The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Self-described “new-age Republican” Garrett Dozark sets sights on local Senate seat

Photo contributed.

By Tali Tesar

Garrett Dozark says he’s running in the Republican primary for Iowa State Senate District 38 as a fresh voice, offering a millennial perspective that he believes is much needed in the state legislature. He says that, as a millennial, he is very aware of the growing crisis of student loan debt.

“Student loans are destroying people coming out of college, and I want to address that … I wanna lift that burden as best we can, so people go out and start new businesses and take risks and go after their dreams,” Dozark said.

After current Iowa State Senator Tim Kapucian announced he will not be running for re-election, Dozark saw an opportunity to make a difference. In the June 2 primary election, Dozark will face off against Dawn Driscoll, a farmer from Williamsburg. Dozark says he didn’t take the decision to run for office lightly.

“I prayed a lot about it. A lot of my family was telling me not to do it because I’ve got a lot going on. I’m getting married in June, trying to start a new family and trying to pay bills.” However, he said, “I was looking to my left and to my right, and there wasn’t really that many people my age running.” He decided, “I got to stand up and fight for us.”

After growing up in Denison, Iowa, Dozark served for six years in the Marine Corps before studying political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After earning a law degree from the University of Iowa, he moved to Williamsburg and began working as an attorney in Victor, Iowa.

Dozark said his education gave him “an introduction to the law, which is extremely important when it comes time to making law in the legislature and reviewing it.” This makes him confident he will be able to begin making progress and advocating for legislature as soon as he is elected. He says it also gives him a background in understanding taxation, which “permeates every aspect of our lives.”

If elected, Dozark says his main priorities, in addition to the student loan crisis, will be healthcare, including mental health care, and Iowa’s farmlands.

“We’re near the bottom in the country when it comes to mental health, and that doesn’t make any sense. … Iowa is a great state to live in, and I don’t see why we can’t address that immediately,” he said.

A 2016 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center ranked Iowa last in the country for availability of mental health beds and 47th in the number of licensed psychiatrists. On healthcare, Dozark is skeptical of the recent privatization of Medicaid in Iowa.

“I’m hearing a lot of troubling reports from our local hospitals and nursing homes that it’s not doing the job it’s intended, and so I want very strict accounting on the privatization of Medicaid, and if it’s not saving us money, looking at reversing that course,” he said. “Finally, protecting Iowa farm grounds is a biggie for me,” Dozark said.

He says he is particularly concerned with the rise of corporate farming and the disappearance of small family farms. “There’s not that many new farmers coming up and our lands are being bought by out of state, or even out of country, investors and corporations, and I want to make sure that I protect Iowa farmground for Iowa farmers.”

Dozark acknowledged that on many issues he differs from his party. “Yes, I’m running on the Republican ticket, but … as part of, kind of, the new-age Republicans, I’m kind of more moderate socially,” he said, adding, “I wanna fix any issues that are between Democrats and Republicans.”

Dozark encourages voters to reach out to him at or learn more about him on his Facebook page.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *