DES MOINES, Iowa – On Tuesday morning, State Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, announced on Twitter that he is running for governor.
“I am running for Governor because I believe that Iowa’s greatest days are ahead of us,” he said.
My name is Ras Smith and I am running for Governor because I believe that Iowa’s greatest days are ahead of us. (1/7) pic.twitter.com/lWpjjPISIM
— Ras Smith (@rasforiowa) June 15, 2021
Smith, 33, currently represents Iowa House District 62 that includes Waterloo, Elk Run Heights, Evansdale, and Raymond.
“I love Iowa – it’s where my wife and I are raising our daughters, Iowa is where I love to hunt, coach, mentor, and farm. I learned early in life that service to community is just ‘what you do.’ From training student athletes, to helping kids get their basic needs met and to counseling them, my calling to service has taught me we are stronger when we have each other’s backs,” he said.
“Iowans deserve a governor who will embrace the challenges of today as opportunities to lead tomorrow. A governor, that when the days get long, will have your back. We deserve a government that is worthy of our work,” Smith added. “And I believe this moment is our greatest opportunity for change.”
“In Iowa, we’re proud of the work that we do. I have faith that when we work together, when we use new eyes to look at old problems, we can build a state where everyone can succeed,” he concluded.
A Waterloo native, Smith graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Youth and Human Services. Away from the Iowa House, he serves on the Executive Advisory Committee for the University of Northern Iowa, Executive Board of the Urban Agriculture Institute, and Executive Board of the YMCA of Black Hawk County. In addition, he owns Rise Advocacy Services, a consulting firm that works with non-profit organizations in the Cedar Valley.
He lives in Waterloo with his wife Amelia and their two daughters, Maria and Samara.
First elected to the Iowa House in 2016, Smith currently serves as the Ranking Member for the House Education Committee and the Chairman of the Iowa Legislative Black Caucus. He also serves on the Iowa House Agriculture, Information Technology, and Natural Resources committees. Since his election to the Iowa House, Smith has advocated for workers’ rights, social justice, and education reform. He has opposed school choice efforts Reynolds initiated during the 2021 session. Smith also sponsored legislation that was passed addressing police reform, decreasing barriers to small business opportunities, and creating alternative pathways for high school completion.
Reynolds has not yet announced her re-election plans, but it is widely expected that she will run in 2022.
The Republican Governors Association responded to Smith’s announcement.
“Governor Kim Reynolds is a battle-tested and proven leader who continues to strengthen the state of Iowa each day,” RGA Spokesperson Maddie Anderson told The Iowa Torch in an email. “Her actions allowed her state to have one of the fastest economic recoveries from COVID, and she continues to lower taxes for Iowans and ensure parents have control over their children’s education. Ras Smith is a tax and spend liberal who supported restrictive, job-killing lockdowns and school closures. Governor Reynolds is in an excellent position to win re-election handily next year and the RGA looks forward to supporting her.”
The Republican Party of Iowa responded to the announcement as well.
“During his short tenure in the Iowa House, Ras Smith has accumulated a dismal voting record. When he had the opportunity to put students and families first or stand up for Iowa’s Main Street businesses, Smith turned his back on them. When he had the opportunity to lower taxes and make a paycheck go further, he voted against it every time. Iowa deserves a leader who puts politics aside and does the right thing, Smith has proved he cannot do it,” Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann said in a released statement.
“Right now, under Governor Reynolds’ leadership, Iowa has the nation’s fastest recovering economy, our children are back in school, and we are coming back even stronger than before. Governor Reynolds has fought to Keep Iowa Moving every day since the pandemic hit, and she has proven to be the fighter Iowa needed in a time of crisis. Iowans know Governor Reynolds – and I know they look forward to reelecting her in 2022,” he added.
The Iowa Democratic Party said they are looking forward to 2022.