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State Rep. Phyllis Thede is running for Iowa House District 94. Photo special to Black Iowa News.
Black Iowa News: What motivated you to run for reelection?
Phyllis Thede: "I worked for Davenport Community schools for 28 years, and through those years I had a great opportunity to work alongside with people and unions. One such group was AFSCME. I got involved because I wanted better health insurance for women. I joined our bargaining team and helped bargain on behalf of our secretaries. At that time our mammograms were not covered in policy back in the day. I moved through the ranks of our union and held a number of positions, secretary to president. This prepared me for the legislature."
Black Iowa News: What difference do you hope to make if re-elected?
Phyllis Thede: "I bring a strong voice to the people of Iowa, I have the honor of wearing many hats, woman, Black and spouse and mother. These positions require careful thought, planning and execution for positive outcomes."
Black Iowa News: What are the key issues you feel passionate about and why?
Phyllis Thede: "Supporting education, strong workforce, mental and physical health, good wages. If people of color are to be successful, the tools of the above-mentioned issues must be a top priority."
Black Iowa News: Why does your district need new representation, or for you to be re-elected?
Phyllis Thede: "I have represented the 93rd district for 14 years. As the newly redistricted 94th, I will carry out the duties of making sure every Iowan has a seat at the table. I do this by listening and bringing the people's voices with me. This is about all our Iowa communities."
Black Iowa News: What are at least two areas specific to Black Iowans that you would identify as troubling or problematic, and what will you do, if elected/re-elected, to address it?
Phyllis Thede: "As one of five Black Democratic legislators (two women and three men) our numbers are small, oftentimes your issues are not always heard. We created the Iowa Legislative Black Caucus in 2020 to help address issues that come up. The challenge is this: With the majority of Representatives and Senators being white, not all understand the issues we bring for legislative consideration. I will continue to advocate for people of color."
Black Iowa News: Tell readers about your family.
Phyllis Thede: "I have four siblings; Philomena Howard is my identical twin, Kenny White in the middle and Althea Jackson and Anita (Kemba Olabisi) are fraternal twins. I am married to Dave Thede who is a retired teacher. We have three daughters, Acacia Thede-Glandon, who is the human resource director for the San Diego School district. She is married with four children and lives in California. Robin Thede lives in California and is a successful actor/comedian. Mackenzie Thede lives in Bettendorf. She is a graphic designer and has a cookie-making business.
Black Iowa News: What is the city of your birth?
Phyllis Thede: "Chicago, Illinois."
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From top left: Deidre DeJear, Ruth Ann Gaines, Ross Wilburn, Tiara Mays, Ako Abdul-Samad. Bottom left: RJ Miller, Phyllis Thede, Jerome Amos Jr, Tony Currin and Kathleen Figaro. Photos special to Black Iowa News. (Not all Black candidates are pictured).