Darrel Branhagen, a local organic farmer, attorney and decorated combat veteran, will seek election to the Iowa House District 55, which includes portions of Fayette, Clayton and Winneshiek counties.
He is challenging Incumbent Roger Thomas, a Democrat from Elkader, who is serving his 8th term in the Iowa House.
Branhagen, a Republican, grew up in Decorah where he graduated from Decorah High School and then earned graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin, a graduate degree from the U.S. Army War College and his law degree from Drake University in Des Moines.
After graduation, he joined the Army and served in Panama, Bosnia and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, he was Chief Coalition Military Advisor to the Afghanistan government. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Badge. He served in the Army for 30 years, retiring as a Colonel.
While stateside, Branhagen was employed as Chief Attorney and General Counsel of International Technological Corporations in Texas. After living abroad and in Texas, Branhagen wanted to return to his home of Decorah.
Branhagen said his life has been dedicated to service and now he is looking to work on behalf of Iowans in the Statehouse.
"Iowa state government can either help or hurt job creation and economic growth. I want to make sure it helps. I will work with Democrats and Republicans to find ways to make it easier to be an employer in the state, draw new jobs to Iowa, and ensure our workers have the skills they need to succeed," said Branhagen.
"I will go to Des Moines and fight for our rural communities and main street businesses."
Branhagen has served as the Winneshiek County Attorney and on the Decorah City Council. He was also a Luther College Assistant Professor of Business and Economics, and Commander of the local U.S. Army Engineering Company.
Branhagen lives on his 150 year family farm south of Decorah with his wife, Betty. They attend Washington Prairie Lutheran Church in rural Decorah.