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IOWA: Giffords Endorses Gun Safety Candidates for State Legislature

Washington, DCGiffords PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, today endorsed 10 candidates with diverse backgrounds as educators, volunteers, local business leaders, and parents for the Iowa legislature. 

Their dedication to commonsense solutions to gun violence—like universal background checks, extreme risk protection order laws, and closing dangerous loopholes in existing gun safety legislation—will help ensure the health and safety of all Iowans. 

Recently, Giffords released new Public Policy Polling data showing that nearly eight in ten Iowa voters support universal background checks. In fact, a majority of voters said that a candidate’s support for universal background checks laws made it more likely that they would vote for that candidate. 

Statement from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:

“Iowans know that commonsense gun safety laws that support responsible gun ownership benefit everyone. I’m proud to endorse these impressive candidates, who bring many different perspectives and experiences to the campaign trail, but share a commitment to bettering their communities. As members of the Iowa House of Representatives and Iowa Senate, their dedication to ending gun violence will make the state a safer place for Iowa’s families.”

Today’s Giffords Endorsements

Christian Andrews—House District 95

Christian Andrews is a Democrat from Mount Vernon running for House District 95. Christian is a public works employee who regularly volunteers in his community. His experiences helping others led him to help establish Unify for Education, an advocacy group centered on ensuring that public comments are part of the proceedings for the Iowa Board of Regents.

Karin Derry—House District 39

Karin Derry is running for her second term as representative for District 39 in the Iowa House. An attorney and community volunteer, Karin is a graduate of Drake University Law School and has worked for the State of Iowa’s Department of Inspections and Appeals, in addition to having clerked for the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. During her time in the Iowa House, Karin has supported legislation to prevent senseless acts of gun violence. Iowans can rest assured that Karin Derry will advocate for the safety of their communities by furthering commonsense gun safety legislation. 

Sarah Trone Garriott—Senate District 22

Sarah Trone Garriott is running for Senate District 22. Sarah lives in Windsor Heights with her family, where she is a Lutheran minister. Sarah joined AmeriCorps right after college, helping survivors of domestic violence. She later spent time as a hospital chaplain, continuing to serve people in their time of need. Sarah now works within the nonprofit sector, and is ready to serve her community in Iowa’s legislature. 

Eric Gjerde—House District 67

Eric Gjerde is running for the Iowa House in District 67. Eric is a special education teacher and coach at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids who volunteers his time as a Special Deputy with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. He holds a doctorate in educational policy and leadership studies from the University of Northern Iowa. 

Marie Gleason—House District 94

Marie Gleason is seeking her first term in Iowa House District 94. After a 20-year career at John Deere, Marie retired and began dedicating her time to public service. Marie serves on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success Quad Cities, helping empower women seeking to further their careers and achieve economic independence. 

Jennifer Konfrst—House District 43

Jennifer Konfrst, a Democrat from Windsor Heights, is seeking her second term in House District 43. Jennifer is an associate professor of journalism and mass communication at Drake University and previously worked for Iowa Public Television. Jennifer is passionate about local education, actively volunteering on various parent-teacher associations and school boards. As a mother and an educator, Jennifer understands that no American should have to live in fear of gun violence, especially young students at school. During her tenure in the Iowa House, Jennifer has stood up against legislation that would prohibit localities from enacting their own gun safety measures. Iowans can trust Jennifer Konfrst to prioritize their community’s well-being by advocating for commonsense gun safety legislation. 

Rhonda Martin—Senate District 20

Rhonda Martin is seeking to represent District 20 in the Iowa Senate. In 2018, Rhonda was elected to the Johnston City Council. In addition to her civic duties, Rhonda is a landscape architect and project manager at Iowa State University. In her spare time, Rhonda volunteers her expertise on multiple advisory councils and boards. Throughout her time in public service, Rhonda has opposed legislation that sought to weaken firearm laws. Rhonda understands the importance of gun violence prevention and is ready to support solutions that strengthen the safety of her community in the Iowa Senate.

Heather Matson—House District 38

Heather Matson is running for a second term to represent Iowa House District 38. Heather has spent her career improving public policy and advocating for ideas she believes in, working in several capacities on campaigns up and down the ballot. Heather most recently served as the development director for Des Moines Social Club. During her time in the Iowa House, Heather has fought back against legislation that would stop localities from implementing their own gun violence prevention measures. Heather Matson will ensure Iowans’ safety by continuing to push for popular gun safety reform.

Andrea Phillips—House District 37

Andrea Phillips is the Democratic nominee for Iowa House District 37. Andrea previously served as the vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and is currently raising her family in Ankeny. Prior to her career in politics, Andrea worked as director of marketing at a multinational company. Her experience in marketing taught her the importance of connecting with others through shared interests, which Andrea will use to work across the aisle and make progress in the Iowa House of Representatives. 

Kristin Sunde—House District 42

Kristin Sunde is seeking her second term in the Iowa House, representing District 42. Prior to entering public service, Kristin was a TV news reporter and worked in advertising and public relations. She now owns a financial advisory business with her husband to help Iowans plan for the future. Kristin has proven herself to be a strong advocate for gun safety. In her first term in the Iowa House, she co-sponsored legislation allowing for extreme risk protection laws, which would empower families and law enforcement to temporarily prohibit individuals in crisis from accessing firearms. If re-elected, Kristen Sunde will continue her fight for the safety of all Iowans.


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