Rep. Jennifer Konfrst elected as Iowa House minority leader

By: - June 14, 2021 7:54 pm

Rep. Jennifer Konfrst is a Windsor Heights Democrat. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Legislature)

Iowa House Democrats on Monday elected Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights, as the new minority leader.

Konfrst, a public relations professor at Drake University, her alma mater, is the first woman to lead Iowa House Democrats. She was elected to the House in 2018 and she served as an assistant to the minority leader through her first two-year term. When her second term began this year, she became the minority whip, a second-in-command position to the minority leader.

“I’m honored to earn the trust of my colleagues to lead our fight to ensure Iowans’ voices are heard and truly represented in Des Moines,” Konfrst said in a statement. “I love my home state, and I believe the Legislature must do better for all Iowans. For too long, Republicans have put the needs of special interests ahead of Iowans’ needs. It’s time for a change in the Iowa House, and I’m ready to get to work.”

Rep. Jo Oldson, D-Des Moines, said ahead of the election that Konfrst would bring “a good, fresh perspective and a lot of understanding of the process, both policy and political.”

Republican House Speaker Pat Grassley issued a statement congratulating Konfrst. “I look forward to working with her in her new role. With House Republicans now representing 97 out of Iowa’s 99 counties, Iowans have made their voices heard loud and clear on the actions they’d like to see from their elected officials. I am hopeful Democrats will join Republicans’ efforts to move the state forward and advance an agenda that matches Iowans’ values.”

Konfrst will replace former minority leader Rep. Todd Prichard, D-Charles City. He announced on June 2 that he would step down from the leadership position for the remainder of his term. Prichard is serving his fifth term as a state representative. Outside of the legislative session, Prichard is an attorney and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves.

In a Tuesday morning call with reporters, Konfrst said she will use her leadership position to prepare the party for 2022, recruiting new Democratic candidates and telling Iowans that Republicans aren’t keeping their campaign promises. House Republicans currently hold an 18-seat majority over Democrats, but Konfrst said she believes Democrats can win the 10 additional seats they need to control the chamber.

“I am fully committed to doing all we can to get to (a majority) in 2022,” she said. “Everyone thinks it’s hard, everyone thinks it’s impossible. I don’t.”

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

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