Molly Donahue and Austin Frerick vie for Iowa Senate District 37 seat to represent Cedar Rapids Metro


Molly Donahue

CEDAR RAPIDS — A first-term state representative currently in the running for the Iowa Senate faces competition from a newcomer to the race to represent much of eastern Cedar Rapids and Marion.

Molly Donahue will face Austin Frerick, both Democrats, for Iowa Senate District 37.

Austin Frerick (courtesy photo)

No Republicans have filed for the seat, so the winner of Tuesday’s primary is likely to be the winner of the Nov. 8 general election.

Donahue was born and raised in the Cedar Rapids area and graduated from Washington High School. She still teaches in the district and is a 31-year-old seasoned teacher.

“There’s a lot of concerns happening in our district right now because we’ve been in crisis for a few years with COVID and then we also had the derecho that hit us,” Donahue said at a forum. the Voting Rights Coalition in May. . “…I’ve been there to support people in my community individually, and I want to make sure I can continue to do that.”

Frerick, 32, works remotely as deputy director of the Thurman Arnold Project at Yale University, an initiative that promotes research related to competition policy and antitrust enforcement.

Previously, he advised the Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg campaigns’ 2020 presidential campaigns on farm policy and served as co-chair of the Joe Biden campaign’s Farm Antitrust Policy Committee.

He graduated from Jefferson High School and was the first in his family to graduate from college. Frerick married husband Daniel last fall in Grinnell after originally planning a May 2020 wedding.

Frerick said he is coming forward to provide a fresh perspective on the challenges Iowa faces today and usher in a “bright and progressive future.” The alternative, he said, is to sit idly by as waterways become unsafe to use, young and bright minds leave the state and multinational corporations bankrupt family farmers.

“We’re at a crossroads in Iowa,” Frerick said. “…For Democratic primary voters, in particular, I want to say that I am working to put the Democrats of Iowa back on offense. We’ve spent too much time being defensive and reacting to everything the Republicans do, and look where that gets us.

In campaign finance reporting periods spanning January 1 through May 31, Frerick outperformed his opponent. Donahue said he raised $14,401.60 and Frerick said he raised $95,259.20.


Both candidates agree that public schools in Iowa have been underfunded.

Donahue wants to keep public funds in public schools and reduce class sizes, make kindergarten an increased option for all families, pay teachers enough to recruit and retain more quality educators, and expand teaching options. STEM and technical to prepare students for immediate employment opportunities after graduation.

“If we want good businesses and good jobs here, we need to have good schools,” Donahue said at the May forum.

On the Republican governor’s push for a school voucher program, Frerick said some GOP lawmakers’ opposition to the proposal in the House “shows you how bad of an idea it is.”

“Vouchers are especially bad for our rural communities which are already suffering declines, where school is an economic and social lifeline,” Frerick said. “Instead of Kim Reynolds’ attempt to defund education, I think we need to recommit Iowa to being number one in education by fully funding schools and returning to respecting educators and support staff. .”

Frerick also supports more funding for public higher education “so students don’t have to take out massive loans for tuition.”

“The reality is that many students who attend state universities are saddled with debt and they can’t find many opportunities in Iowa that match their skills and pay the bills, leading many them to leave the state for places like Minneapolis and Denver,” Frerick said.


Donahue, who sits on the Environmental Protection Committee, said she advocated for the ability to limit the number of animal feeding operations, including lockdowns in Iowa.

“We have way too much animal waste dumped into our waterways, which is why we have so many bacteria in our waters,” Donahue said.

Poor water quality affects every facet of our lives, Frerick said, from the inability to swim in our lakes and rivers to higher water bills, while “multinational corporations and absentee landowners have been polluting our waterways for years.

“I want to fix this problem by placing a moratorium on building industrial hog facilities, adequately funding the Iowa Department of Natural Resources so staff can enforce existing rules and increase fines for manure spills or overspreading,” Frerick said.

Workers’ rights

To provide good, well-paying jobs, Donahue said she supports overturning a bill that stopped unemployment benefits for laid-off Iowans after 16 weeks instead of 26. She also wants to restore bargaining rights. collective of public sector unions.

If elected, Frerick said he wants to increase penalties for wage theft and misclassification of workers, restore collective bargaining rights and repeal the “right to work” so that all workers can form a union and build power in their workplace.


As the Supreme Court seeks to overturn Roe vs. Wadeboth candidates support a woman’s right to choose.

Donahue emphasized the need for education and funding from Planned Parenthood to reduce abortions.

Frerick said he supports expanding abortion protections through legislation, including considering codifying Roe v. Wade.

For more information on the nominees, visit and

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