Anesa Kajtazovic

Anesa Kajtazovic

A state legislator from Waterloo is the fifth Democrat — and the third woman — to announce a run for Congress in Iowa’s first district. Anesa Kajtazovic is visiting four cities in the district today to formally announce her candidacy.

“I think I’m the perfect mix of experience and fresh perspective that’s much-needed in Washington, D.C.,” Kajtazovic says. “I’m not your typical, cookie-cutter candidate.”

Kajtazovic, who turns 27 next week, first won a seat in the Iowa House in 2010 and won reelection in 2012.

“I live and breathe the middle class values,” Kajtazovic says. “I got into public service to help people and I have a passion for that.”

Kajtazovic is a native of Bosnia.

“Only in America can a 10-year-old refugee come here from a war-torn country with basically no English and rise up, go through out school system here,” Kajtazovic says. “I graduated from college in three years with a double-major and was elected to the state legislature at the age of 24.”

The other women seeking the Democratic nomination in the first district are Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon and former legislator Swati Dandekar of Marion who resigned last October and was appointed to the Iowa Utilities Board by Governor Branstad.

Dandekar has resigned from that post to run for congress. Former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy of Dubuque and attorney Dave O’Brien of Cedar Rapids are also seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the seat Bruce Braley has held since 2007.