Iowa, District 21
|Website||Anesa Kajtazovic for Iowa House District 21|
At 23, she is among the youngest contenders in the 2010 election. If she wins, she will break the record, currently held by Elesha Gayman, for the youngest woman elected to Iowa's legislature.
Kajtazovic announced her candidacy on March 19, 2010, discussing her decision to enter the race in part:
"I have spoken with so many of my neighbors, friends and family who have all expressed to me that we need to look forward and move ahead towards being a model state in areas of education, our economy & jobs. And in order to move forward, we need leadership in Des Moines that reflects where we're trying to move as a district and state. I believe that I can be that effective leader."
In the primary she challenged Kerry Burt, who has won the seat in 2008 in close race. Before that, Iowa's 21st had log been held by Democrat Don Shoultz. In 2006, a local TV anchor, Tami Wiencek, a Republican, won the seat. Wiencek's victory was one of the few GOP pick-ups in 2006, but it was short lived.
The seat went blue again in 2008, though Burt required substantial help to win and had a difficult 2009. Following a DUI arrest, leaked footage showed Burt trying to bargain his way out of the charges with the arresting officer. Investigation into his wherabouts before he was pulled over eventually disclosed that he was a pharmaceutical industry reception he had failed to disclose, vioalting state law. When Kajtazovic entered the race, Burt was already struggling and Kajtazovic's campaign announcement made oblique reference to his plight:
"We have some serious issues facing our state and we need effective leadership in Des Moines to ensure that the people of the 21st house district have their voices heard. I believe that I can provide that effective leadership."
In early April, facing two charges on tampering with documents in an audit at Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls, Kerry Burt withdrew from the race. The charges related to allegations that several parents has used false addresses to avoid paying higher tuition. By the time Burt left the race, it was too late to remove his name from the ballot. However, it did make it more likely the Dems will retain the seat. After his exit from the field, Kajtzovic spent the rest of the primary season working to make sure voters were aware that Burt was out of the race and that she was on the ballot as a Democratic hopeful.
Her campaign manager, Brandon Jass, said, "We really wanted to make sure everyone is aware that Kerry isn't in the race, and that Anesa is."
The Waterloo area of Iowa has a large community of Bosnian expatriates and Miss Kajtazovic's choice of blue and gold for her campaign signs is a nod to her home country's flag.
Since fleeing Bosnia in 1997 with her parents, Hazim and Hadzira, and her sister, Miss Kajtazovic has called Waterloo, Iowa home. Shortly before her 18th birthday in 2004, she became a naturalized citizen and cast her ballot soon after. While studying at UNI, she began volunteering on Democratic campaigns in Iowa, beginning with Bob Kressig's campaign for the state House.
After completing her undergraduate studies in three years, she joined GMAC as a mortgage analyst. She is also part of the Waterloo Community Development Board.
- University of Northern Iowa, '07, BA in Business Administration and Public Administration
- Waterloo West High School, '04
Positions on issues
Kajtazovic's key positions revolve around bolstering education and the economy in Iowa and around issues important to working class families and Iowans working in manual labor.
"I have quite a few family members when they first came here, there were so many more job opportunities, and now it seems there are less and less," she said. "I have quite a few that are unemployed. My dad's work hours have been cut drastically, so it's all around us."
"I am not in favor of writing discrimination into Iowa's Constitution. Like many Iowans, I have friends and family on both sides of this issue, but the voters in my district need to know my focus is on creating good jobs, good schools and safe communities for all Iowa families."
In the June 8th primary election, Kajitazovic defeated Democratic incumbent Kerry Burt by a margin of 654 to 61. Burt was no longer actively campaigning. In the general election on November 2, Kajitazovic will face John Rooff (R), who beat Lyn Tackett in his primary.
Kajtazovic led the field early on. By the time Burt had left the race, she had raised more than both her Republican challengers combined. In addition to individual contributions, she took in a hefty $3,500 from union and labor PACs. Both of Miss Kajtazovic's parents work in labor and she had spoken of how that shaped her campaign positions.
To date, she has raised $7,359 from 32 donors, including $150 of her own money as a candidate contribution.
Miss Kajtazovic's top donors are listed below:
|AFSCME IOWA COUNCIL 61||$2500||33.97%|
|QUAD CITY FEDERATION OF LABOR||$1,000||13.59%|
|ABBOTT, STEVEN P||$1,000||13.59%|
Candidate contact information
Campaign HQ: 1225 E. RIDGEWAY AVENUE, WATERLOO, IA 50702
Campaign Manager: Brandon Jass
- John Deeth Blog, "Kajtazovic makes candidacy announcement", March 19, 2010
- Iowa Independent, "Democrat will challenge Burt in HD21 primary", March 17, 2010
- WCF Courier, "UPDATE: Kerry Burt says he won't seek re-election", April 8, 2010
- Bleeding Heartland, "Democrats looking more likely to hold Iowa House district 21", April 8, 2010
- WCF Courier, "Voters to pick party finalists Tuesday", June 6, 2010
- WCF Courier, "Working in a political campaign benefits UNI student", November 6, 2006
- WCF Courier, "A decade after leaving Bosnia, Waterloo woman vies for state fair title", August 10, 2007
- WCF Courier, "Waterloo queen candiates finishes fourth", August 13, 2007
- WCF Courier, "Bosnia native challenges Burt in primary, April 5, 2010
- WCF Courier, "Special Section", September 1, 2010
- WCF Courier, "Kajtazovic leads fundraising in quest to succeed Burt", May 26, 2010