Trump’s supporters who were there protesting the congressional certification of the election results.
Boden was present at the luncheon, along with U.S. Representative Cindy Axne, who was in Washington, when the Capitol building was stormed by a group of supporters of President Donald Trump, leaving five people dead.
Boden is one of Warren County’s local elected officials who gave her thoughts on the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol.
“I think that we are a civil nation and we should behave civilly,” Boden said. “Unrest may come in government, which we’ve seen in the history of the United States of America for sure, but I also believe the way to solve things is to do it the right way.”
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Newly elected State Rep. Brooke Boden chosen as vice chair of State Government Committee