Ready To Run Iowa

Ready to Run Iowa logoReady to Run® Iowa is a nonpartisan campaign training program to encourage women to run for elective office, position themselves for appointive office, work on a campaign or become involved in public life as leaders in their communities. Since 2007, the Catt Center has offered the Ready to Run Iowa program every other year as part of a national network founded by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

2023 Ready to Run Iowa

The following six Ready to Run Iowa workshops will be offered in spring 2023. More information about each workshop will be posted as it becomes available. Registration for each workshop will open one month prior to the workshop date.

Feb. 24

Speaker bios

Getting Involved in Iowa Politics
9-9:45 a.m.: The Importance of Women Running

This session will discuss the importance of women's involvement in politics and the current status of women in Iowa politics.

– Kelly Winfrey, interim director, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and associate professor, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

10-10:45 a.m.: Ways to Get Involved
This session will cover ways to be involved such as serving on a board, volunteering with a campaign, and running as a candidate, and will also discuss the Iowa Talent Bank.

– Kimberly Baxter, advocacy chief, Community Advocacy and Services Division of the Iowa Department of Human Rights

11-11:30 a.m.: Experience on Boards
Hear what it's like to serve on a board from someone who has served on several community boards, and why YOU should serve.

– Danielle Brazant, author, public speaker and civic volunteer

Deciding to Run
1-1:45 p.m.: Iowa Election Laws

This session will provide an overview of Iowa’s election laws.

– Blake Hanson, attorney at Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C.

2-2:40 p.m.: Entering a Race
This session will discuss how to get on a ballot, working with a political party, differences between types of races and best practices.

– Heidi Burhans, director of elections, Iowa Secretary of State's Office

2:50-3:30 p.m.: Campaign Experiences
In this session, three women who have run for political office in Iowa will share their campaign experiences and provide guidance for others considering a run for elected office.

– Gloria Betcher, Ames City Council member
– Claire Celsi, state senator, Iowa 90th General Assembly
– Latifah Faisal, chair, Story County Board of Supervisors

March 24

These workshops will be held virtually.

Campaign Fundraising
Candidates and campaign treasurers are both encouraged to attend this workshop.

9-9:40 a.m.: Identifying Fundraising Goals and Donors
This session will focus on developing a fundraising plan, setting fundraising goals and identifying donors.

– Alli Brecher, finance director, Zach Nunn for Congress

9:50-10:40 a.m.: Asking For Donations
In this session, the speakers will share their tips on asking for donations.

– Sarah Trone Garriott, state senator, Iowa 90th General Assembly
– Zach Wahls, state senator, Iowa 90th General Assembly

10:50-11:30 a.m.: Iowa Campaign Finance Rules and Regulations
This session will discuss state and federal rules and regulations regarding campaign fundraising and reporting.

– Zach Goodrich, executive director and legal counsel, Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board

Launching Your Campaign
Candidates and campaign managers are both encouraged to attend this workshop.

1-1:40 p.m.: Creating a Campaign Plan
This session will cover the elements of an effective campaign plan, including defining goals and challenges, researching issues, and identifying potential voters.

– Jesse Harris, partner, LS2group

1:50-2:30 p.m.: Planning and Building a Team
This session will focus on what team members are needed in a political campaign and how to identify people to fill those roles.

– Rachel Junck, Ames City Council member
– Linda Murkin, Story County Board of Supervisors
– Jackie Norris, Des Moines Public Schools board member

2:40-3:30 p.m.: Fieldwork and Voter Contact
This session will provide an overview of the legwork that candidates and their campaign teams do to make voter contact and “get out the vote.”

– Olivia Ellis, deputy field director, Maura Healey for Governor
– V Fixmar-Oraiz, Johnson County Board of Supervisors

April 21

These workshops will be held in person at Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University. The registration fee of $25 per workshop includes lunch and refreshments. Fee waived for Iowa State University students.

Registration for the April 21 workshops is open from March 21-April 18 at

9-11:30 a.m.: Communicating Your Campaign Message
Creating a Campaign Theme
This workshop will cover the steps to creating an overarching campaign messaging theme.

Writing and Delivering a Stump Speech
In this session, participants will learn tips for writing and delivering a stump speech that conveys your campaign theme and creates excitement around your campaign.

Communicating in Forums, Debates and On Camera
This session will cover tips for effectively delivering your message in forums, debates and on camera.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Networking Lunch
Enjoy a box lunch with other workshop participants and get a professional headshot taken.

1-3:30 p.m.: Traditional and Social Media Best Practices
Getting Media Attention and Being Interviewed
In this session, participants will hear from a panel of political journalists about working with news media, including tips for getting media attention and being interviewed..

Using Online Sources to Mobilize Voters
This session will discuss how to use online resources such as a campaign website and social media to spread your message and mobilize voters..

Ready to Run Iowa Advisory Board

  • Amy Campbell, partner at the Advocacy Cooperative
  • Barbara Hames-Bryant, president of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women
  • Blake Hanson, attorney at Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. in Des Moines
  • Paula Martinez, labor leader and member of the Warren County Democrats Central Committee
  • Kellie Paschke, attorney with Skinner & Paschke, PLLC of Waukee, Iowa
  • Greg Piklapp, director of economic development outreach & government relations, Ames Chamber of Commerce
  • Kim Reem, executive director of Mission of Hope and alternate member of the Iowa Board of Parole
  • Georgia Van Gundy, executive vice president at Hy-Vee, Inc. and deputy to the Iowa Business Council
  • Andrea Woodard, senior vice president of government relations and public policy at the Greater Des Moines Partnership

Contact us to add your name to the Ready to Run® Iowa mailing list.

Questions? Contact the Catt Center at 515-294-3181 or

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