Jon Van Wyk, a Republican small businessman, has joined the Iowa House District 28 race. He will challenge incumbent State Representative Greg Heartsill (R-Melcher-Dallas) for the party nomination.
Van Wyk currently lives in Clive, IA, but is a co-owner of his family business Van Wijk Winery in Sully, IA with his brothers and parents. Prior to that he has worked in both the public and private sectors. Van Wyk grew up west of Oskaloosa, and attended Iowa State University where he earned his B.A. in political science and Masters in Public Administration. He, his wife Svetlana, and their three children plan to move into the district.
Van Wyk is a former Marine and a NRA Certified Range Safety Officer along with being a member of the National Rifle Association. He also is a member of the Des Moines Fencing Club and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Van Wyk believes life begins at conception, in traditional family values, maintaining Iowa’s fiscal responsibility through a balanced budget, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and Iowans’ right to keep and bear arms.
“I have always had a passion for government and politics, which led to my decision to achieve my Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration. After college, I wanted to gain experience in both the public and private sectors before throwing my hat into the ring of public office,” Van Wyk told Caffeinated Thoughts. “Seventeen years later, I have experience in both the corporate world and county government. As a small business owner, I have now reached a point in my life that I feel I am ready to be a leader within the Iowa Legislature, and look forward to the challenges such an endeavor will bring. Running for State Representative in House District 28 brings to fruition a desire to affect change that I have had as long as I can remember.”
Heartsill was elected to the Iowa House in 2012 after beating Len Gosselink by 49 points in the Republican primary and beating Democrat candidate Megan Suhr by almost 11 points in the general election. Heartsill confirmed with Caffeinated Thoughts that he is seeking reelection in 2014.
Heartsill grew up in Salem, IA and graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School. He earned a computer programming degree from Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA and a business degree from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, IA. Greg worked in downtown Des Moines for 12 years in Information Technology, designing systems that dealt with various state and federal compliance issues; first at Allied Group, then at Principal Financial. In 2004, he left the corporate world to begin his own business, Heartsill Fencing, in order to have more time with his family. Greg and his wife Angie have 9 children whom they homeschool.
The pillars of Heartsill’s campaign (from his website) are: the promotion of economic growth & fiscal responsibility (less taxation, less regulation, forcing state government to live within its means, decreasing bureaucracy in order to increase education funding), protecting the family (defend traditional marriage, recognize personhood at conception, secure parental rights) and to preserve Iowans’ freedom (2nd Amendment, strengthen eminent domain laws to protect private property, restore local control of education, and election integrity).
“Two years ago I campaigned on the notion that state government just doesn’t need cleaned up, it needs sanitized! After witnessing much of the abuses up-close, I believe that this statement still holds true today,” Heartsill told Caffeinated Thoughts.
“As a member of the majority in the Iowa House, I am proud of the gains we have made by creating an economic certainty for Iowa taxpayers, employers, and families. House Republicans have held the line on core budgeting principles that have turned our state around from a $900 million shortfall, just three short years ago, to a projected $928 million ending balance for the current fiscal year,” Heartsill added. “However, there are issues of inefficiency and lack of accountability in state government that must be addressed in order to better serve the citizens of Iowa. I have put forward an aggressive, multi-layered agenda that proposes many common sense, long-overdue reforms in government, human dignity and personal responsibility, and education. It would be unrealistic to achieve all of these objectives in one legislative term. Therefore, I am running to continue the work I have started, building coalitions and cultivating bipartisan support that is an absolute must to get things accomplished in the Iowa Legislature.”
Heartsill also said he wants to continue with the agenda he was elected on in 2012.
“I feel that it is necessary for me to continue my strong stance on issues regarding life, marriage, property rights, and constitutional protections such as our Second Amendment. In my very first year of office, I lead the charge in the House by shepherding the bill which restored liability protection to landowners. Protections that our own Iowa Supreme Court attempted to strip out with the stroke of a pen. I signed on to major pieces of legislation that affirm and protect our Second Amendment rights. I also voted to protect the identity of weapons permit holders from being exploited by media that is hostile towards gun ownership. I was the first co-sponsor of a bill that would recognize and define personhood for babies yet to be born; which would nullify the Roe vs. Wade decision in the State of Iowa and would bring abortion to an abrupt end. And I was one of only 11 House Republicans to vote against taxpayer funded abortions in the last session,” Heartsill stated.
“I worked with fellow Republicans to simplify our tax code by signing on to the bill that would offer an optional flat tax to Iowa taxpayers; making the Iowa tax code more reasonable and less burdensome. Lastly, I have worked tirelessly with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to protect the property rights of Iowans. Not only did I vote for strengthening our Eminent Domain laws to benefit landowners, I have made this a personal campaign over the interim in order to muster support so that this vitally important issue (which passed with a near-unanimous vote in the House) is not neglected in the Senate,” Heartsill added. “I appreciate the support and confidence given me by the people of House District 28. I humbly ask them once again to allow me the honor of serving as their state representative.”
Currently Republicans enjoy a voter registration advantage over the Democrats 7373 to 6063. There are 7964 independents in the district, but this district is considered a safe seat for Republicans.