After 16 years as state representative for House District 55, Democrat Roger Thomas of Elkader is stepping down.
Thomas announced his decision not to run again at last weekend’s Winneshiek County Democratic convention.
“I have decided not to seek a 9th term,” said Thomas in a Decorah Newspapers interview Wednesday morning.
Thomas said his decision came following the recent redistricting in Northeast Iowa. His district now contains a major portion of Winneshiek County.
“I feel it’s hard for me to represent that area, as I have been able to represent the other parts in previous years. After 16 years, it’s just a good time to step aside and let someone with new ideas and approaches to solving problems step up,” said Thomas.
Following the announcement by Thomas, Decorah’s Rick Edwards (D) declared his intention to run as for the soon-to-be-vacant seat.
Edwards, who served as Decorah Parks and Recreation director for 19 years, said, “I want to run because I feel we have a lot to offer in Northeast Iowa, and we are different from the rest of the state. We need a strong voice from this part of the state to make sure our concerns are heard.”
Edwards will face Republican challenger Darrel Branhagen of Decorah, a local organic farmer, attorney and decorated combat veteran.
As of now, neither Edwards nor Branhagen will face challengers in the June primary election. The regular election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.
For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Public Opinion.