Ready to Run Iowa participants win municipal races in 2017

At least 10 participants in the Ready to Run Iowa: Campaign Training for Women workshops won school board and city council elections in Iowa last fall.

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics has offered Ready to Run Iowa every other year since 2007 as part of a national training network. Although the nonpartisan program addresses topics unique to women as they seek greater participation in the political process, it is open to anyone who is interested in running for all levels of political office, getting appointed to public boards and commissions, working on a candidate or issue campaign, or becoming involved as leaders in their communities.

Past Ready to Run Iowa participants winning fall 2017 school board and city council races include:

Monic Behnken – A participant in all six Ready to Run Iowa workshops presented in spring 2017, Behnken was elected in September to the Ames Community School Board. An assistant professor of sociology at Iowa State, she serves on the school board’s city conference, equity and policy committees. Behnken, who completed a joint J.D.-Ph.D. program in psychology and law in 2008, teaches upper-division courses for Iowa State’s Criminal Justice Studies Program.

Courtney Clarke – A participant in four 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops, Clarke was elected to the Waukee City Council in November. A member of the management team at Miles Capital Inc., an institutional investment firm, she also serves on the governor-appointed Iowa Child Advocacy Board and as a team leader for the Love Lunches nonprofit organization. Clarke is a 2003 graduate of Iowa State, with a bachelor’s degree in management and international business.

Jamet Colton – A participant in all six 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops, Colton was elected to the Ames Community School Board in September. An educational assistant and English-Spanish language interpreter for the Ames Community School District, she serves on the school board’s equity, teaching and learning, and Ames Education Foundation committees. Her volunteer work includes serving as chair of the Outreach Committee for the Ames Progressive Alliance. Colton, who was born in Santiago, Chile, became a U.S. citizen in 2014.

Judy Downs – A participant in the February 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops, Downs was elected to the Urbandale School Board in September for a two-year term. She is the development director for the Iowa Environmental Council, volunteers with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network and chairs its Professional Development Committee.

Terri Golightly – A participant in the March 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops, Golightly was elected to the De Soto City Council in November. Her work experiences have ranged from competitive industries and government to small business ownership.

Lynda Murray – Murray participated in the first Ready to Run Iowa program presented by the Catt Center in 2007. She was elected to the Burlington City Council in November 2017. In an email to the Catt Center following her victory, Murray wrote: “I still believe my attendance 10 years ago to be instrumental . . . thank you for empowering women like me to take on this very important role.” Murray is a registered dietitian who currently works for the Milestones Area Agency on Aging/Parkview Care Facility. She earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Iowa State and a master’s degree in community health from the University of Northern Iowa.

Richard Lynch – A participant in the March 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops, Lynch was elected to the Bettendorf Board of Education in September. A freelance translator and adjunct professor of philosophy at St. Ambrose University, he serves on the board’s School Improvement Advisory Council and its finance and facilities committees. Lynch also volunteers for Bettendorf Parks, Girl Scouts and Quad-Cities Mediation Services.

David Martin – A participant in the March 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops, Martin was elected in November to represent Ward 3 on the Ames City Council. A software forensic consultant, he is a mentor for Youth Standing Strong. Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, computer science and German from Iowa State and a Ph.D. in computer science from Boston University.

Gina Perez – A participant in all six 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops, Perez was elected to the Ames Community School Board in September. Currently the director of information technology at Atlantic Coca Cola Bottling Co., she previously was an IT specialist for the state Department of Transportation. Perez serves on the school board’s county conference, teaching and learning, and technology committees.

Dr. Ann Rathe – A participant in four Ready to Run Iowa workshops in 2017, Rathe won a seat on the Waverly City Council in November. She is a psychiatrist at Waverly Health Center and has been an active community volunteer through the Waverly Economic Development Commission, the Exchange Club and PEO. Her mother, the late Evelyn Rathe, was the first woman to sit on the Waverly City Council in 1976 and was the first and only woman to serve as Waverly’s mayor from 1984 to 1989.

The Catt Center maintains a database of Ready to Run Iowa participants and welcomes emails from those who have run for elected office or have been appointed to city, county, and/or state boards and commissions. To send an update for the center’s Ready to Run Iowa database, email cattcntr@iastate.edu. The Catt Center will continue to publish updates on the political activities of Ready to Run Iowa participants in its Voices newsletter.