Democrat Lori Sokolowski, a longtime Cherokee County farmer, is running for Iowa Representative Seat, District 53, including Cherokee County, and portions of Plymouth and Woodbury counties.
She is challenging incumbent Republican Dan Huseman of Aurelia for the post.
She has lived in Cherokee County her entire life, grew up on a farm and now lives on their farm with her husband, Dick. Their four children and families live in Cherokee County. They have eight grandchildren.
Sokolowski wants them to grow up and look at Iowa as a place to get a great education and to stay to work in this great state. "All families living in this district are the future of our rural communities and the voters need to let them know we care," said Sokolowski.
Lori attended two years of advanced business education and followed through with continual marketing classes for her own business expansion. In 1976, they started their own farming operation. Lori started her own livestock business in 1983 and added new marketing networks with other area producers. Recently, their son and his family took over part of their farming operation. Lori sees the challenges young farmers face today. When she becomes part of the Iowa Legislature, Sokolowski said she intends to help fill those needs because they are our future.
Last year Lori added a new job to her responsibilities in working with people with disabilities. This experience has shown her how many ways we need to expand in assistance in our area, which has a state mental health facility (in Cherokee). She said she wants to help these special people and create news ways we can grow in mental health needs for our rural area.
The past 10 years Sokolowski has been an advocate for rural Northwest Iowans. In 1998 she joined Iowa Farmers Union (IFU) after selling market hogs for $8/cwt. Lori saw the need for an organization that would help family farmers survive this crisis. She organized the Siouxland Chapter of IFU in Northwest Iowa in 2001and has received several National Farmers Union Leadership Awards.
As a board member, Lori was appointed to the legislative and membership committees. She has educated Iowa legislators in a bi-partisan basis advocating rural issues. She worked on promoting rural sustainable independent livestock production, promoting sustainable energy independence, protecting our Iowa environment, and advocating rural health care reform for people with disabilities and chronic diseases.
Several times she has been to Washington DC for National
Farmers Union working with Congress. She helped with the drafting of the 2002 and 2007 Farm Bills. Rural issues that she saw the need to address were the Rural Development Title, and Farm to School Nutrition Program.
She also participated in a coalition of agriculture organizations supporting a Competition Title and Conservation Security Program. She has also advocated reforming anti-trust laws, and accepting fair international trade agreements.
Sokolowski worked on a USDA feasibility study within a 100 mile-radius of Sioux City for selling processed meat and fresh produce to institutions. That study was expanded to help start the Farmers Market on 5th Street in Sioux City. Rural Northwest Iowa so often is overlooked in the legislation and Lori said she wants to change that.
Sokolowski has used her grassroots experience from Farmers Union and started organizing and volunteering with Democratic political campaigns four years ago in the Iowa 5th District, promoting rural issues. She is the Secretary of the Cherokee County Democratic Central Committee.
Community service involvement for Lori includes Cherokee County Eminent Domain Commission, member of Cherokee County Farm Bureau, Galva-Holstein Ag, First Cooperative Elevator-Cherokee, and North Star Community Credit Union.
She is a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Cherokee, volunteering for Eucharistic Minister, Lector and Religious Education Board.