Twenty-one year old Joe Mitchell, and soon to be college graduate, will take former Rep. Dave Heaton’s seat in Iowa’s House District 84 after his victory over Democratic contender Jason Moats Tuesday night.
Republican Mitchell defeated Jason Moats (D) 4,501-2,848 in Henry County Tuesday night. District 84 includes Henry County and rural Washington, Jefferson and Lee counties. Mitchell defeated Moats by a 61.9-38.1 percent margin.
The Wayland native couldn’t describe the feeling of the win sitting in the Henry County Courthouse Tuesday night as the election results came in.
“I’m excited,” Mitchell said. “I was anxious all day, but now it’s come, and you can’t really describe the feeling.”
Mitchell said his first thing he wants to accomplish when he is sworn into the Legislature in January is making bipartisan bridges between the political parties.
“I’m going to be voting on bills that help groups and help people that aren’t necessarily going to vote for me, but it’s my job as a representative to represent every single person in the district, regardless of whether they like me or not,” Mitchell said.
The first specific piece of legislation Mitchell said he would like to tackle is extending the funding stream called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) for public schools.
Other priorities Mitchell said he has are the state budget and making sure the state is not taking out of the reserve funds and that it is filled in the event of an “economic emergency”; small business-friendly policies that give tax breaks to small businesses; and equal funding for rural school districts.
Mitchell is graduating from Drake University in December. He has four years of experience working for Gov. Kim Reynold’s office, the house, the senate and the lobby. While Mitchell said he does think voters were skeptical at first of his youth, his experience speaks for itself.
“I’ve been blessed the past couple years, and I think they were very welcoming of that and they want some new blood,” Mitchell said.
Retiring Iowa House District 84 representative Dave Heaton said Mitchell is the right person to carry on the district.
“When he takes the oath, he’s going to think about the people he’s seen and talked to along the way,” Heaton said at the courthouse Tuesday night. “The political process is a realization that to be a representative is an opportunity to be an extension for the people he represents.”
While Heaton has mentored Mitchell throughout the campaign, Heaton said that it was always Mitchell’s words.
“Telling him what to say, I stayed out of that part, so Joe was his own person. Joe’s Joe,” Heaton said.