Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Jochum won’t seek reelection

DUBUQUE — Pam Jochum, the Democratic leader in the Iowa Senate, will not run for reelection.

Jochum, who was chosen in June by Senate Democrats to be their leader, made the announcement this morning. Jochum has represented Dubuque in the Iowa legislature since 1993, first as a member of the House and she’s been a state senator since 2009.

Jochum served four years as Senate President when Democrats were in the majority. She’s one of three women to have served as senate president — but the only Democratic woman to do so.

“In my lifetime I’ve cracked a few ceilings. I’m not so sure they’re glass. Sometimes they feel like marble,” Jochum told Radio Iowa in December. “…In fact, I was the first woman from Dubuque to get elected to the Iowa legislature.”

Jochum, who is 69, said in a written statement released this morning that she’s “excited to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders.”

This is the full statement Jochum released this morning:

“As I bid farewell to the honor of serving Dubuque in the Iowa Senate, I want to thank the people of Dubuque for the honor and privilege of serving them and our community in the Iowa Legislature. It’s truly been an honor that words do not adequately express. I am excited to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders who will champion a brighter future for Iowa. Opting not to seek re-election to Senate District 36, I am creating space for fresh perspectives to guide our state forward. While I am not running for reelection, I am still committed to delivering a better deal for all Iowans. As the Leader of the Iowa Senate Democrats, I am confident we will secure Democratic victories across the state. As I reflect on accomplishments and challenges over the last three decades, a few things stand out. First, on a personal note, the outpouring of support from family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and many others when my Sweet Sarah passed is immeasurable. She was the sunshine and the Light in my life. Perhaps one of the most gratifying experiences has been the wonderfully kind and generous people that I’ve met and are now in my life. On a political note, I am grateful for the role I’ve been able to play in securing funding to transform the Port of Dubuque, the Millwork District, and the renaissance on Main Street, the Crescent Community Health Center, the Bee Branch Creek and flood mitigation projects in our community and communities throughout Iowa, the Veterans Memorial on Schmitt Island, the expansion of the Medicaid System and creation of the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan (IHAP) that provides affordable health insurance to tens of thousands of Iowans, the creation of Children’s Health Insurance Program (HAWK-I), the creation of the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) that gives Iowans more access to their government, expansion of voter registration through Election Day Voter Registration, the creation of Iowa’s ABLE accounts (Achieving a Better Life Experience) which are tax advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families, the creation of Iowa’s Early Education Program that provides an educational opportunity for Iowa’s four year old children, increasing the minimum wage, the creation of the SAVE program that provides funding to renovate our school buildings and grounds and to build new schools when necessary, funding for Iowa’s transportation system and the information highway, creation of Iowa’s renewable energy portfolio that includes wind and solar energy, and so many other projects and investments in our people, our communities, and our state.

Jochum added, “I extend heartfelt thanks to my colleagues for their unwavering support in the Iowa Senate. As I step back from elected office, my commitment to fighting for a better deal for Iowans remains steadfast. I look forward to supporting the incoming Senate Democrats as they continue the journey toward an Iowa with more freedom, opportunity, and accountability.”