Zach Wahls meets to discuss issues with West students

Iowa Democratic Senate Candidate Zach Wahls met with students at Java House on Monday, Feb. 19, to see what issues young folk believe are most important.

Mason Wang

Anjali Huynh, Reporter

West High students had the opportunity to meet with Iowa Democratic Senate Candidate and former West student Zach Wahls on Monday, Feb. 19. This event took place at the Mormon Trek Java House and was a part of Wahls’ campaign for the Iowa Senate, as well as a way for him to connect with youth in the Iowa City area.

Wahls began the event by introducing himself and his campaign, citing his background experience both in and out of politics. Within this experience is a large amount of activism, including becoming famous for a speech given to the Iowa Legislature about growing up with two lesbian parents. He continued this path of activism by writing a book called “My Two Moms” and starting a group called “Boy Scouts for Equality” to help overturn the rule banning LGBTQ+ individuals from joining boy scouts.

When speaking about this, Wahls noted the naysayers throughout his career, saying, “Whatever they say about how hard it’s going to be, they’ll say that until it’s done.”

Following his introduction, Wahls spoke about his main party platforms: health care, education, workers’ rights and natural resources. He briefly overviewed his positions on these issues, which can be found here.

Anjali Huynh
Zach Wahls explains his main campaign issues to West students at Java House in Iowa City on Monday, Feb. 19.

Wahls then proceeded to open up the conversation to take questions and comments from students. Much of the discussion focused around gun violence and the NRA, as several students there had participated in the walkout protesting gun violence earlier that day. In particular, students had questions about how to keep the momentum currently surging throughout youth from dying out.

Wahls advised, “Discipline is remembering what you want. You guys know what you want: you want policy changes. When people are not as excited or fired up, you have to remember what you want.”

He explained that this could be done through holding meetings, making other students feel they are part of a movement or sharing personal experiences. Additionally, Wahls emphasized the need for students to get involved and participate, particularly in the voting process.

You guys have to vote because there’s a lot of dead kids that can’t.”

— Zach Wahls

“You guys have to vote because there’s a lot of dead kids that can’t,” he said. “That’s our responsibility to them.”

Other topics of discussion included accessibility to mental health resources, school choice, noting other candidates and their platforms across the state, environmental issues and the need for young people to become politically active.

One student that attended the event, Mady Nachtman ’18, appreciated Wahls’ honesty and says she came to the event in an effort to become more aware of politics in the community.

“I think it is so important to be informed,” Nachtman said. “It’s so helpful to learn about the political process. We are in such an interesting time, and I’m going to be able to vote in December, and I want to be totally informed. I meet with both parties and try to learn all I can.”

The next “Zach Wahls for Iowa” event will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 1049 Pheasant Valley St. at 11:30 am. For more information about Wahls, visit his site here.