Sen. Zumbach makes case as Secretary of Ag candidate

Sen. Dan Zumbach
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Sen. Dan Zumbach, Iowa Senate District 48, is one of five Republicans across the state running for Secretary of Agriculture.

     The seat was vacated when Bill Northey stepped down earlier this year to pursue a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

     “The political world was never on my bucket list,” prefaced Zumbach when he sat down with the Monticello Express for an interview regarding his run for office. “The situation just presented itself.”

     Zumbach, a fourth-generation lifelong farmer in rural Ryan, has always had a passion for ag, and nothing has changed since he began serving in the Senate six years ago. He said as a state senator, one has to be privy to so many different topics at hand, even those that require more research.

     “As much as I love the Senate, my passion is ag,” said Zumbach. “I’m hoping to focus my talents, passion and hard work around ag.”

     Zumbach feels his background also fits in perfectly with the Secretary of Ag position, something that separates him from the rest of the Republican pack.

     Zumbach has been farming for 40 years. That experience, combined with his years in the Senate, helps him to stand out.

     “My legislative experience and farming career are something no other candidate has,” he said. “I know how to build and execute policy.”

     Zumbach said the tough times he faced during this farming career, including several natural disasters, taught him how to become a problem solver.

     “The Lord handed me a lot of angles,” he said. “I gained success by working through those tribulations in life and figured out how to be successful.”

     Zumbach has been quite busy making his way across the State of Iowa in his campaign leading up to the Tuesday, June 5 Primary Election.

     “I’ve had some great farming and community support,” he said.

     In a normal day, he might travel 400 miles. Zumbach hit 700 miles recently, traveling river to river.

     “My goal is to get to all 99 counties,” he said.

     That goal is attainable, having hit almost 80 counties already.

     Zumbach said for someone like himself who’s always been around the world of ag, he feels he has something to offer the ag community.

     “I want to advocate for the ag community with the talent God gave me,” he said.

     Zumbach said one’s ag career is not enough to qualify for Secretary of State.

     “I wouldn’t run if not for my six years of experience in Des Moines,” he said.

     He said he is not trying to fill Northey’s shoes, but rather considers himself the “Bill Northey 2.0.”

     “I want to take off where he (Northey) left off,” said Zumbach. “I want to make sure people’s voices are heard.”

     Zumbach said throughout this time in the Senate, chairing the Senate Ag Committee, he’s gotten to form a great relationship with Northey, as well as U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

     “I’m fortunate to have direct lines to our federal offices,” he said. “There are relationships I’ve built that others (candidates) don’t have. I want to take those relationships I’ve built to the Department of Ag.”

     He said Iowa’s Senate Ag Committee is a bi-partisan group that brings together both parties for the good of agriculture. “It all has a direct effect on all of Iowa,” said Zumbach.

     “I’ve run some good policy through (the committee) that is not Republican or Democratic policy.”

     Zumbach added many of those bills were for the protection of the ag community. “That’s my responsibility,” he said.

     As far as Zumbach’s goals should win the Republican vote and eventual election to office in November, he wants to expand agriculture education.

     “I want to bring the urban and rural people together,” he said. “There is a disconnect and lack of understanding of the ag world.” Basically, Zumbach wants to be the liaison between both sectors.

     He said the Department of Ag “is getting better, and I want to move the department up and improve what we’re doing.”

     Looking at the downside, should Zumbach not be voted in, he said he would finish out his remaining two years in the Senate.

     “But when you jump into a race, you jump in to win,” he said.



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