Kooiker not seeking re-election in HD 4; Wheeler steps up

Skyler WheelerBy Bob Eschliman


A Northwest Iowa member of the Iowa House of Representatives has announced he will not seek re-election in 2016. State Rep. John Kooiker (R-Boyden), who was just elected a year ago to fill a seat left open by the death of his friend, state Rep. Dwayne Alons, said Monday he wants to spend more time with his nine grandchildren.

Kooiker represents House District 4, which includes the cities of Sioux Center, Orange City, Rock Valley, Hull, Hawarden, Alton, Maurice, Granville, Ireton and Chatsworth. Kooiker served last session as vice chairman of the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee. He also served on the Labor, Local Government, Public Safety, and Veterans Affairs committees.

In what is sure to be a hotly contested Republican primary — effectively an early General Election in the heavily GOP district — an Orange City man has already announced he plans to run in Kooiker’s place. Skyler Wheeler, 22, says Kooiker has encouraged him to run. He currently works in sales for Iowa Information Inc. in Sheldon and graduated from Northwestern College in 2015, where he was an all-conference baseball player for the Red Raiders.

“I am excited to begin this journey and start knocking on doors to meet the voters and listen to their concerns,” Wheeler said. “But I’m more excited to have the opportunity to do it in Sioux County. I look forward to the next few months as our team works hard to gather signatures and meet with the voters. Nobody is going to work harder than we will because what we are fighting for is worth our time and our effort.”

Wheeler believes it is time young people step up and defend their future after decades of elected leaders promising to ‘fight for the next generation.’ With soaring debt and continued moral decay, the time is now, he said.

“Our parents and grandparents have fought for the future for a lot of years. The future is now. People my age are the future and it is high time that we get up and do something. If we aren’t willing to fight for our future and defend our basic beliefs, then we don’t deserve the future that has been entrusted to us. It is time to rise up.”

Topic A LogoWheeler lives in Orange City with his wife, Jess, who works for Staples. He grew up in Washington state and developed a fascination for politics as his best friend’s father was a lobbyist for cities throughout the state.

“A number of people my age have decided to leave Northwest Iowa,” Wheeler said. “I came here and I love it. I am going to stay here and work for its future because I’m part of the future. The attributes that Northwest Iowans value — hard work, family, dedication and faith — those are consistent with my core beliefs.”

Those interested in learning more about Wheeler’s candidacy or joining the team can visit wheeler4iowa.com.