A former state legislator is launching a campaign to unseat first term Republican Congressman Steve King who represents the 32 western Iowa counties. Fifty-five-year-old Gene Blanshan of Panora is a democrat who served 10 years in the Iowa House, representing the Jefferson area. During his tenure in the legislature, Blanshan was chairman of the State Government Committee and dealt with sticky issues like riverboat gambling. He’s proudest of the legislation he helped write after a financial investment debacle over a decade ago known as the “Iowa Trust” scandal lost millions for local governments. He says he’s proud of rewriting the investment laws and for combining the pension systems of police and firemen, as he says it save cities thousands of dollars. Blanshan has a degree from Morningside College in Sioux City and for three years he taught history and economics at Scranton High School. For the rest of his career, he’s been a farmer in the Jefferson/Scranton area. He’ll formally announce his candidacy this evening with stops in Panora, Greenfield and Creston. Blanshan says King must go because he’s not taking the right kind of steps to boost the economy of western Iowa. Blanshan says King’s been voting for tax cuts for the wealthy, while residents in the 32 county region of the fifth congressional districts have one of the lowest average incomes in the nation. On Tuesday, Blanshan plans stops in Shenandoah, Council Bluffs, Onawa, Sioux City, LeMars, Cherokee, Storm Lake and Carroll.
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