Monday afternoon, former Mayor of Newton Chaz Allen, who currently serves as Executive Director of the Jasper County Economic Development Corporation, has announced his plans to run for Iowa Senate District 15.
“I have spent more than a decade working to bring businesses and jobs to this senate district,” Allen said. “Working closely with the Board at JEDCO and involving local, regional and state governments in the decision making, our region has been proactive towards economic development. Everyone works together to get things done. I hope to be given the chance to bring this collaborative approach to the Iowa Senate.”
Allen, 43, was elected to five terms as mayor in Newton. He pointed to his leadership of the community through the "challenging economic transition" following the closure of Maytag's facilities as one of his political highlights.
In addition to leading the local response to Maytag's closure, he also coordinated efforts with Iowa's congressional delegation to make a request for assistance to President George W. Bush. This led to federal assistance for education and retraining of impacted former Maytag employees.
“During my time as mayor, Newton went through an economic transition, from a company town dominated by the Maytag Corporation to a diverse economy focused on renewable energy, motorsports entertainment, research development and education," he said. "Times were tough — they still are for a lot of families — but we banded together as a community to face the challenges of a major plant closure. By diversifying our local economy, we created a job market that not only put a lot of people back to work, but also gave Newton and the surrounding communities a lot more economic security for our future.”
Newton was named the U.S. Chamber of Commerce "Sustainable City of the Year" in 2010 while Allen was mayor. In addition to his service as mayor and his professional career with JEDCO, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and on The Mid Iowa Development Fund.
In 2009, he served on then-Gov. Chet Culver's Rebuild Iowa Office Task Force for Infrastructure and Transportation. In 2011, he served on Gov. Terry Branstad's Commercial Property Tax Review Committee.
Allen, a Democrat, grew up in Chariton and graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Finance. He has lived in Newton with his wife, Teri, for the past 14 years.
They have two daughters, Morgan, 15 and Madeline, 12. The family attends First Lutheran Christian Church in Newton.
“Teri and I raised our family in this community and we care a great deal about the future of this region,” Allen said. “If I’m fortunate enough to be elected to the Senate, I will work hard every day to bring good jobs, improve our schools and sustain safe and vibrant communities in District 15."
Monday morning, State Sen. Dennis Black (D-Lynnville) announced he would not seek re-election in Iowa Senate District 15. That district includes most of Jasper County — except the cities of Lynnville, Monroe, Reasnor and Sully — and eastern Polk County, including the cities of Altoona, Carlisle, Bondurant, Elkhart, Mitchellville and Runnells.
"I’d love to hear from the people here how we can do this together," Allen said. "Anybody can call or email me if they have an idea, a question or a concern at firstname.lastname@example.org or (641) 521-6297.”