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August 24, 2018 / Press Releases

NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorses Iowa House Candidates at Des Moines Press Conference

House Candidates Are Committed to Protecting Roe v. Wade, Combatting Kim Reynolds and GOP’s Agenda Once Elected

For Immediate Release: August 24, 2018
Contact: [email protected]

DES MOINES – In a press conference this morning, NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Iowa announced endorsements of seven House candidates across Iowa who have been champions for the reproductive rights of Iowans. At the press conference, NARAL President Ilyse Hogue praised the candidates which included Kristin Sunde (HD 42), Heather Matson (HD 38), Karin Derry (HD 39), Jennifer Konfrst (HD 43), Dave Williams (HD 60), Eric Gjerde (HD 67), Molly Donahue (HD 68) for their commitments to fighting for the reproductive health care of Iowa women and families. NARAL has been a leading voice on condemning current Gov. Kim Reynolds for recently signing the most extreme abortion ban in the country.

“We have endorsed Fred Hubbell for governor, who historically taken a public stand as a passionate advocate for expanding reproductive freedom, and we are proud to stand here today and endorse seven Iowa house candidates that will also be champions of reproductive freedom,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President, Ilyse Hogue. “Right now, we have to constantly question who we can count on to stand strong in their values and fight for our rights. But we know exactly what kind of leadership that these candidates will bring to the Iowa State House and that’s why they are the champion we need in the Iowa legislature. We could not be more proud to endorse this group of candidates and we plan to vigorously mobilize our members across the state to ensure that our pro-choice champions up and down the ballot win this November.”

“The stakes are incredibly high in this election,” said Kirsten Sunde. “It’s going to take a collaborative effort to flip the Iowa House of Representatives and start working to undo the damage of past sessions. I’m grateful for NARAL’s support in our effort to give Iowa women the representation they deserve.”

“NARAL’s endorsement is very important to my campaign because it recognizes my support for women to have the right to control their own bodies with a full range of reproductive health options,” said Dave Williams. “Government should not deter nor deny women from exercising their constitutional right to choose.”  

“I’m honored to receive this endorsement in recognition of my fight for reproductive rights in our state,” said Jennifer Konfrst. “The Iowa Legislature has implemented a destructive and extremist agenda, and that agenda can’t be allowed to continue. With the help of great partners like NARAL on the ground, we can reverse this trend at the statehouse.”

Heather Matson – HD 38

Heather and her husband, Chris live in the Prairie Trail neighborhood of Ankeny with their eight-year-old twins, Emma and Henry, and their dog, Tater. Heather has spent the last 19 years working and volunteering in public policy, advocacy and development. Most recently, Heather served as the Development Director for the Des Moines Social Club, a nonprofit in Des Moines. Heather has always approached problem-solving by seeking to find common ground while holding true to her progressive principles. She has served as vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and Chair of Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa where she served as a passionate advocate for women’s health policy.

Jennifer Konfrst – HD 43

Jennifer has lived in Iowa most of her life and has always considered the Des Moines her home. She and her husband Lee, have two children, Ellie (17) and James (15) and live in Windsor Heights and they are members of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. Jennifer is currently an Assistant Professor at Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication and also runs her own small business. She has been recognized as an Outstanding New Member from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Central Iowa Chapter in 2014, as a member of the Des Moines Business Record’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2010, and as national PBS Communicator of the Year in 2007.

Kristin Sunde – HD 42

Kristin Sunde and her husband Matt own a financial advisory business, which specializes in helping Iowans protect their hard-earned incomes and save for the future. They have one son, Cade, and spent the last several years as proud foster parents, providing a safe, loving home to kids and supporting parents working to overcome their struggles and reunite their families.

Raised in northwest Iowa, Kristin graduated from Newell-Fonda High School. She attended the University of Iowa before graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. She is also an active member of the Public Relations Society of America, serving as the 2016 board president. As a family, Kristin, Matt, and Cade enjoy golfing together and spending time with their puppy, Theo.

Karin Derry – HD 39

Karin Derry has lived in Johnston with her family for the past 19 years.  She is an attorney, a community volunteer, and activist, and she is running for Iowa’s 39th House District.

Karin is the daughter of small-town business owners and she understands the importance of providing a favorable environment for employers.  After watching the Iowa legislature attacks on the middle-class, hard-working Iowa families, women, and Iowa’s educational system in 2017, Karin was compelled to step up and be the change that she wants to see in the legislature.

Dave Williams – HD 60:

Dave Williams, through his experience as a former operations manager at John Deere and active community volunteer, understands the need for collaboration in order to identify problems, determine solutions and reach goals that result in mutual benefit for all involved. The lack of this approach led him to run for office. Williams finds enjoyment in volunteering in his community and has served as vice president of the Cedar Falls Board of Education, chair of the Cedar Falls Utilities Board of Trustees, chair of the Cedar Falls Historic Preservation Commission, and was a key leader in the establishment of the Cedar Falls telecommunications utility.

Molly Donahue – HD 68

Molly was born and raised in Cedar Rapids Metro where she graduated from Washington High School, the school where she now teaches. Raised in a family with deep Iowa connections, Molly learned the value of hard work from her parents and as a teen working to save for college.
As a 27-year veteran teacher, Molly is running for the State House with the same values she was raised with and instills in her students – hard work, integrity, and equality. Molly is proud to live and work in the community that she wants to represent.

Eric Gjerde – HD 67

Eric grew up in a rural community with his parents and twin sister. He is the son of Ken Gjerde, a veteran of both the Army and Navy, and a retired United States Postal Service worker, and Ruth a retired nurse. Eric and his sister were the first in his extended family to earn four year degrees. He completed his doctorate in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, at the University of Northern Iowa. Eric has worked as a Special Education teacher at Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin, IA, before accepting his current position with the Cedar Rapids Community School District.

NARAL’s political program for the 2018 general election is the organization’s largest ever midterm political program to advance candidates fighting for “our values, our future, our vote.” NARAL is investing in diverse candidates up and down the ballot in 19 states, mobilizing members and voters through mail, phones, digital ads, door to door canvassing, TV ads, and rallies that hold anti-choice candidates accountable and lift up pro-choice champions. To read more about NARAL’s endorsed candidates, click here.

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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