By Jeff Montgomery
NSP Staff Writer
Muscatine resident Chris Brase officially announced that he will run for the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s newly redrawn 46th district.
Brase, 49, was born in rural Scott County and graduated from North Scott High School in 1980. He is a firefighter and paramedic in Muscatine, where he has lived for the last 21 years.
Brase has never run for public office before. Still, he is confident that he has the skills and the demeanor to be a successful state senator and make an immediate impact in Des Moines.
“I think I can really work well with the legislators,” he said. “We need to work together to make improvements for Iowa and I believe I have that capability.”
Brase has a long list of things he would address as a congressman. He said that education reform would be a top priority.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad unveiled a blueprint for major education reform in early October. The reform package included a number of significant changes, including a plan to tie teacher compensation to performance.
Brase, however, said that the plan lacked at least one important detail.
“It frustrated me that he would put out a proposal without any costs associated with it,” he said. “I am a firm believer that change and improvements are necessary, but to accomplish that you also need to know the costs.”
Brase said he would also take a close look at public safety, noting that he would draw on his professional experience and investigate how standards and regulations are being adopted.
The immediate reaction to his candidacy, Brase said, has been very positive. Now he is gearing up for a campaign that places an emphasis on speaking with the citizens.
“I want to reach out and communicate with as many citizens as I can,” said Brase. “That’s what this is all about, representing the people of Iowa.”
Senate District 46 covers portions of Muscatine and Scott counties, including the cities of Muscatine, New Liberty, Dixon, Maysville, Eldridge, Walcott, Blue Grass, Long Grove, Donahue, and northern Davenport.
The primary election for the 46th District will take place on June 5. Brase is currently the only Democrat who has filed for the race.
If he secures the nomination, he would face Jim Hahn of Muscatine or Shawn Hamerlinck of Dixon. Hahn and Hamerlinck are both incumbents, but are positioned to face each other in the Republican primary because of redistricting.
Brase acknowledged that, if he does secure the Democratic nomination, he will still face a significant challenge in the general election.
However, he expressed confidence that he can connect with voters in the months leading up to the election.
“I believe I can win this district, but there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.