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Iowa amusement park became a political force before accident

Visitors arrive at the Adventureland Park amusement park, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Altoona, Iowa. The father of an 11-year-old boy who died following an accident on the popular boat ride at the park said that his son and other family members were trapped by the ride's seat belts when the boat carrying them flipped. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa amusement park where a water ride accident killed one boy and critically injured another has become increasingly influential in Iowa politics as the state has trended Republican.

 Adventureland Park CEO Michael Krantz has donated $175,000 to county, state and federal Republican candidates and officeholders since 2014. That makes him one of the largest GOP donors in Iowa. 

The park has also stepped up its lobbying of the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature. That includes for a recent law change allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to operate its rides for the first time.

The increased political involvement has overlapped with several incidents in which workers or guests were injured.

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