Steve Reeder headshot

Arnolds Park businessman Steve Reeder, 59, is one of four Republicans challenging Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in the congressional primary race, which will take place June 2, 2020. Reeder is focusing his campaign on balancing the federal budget, reducing the cost of health care and limiting the federal government’s involvement in education policy.

ARNOLDS PARK—The number of Republican candidates challenging Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in the 4th Congressional District primary next year recently increased to four.

Arnolds Park businessman Steve Reeder announced on Sept. 26 he will be running against King, who narrowly held on to his seat in 2018, and three other primary candidates.

Reeder, 59, was born in Omaha, NE, and spent much of his career working there. However, he said he has also done real estate projects in several other states, including Iowa, California and Colorado.

He and his family settled in Arnolds Park in 2004, and Reeder has been an Iowa resident since.

Reeder has not run for elected office before but said the divisiveness and lack of productivity in Washington, D.C., prompted him to enter the congressional race.

“We’ve heard for years about House members and the Senate wanting to balance the budget, and they haven’t,” Reeder said. “That’s one of my top items.”

Other issues he intends to focus on include giving local and state governments more control over education policy and reducing the cost of health care.

“A couple solutions that I have would be to expand access to group insurance plans and allow for greater use of health savings accounts,” he said.

Health savings accounts, or HSAs, are savings accounts in which people can set aside money on a pretax basis to pay for medical expenses. They must be used alongside high-deductible health plans, according to HealthCare.gov.

He also plans to support farmers in the district impacted by the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China. Part of that support would include helping farmers diversify their crops.

“You don’t just change overnight with a different product or a different crop or something,” Reeder said. “I realize it could be baby steps, but I want to continue the dialogue with farmers to give other options, other viable options for them.”

More than anything, Reeder said he is looking forward to being able to work across the political aisle to make sure the House has a productive session—no matter which party holds the majority.

Reeder cited his 35 years of working in the real estate brokerage and development business as experience that would help him negotiate with other House members.

“I have not been in politics before, but I have extensive background in the private sector,” he said. “I think I can use my business experience to represent all the constituents of northwest Iowa.”

He likened his work as a real estate broker to being an independent contractor, meaning he only worked for himself and the clients he was representing. In the same way, he said he wants to work on behalf of his constituents in the Fourth District rather than himself or a political party.

“I’m a conservative, but there’s no reason why they can’t work together,” Reeder said of House members.

The candidate said he is well known where he lives in Dickinson County but plans to reach out to the Republican Party groups in the other Fourth District counties to set up campaign visits. He also hopes to share his campaign message with other interested groups wanting to hear from him.

“I’m a listener,” he said. “I’m not one of these guys that’s going to stand on the podium and say, ‘We need to do this, and we should do that.’ I’d rather just listen.”

The Republican primary for Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District will be held June 2, 2020. Other GOP candidates looking to challenge King include Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra from Hull, Woodbury County supervisor Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City and Irwin native Bret Richards.

The nominee will run against the sole Democrat in the race, Sioux City native J.D. Scholten.