BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A current sitting Fort Madison city councilman announced Monday night that he was seeking election to the Iowa House of Representatives 83rd district.
Fort Madison city councilman and electrician, Bob Morawitz, unofficially announced his intentions to run for the Iowa House of Representatives seat currently being held by retiring Representative Jerry Kearns at Monday’s Democratic caucus, but made the announcement official Tuesday afternoon.
The district includes 9 townships in southern and eastern Lee county that include the cities of Fort Madison, Keokuk, Montrose, and Wever.
“I’m running for the Iowa House because our state is headed in the wrong direction. Wages are stagnant and hardworking Iowans are struggling to get by. Politicians are ignoring our broken health care system, causing costs to skyrocket and our state budget has been mismanaged causing cuts to education, Medicaid and critical services so many Iowans count on,” said Morawitz. “What is of special concern to me is funding for our judicial system. Our courts and penal system are already underfunded and the legislature is looking at cutting them even more. I have friends and relatives working in our prison, underfunding and understaffing is putting them and our community at risk.”
Morawitz, 61, was just elected to the Fort Madison City Council in November and was sworn in last month. He had previously been a member of the city’s Electrical Board of Examiners and chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission. Morawitz said he’s running to continue the work of Kearns.
“It’s the fact that I wasn’t expecting Jerry to retire so early,” Morawitz said. “It was a surprise to me. I’ve known Jerry for years and we think a lot a like. I thought they (the voters) would see me as somebody that could continue Jerry’s good work.”
In his release Tuesday, Morawitz outlined some of the issues facing the district and the state.
“We need good jobs in southeast Iowa and that takes an educated workforce. We cannot afford to cut more money from our local school systems, community colleges, and universities and expect to be able to provide our state with the workers that modern businesses require,” Morawitz said.
Morawitz was born in Burlington, Iowa and graduated from Burlington High School. After five years of active duty in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Burlington to work and earn his AA degree from Southeastern Community College. Thirty-one years ago he moved to Fort Madison and started his electrical apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW.) Morawitz is currently Recording Secretary, Political Registrar, and Pension Committee trustee for IBEW Local 13.
Morawitz and his wife, Beverly Gobble, have been married for 23 years. They have five sons, 13 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
At Monday’s Democratic caucus, Morawitz told the crowd of about 40 that he was disappointed in what happened to Chapter 20 and public employees rights to collective bargaining.
“I don’t like where we’re going in this state and I don’t like what happened with Chapter 20. We need to get back to where we were on that,” he said. “I want to get back to Iowans taking care of Iowans and not corporations.”