May 18, 2024

Two local women seek Iowa House District 24

Editor’s note: Candidate profiles of those running in the primary election will appear in the paper over the coming weeks. Candidates are presented in alphabetical order.

Two Clarke County women are running on the ticket for Iowa House of Representatives District 24 this fall - Brenda Brammer-Smith on the Republican ticket, and Sonya Hicks on the Democratic ticket; Sam Wengryn of Pleasanton is also running on the Republican ticket. The seat has been held by Joel Fry (R-Osceola) since 2011, following the 2010 election. Fry announced March 18 that he was not seeking re-election.

Brenda Brammer-Smith

Brenda Brammer-Smith

Brammer-Smith was born and raised in Clarke County, raised her two children here, and resides on a small farm in rural Woodburn. Brammer-Smith has worked in education for 28 years, 22 of those in Clarke County.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University, and a master’s degree in education from Graceland University. She is a Christian, and an involved grandmother to four.

Brammer-Smith worked at Clarke Elementary School, teaching special education, general education and working as a reading interventionist. Today, she works for Heartland AEA as an AEA Special Education Consultant. Due to her background, a large focus of her campaign is that of education.

“My mission is to bring back Iowa’s education to the top in the nation,” said Brammer-Smith, who believes that both parties should work together on education. Part of that includes prioritizing public education, modernizing school safety and protecting smaller school districts.

In addition to education, Brammer-Smith said she is committed to backing any legislation aimed at addressing clean water in Osceola and across Iowa. She believes in revitalizing rural small towns and bolstering small businesses to enhance those communities. Addressing the rise in inflation and the rise in property taxes, when the state does not provide proper funding for public education, is also of importance to Brammer-Smith.

Brammer-Smith also looks to initiatives that will support raising minimum wage within reason, protecting Iowa farmers and agriculture, advancing healthcare systems and guarding public health services to include expanding mental health services, improved accessibility and ensuring timely care. She is committed to advocating for elderly and nursing home care, ensuring veterans benefits, the right to bear arms by law-abiding citizens, reducing state regulations and empowering local control.

To learn more about Brammer-Smith and her campaign, she can be found online at: www.brendaforsoutherniowa.com, and on various social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and TikTok with the handle brendaforsoutherniowa, and on X (formerly known as Twitter) at brendaforIowa. She can also be reached via email at brendaforsoutherniowa@gmail.com.

“The last several months, thousands upon thousands of Iowans have been feeling unheard. Iowans deserve to have their voices heard and represented at the Capitol,” Brammer-Smith.

Sonya Hicks

Sonya Hicks

Hicks grew up in Afton, and has lived in Osceola for the past 13 years. Her husband is a family physician at Clarke County Clinic and they have four daughters, all who attend Clarke Community Schools. Hicks has a degree in botany from Iowa State University, and is a licensed nurse.

Hicks currently serves on the Osceola City Council in Ward Three, and is a board member for Clarke County Public Health. In addition to her civic roles, Hicks is the president of TeamMates, a mentoring program for Clarke Community Schools, and works part-time at Mayberry’s.

Hicks said she decided to run in this election as current policies that are discussed and passed are not of interest to Iowa and Iowans, and especially not in rural communities.

When it comes to the issues, Hicks is looking at education, being a strong supporter of public schools.

“Last year’s passing of the private voucher program combined with this year’s reckless dismantling of the AEA will have consequences to our children’s education for years to come,” said Hicks, noting that tax dollars are going to wealthier families who are already sending their children to private schools..

Hicks believes there are better ways to care for Iowa’s aging population, a prevalent component in rural Iowa. The ongoing water crisis that is impacting Clarke County and other areas of southern Iowa is also of concern, and Hicks plans to address it, as it has been mostly ignored by elected state officials.

Hicks will work towards efforts that support and grow local towns and businesses, as well as pursue mental health and substance abuse support and care.

To learn more about Hicks and her campaign, she can be found online at: www.hicksforiowa.com, or by emailing her at hicksforiowa@gmail.com.

“I am running for the Iowa House of Representatives because I believe in a better way forward. I am doing this for my family and yours,” said Hicks.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.