January 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm EST | by Peter Rosenstein
Zach Wahls, the future of Iowa and America
Zach Wahls, Democratic National Convention, Washington Blade, gay news

Zach Wahls (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Democratic Party needs to cultivate and support the next generations of leaders and one our most promising is Zach Wahls, an amazing young man, decent and honest, with an unlimited future.

Zach is a Democratic candidate for Iowa’s Senate District 37. Many will remember him from when he first gained national attention with his testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about growing up with gay parents. A video of that testimony went viral. Zach went on to be co-founder of Scouts for Equality, the successful national campaign to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ boys and leaders in the Boy Scouts of America. Zach is an Eagle Scout; he authored the bestselling book “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family;” and recently he and his sister created The Woman Cards, a deck of playing cards featuring 15 original, hand-drawn portraits of American women who changed the world.

A longtime resident of the Senate district, Zach is a graduate of Iowa City West High School and the University of Iowa, and will receive his master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School this spring.

Zach is running on a platform of issues crucial to Iowans. Not surprisingly they are issues crucial to all Americans including healthcare, education and workers’ rights. Zach is running to do something about the mental health crisis in Iowa, which currently has only 64 public psychiatric beds for the entire state. He understands Iowa has an opioid epidemic and will fight to see more is done at every level of government to fight back proactively taking steps to turn this epidemic around. Zach recognizes Iowa is facing a Medicaid disaster and the Republican privatization of Medicaid is the cause.

When it comes to education, Zach has said, “Iowa’s public education system transforms children into citizens and is supposed to make sure that every Iowan has the chance to pursue the American Dream.” He will fight continued Republican funding cuts to both the K-12 growth rate and their slashing of tens of millions of dollars from Iowa’s higher education system. He believes in innovative education and exploring new approaches to innovation for the 21st century economy. He will fight for universal pre-K education; programs that will ensure college readiness for all Iowa high school graduates; and affordable tuition so any Iowa high school graduate can afford to attend college. Zach is opposed to voucher programs and other attempts to privatize Iowa’s public school system which would shortchange Iowa teachers and students. He has said, “We have a moral responsibility to make public education better and more accessible.”

When it comes to worker’s rights Zach understands Iowa’s economy “is fundamentally broken for many, many people.” He will fight for collective bargaining justice and fight against the continued efforts by Republicans to gut collective bargaining rights for state workers in Iowa. He will fight for a living wage for all workers. He will fight Republican efforts to roll back increases in the minimum wage as they did when they specifically targeted Johnson County and passed a law to roll back the county’s minimum wage increase. Zach sees that as only the latest example of Republicans supporting “local control” only when they like what’s happening. He will fight to reverse that law and to continue to increase wages as the cost of living goes up.

Zach Wahls understands the issues facing Iowans and the issues facing our country. He believes in equality and is willing to fight for it. He believes in social justice and is willing to fight for it. He believes all Americans deserve affordable healthcare and a living wage and is willing to fight for them. Everyone needs to help Zach Wahls in his fight for a seat in the Iowa State Senate because young people like Zach are not only the future of Iowa, they are the future of America.


Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

  • Though I support Bernie Sanders, it is time for us older gals and guys to pass the torch to the next generation of young men and women—with a push.

    Like Zach Wahls early did and still does now, young Joe Kennedy in his response to Trump displayed a refreshing note of there being better times ahead for our nation beyond this “moment” of being stuck with Trump and too much Republican-Light Democratic Party politics.

    Joe is not now as progressive as our future needs to get traveling along. In this current stance he came off as much like JFK but not the visionary the his grandfather Bobby later became. But the goodness and caring and wisdom Joe expressed are sure sign that he will grow with the circumstances. Thus so because those not trapped in the self-centered narcissism of Trump live within a worldview they hold at a given time and based upon it do this-or-that and what they did or did not do may over time affects them as they live and learn from the bumps and nuggets that come along. Such was the case with the most progressive president who has held office in my lifetime, FDR. Exemplary of such is an old yarn about him: after a woman had at great length scolded him about what he should be doing that he was not, FDR said, “Madam, I agree with everything you have said, now make me do it.” Fancying myself to be very liberal, I wish he were president so that we progressives could make him do what he ought.

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