For the first time in eight years, Polk County Republicans have a new leadership team in place. Newly elected County Chairman John Bloom of West Des Moines has been a long time donor to the Republican Party of Iowa, but has spent most of his time quietly working for Republican candidates in the background.
Bloom, who retired in March of 2008 after 34 years with John Deere, has spent time living in Black Hawk, Scott, Wapello, and Polk Counties. Bloom also lived in Moline, Illinois for a short time. He said that when he moved to Polk County a few years ago, he wanted to live somewhere where Republicans were relevant and where he could have an impact, which is why he ended up in West Des Moines.
Bloom represented West Des Moines precinct 213 on the county central committee and ran his local caucus in 2008. He has also served as chair of the county Organization Committee. His main focus in that capacity was implementing an absentee ballot program and recruiting volunteers for lit drops.
Bloom was elected on the first ballot over Ryan Anderson, and Jon Gruber. While Bloom has worked behind the scenes, his co-chair Will Rogers, has spent considerable time working in Iowa politics and was once the Executive Director of the Polk County GOP.
Rogers got his start on Greg Ganske’s 1994 campaign for congress, where he was paid $250.00 a week. He also worked on Ganske’s 2002 US Senate campaign and was the paid Executive Director for the Polk County GOP from 2002 through June of 2004. He spent the rest of the 2004 campaign cycle running Congressman Tom Latham’s re-election campaign. He is currently employed by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association.
Bloom and Rogers say the goal of the Polk County GOP is to, “Rally, Recruit, Register, Retain and Elect Republicans.” In order to achieve those goals, both believe the county party must focus on building a stronger grassroots organization, with a special focus on greater participation at county meetings and functions.
Bloom said that he has been frustrated with past absentee ballot programs where the State Party/RNC effort didn’t work in conjunction with the Polk County initiative. He would like to see a coordinated effort where all Republican entities work together to support the common goal of electing Republicans up and down the ticket.
Rogers says that he’s seen it all work together. He recalled State Senator Pat Wards’ special election in 2004, when the candidate, Polk County GOP, the Legislative Majority Fund, and the Republican Party of Iowa all worked together flawlessly.
The next Polk County Central Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 24, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Hillside Elementary School, 713 8th Street, West Des Moines.
For more information about the Polk County GOP, you can visit their website by clicking HERE.
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