Christian DenOuden is challenging State Representative Jake Highfill (R-Johnston) in the Republican Primary in Iowa House District 39 on June 7th. Iowa House District 39 is located in northwest Polk County and includes the cities of Grimes and Johnston. 

A native Iowan and 23-year Johnston resident, Dr. Christian DenOuden has had a long-standing interest in Iowa’s political landscape and, in preparation for eventually seeking public office, earned his Master’s of Public Administration degree from Drake University in 2007. DenOuden has since retired from medicine after 33 years in private practice.

Having grown up in a family of teachers, DenOuden began his career as a junior high school science and math teacher. DenOuden then earned his medical degree from Des Moines University, after which he completed a rotating medical internship at Broadlawns Medical Center and his three-year ophthalmology residency/training in Tulsa, Okla. He is a fellow at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Osteopathic College of Ophthalmology.

DenOuden is the proud father of two children – Christian J., an emergency room physician in Chicago, and Katie, an entrepreneur/business owner in Denver.

DenOuden and his wife, Sue, led 20 medical/surgical eye missions to Haiti. He is an active member of Meredith Drive Reformed Church/The Bridge and currently serves as a volunteer board member to Joshua Christian Academy in Des Moines’ inner city.

DenOuden answered the survey that Caffeinated Thoughts has sent to all Republican and independent legislative candidates.

Why do you want to serve as a state legislator?

I believe in citizen government. I have been a teacher, physician and a parent. I have had a long standing interest in Iowa’s political landscape and, in preparation for eventually seeking public office, earned my Master’s of Public Administration degree from Drake University in 2007. Since retiring from medicine after 33 years in private practice, I am eager to put my passion for my community and state to work full-time on behalf of District 39.

Describe your worldview and what role that would play as a state legislator:

I am a Christian and my faith will influence my decisions in government. I believe in limited government. Government should assist people, but not control people.

Your top three issues of concern are?

Education, fiscal restraint, and health care.

What is your position on education, in particular Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core and high stakes testing?

Passionate about education, I come from a long line of teachers and began my own career as a junior high school math and science teacher. Even in today’s highly complex educational arena, I believe it is possible to reclaim Iowa’s No. 1 ranking in education.

Doing so will take all of us – parents, teachers, and communities – working together. My vision includes:

  • Optimize fiscal effectiveness. Approximately half of the state budget is allocated to education-related expenses, yet there never seems to be adequate funding. Rather than raising taxes or spending more money, first evaluate opportunities to streamline costs in order to free up funds for other needed areas in education.
  • Create multi-channel accountability through family-school partnerships, incentives to increase parental involvement, and community collaborations.
  • Implement efficient reporting systems that allow teachers to teach more and spend less time as data collectors and/or compliance officers.
  • Ensure timely funding and put local school funding first when developing the state’s fiscal budget, which will help administrators plan.
  • Increase the firsthand involvement of legislators. Encourage all legislators to experience how schools and classrooms operate by sitting in classrooms and participating in local school meetings, town halls, and educational discussions.

How do you define local control in education?

District level.

When does someone become a person and at what point should they be granted all constitutional protections of a person under the law?

Life begins at conception.

Do you support recently passed legislation in the Iowa House allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision:

Editor: Did not provide an answer.

Do you support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment:

I am a member of the NRA and I support the 2nd Amendment.

Do you support raising any taxes. And, have you supported raising any taxes in the past? If so, which ones?

It’s true that every state program needs funds with which to operate. However, I believe solving problems doesn’t always require spending more money or increasing taxes. If the majority of state programs were operating at high efficiency and without waste, I believe there would be ample funding for all state programs, which could ultimately mean tax reductions – not increases.

Accordingly, I will work to bring more collaboration, discernment, and long-term problem solving to the legislative process.

Another point of emphasis will be making every state program more fiscally accountable. For example, programs that perform well within their established budgets should be praised and rewarded; programs that operate with unnecessary waste and spending should be discouraged and penalized.

What will you do as a state legislator to lessen the tax burden on farmers and small businesses?

Editor: He did not provide an answer.

Do you support traditional marriage and is there anything you hope to do as a state legislator regarding marriage and how?

Yes. Marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman.

What is your position on Christians refusing service at same-sex weddings?

I don’t believe the government should force a business to participate in an activity that violates a person’s morality or values.

What will you do as legislator, if anything, to strengthen religious liberty?

Editor: He did not provide an answer.

Do you support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa?


What type of pro-life bills would you support?

End of life: End of life issues should be addressed by family and doctors, but I don’t support euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.

Should taxpayer money pay for Planned Parenthood?


In what circumstances would you go against the leadership of your own caucus if elected?

Editor: He did not provide an answer.

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