She was one of the most committed volunteers in Iowa political history. Spending countless hours, making tens of thousands of phone calls, Wendy Jensen provided an immeasurable positive impact for several Iowa Republican candidates. Governor Branstad, Congressman Tom Latham and 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum all owe part of their campaign success to her.
Jensen, an Ames resident and member of the Story County GOP central committee, passed away suddenly on December 15, 2011. Those who knew Wendy best want to make sure she is not forgotten. So, this Monday, the Story County Republicans are holding the first Wendy Jensen Memorial Chili Supper.
“Wendy was a staple in Story County Republican politics from the time she became involved,” said Story County GOP Chairman Dane Nealson. “We wanted to honor her by creating an event that will showcase her contributions and allow her memory and her legacy to live on.”
The engine of every political campaign is its volunteers. While money provides the fuel necessary to keep the campaign going, it cannot go very far without a strong engine. Wendy Jensen was a key component of the engine for every campaign she volunteered for.
Between 2007-2012, she made more than 100,000 phone calls for Iowa Republican candidates. While a lot of volunteers dread making calls, Jensen loved it. She loved the Republican Party and took great pride in being a part of it.
The day before she passed away, Jensen made 458 calls for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. That’s more than some full-time, paid staffers are required to make in a week.
“You can talk about the measurable statistics that Wendy brought to the table, but that barely scratches the surface,” Nealson said. “Her positive attitude was contagious, and the true impact she made was evident by the fact that Rick Santorum, Governor Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Congressman Latham, and Chairman Strawn all attended her funeral.”
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, State Senator Amy Sinclair and at least some of the U.S Senate candidates will be present for Monday’s dinner, which takes place at 5:30 at the Story City Community Center. Several of the Republican candidates that Jensen volunteered for sent along hand-written notes that will be part of a display and read aloud at the meeting.
Members of Wendy Jensen’s family will also be in attendance. The highlight of the evening will be an eight-minute video tribute to her. There likely will not be a dry eye in the room when that concludes.
“Wendy was a great friend and a great motivational influence,” Nealson said. “She was the hardest working volunteer I’ve ever met, and she stayed positive and upbeat in times when most would give up or throw in the towel. She loved people and was always concerned about the well being of those around her.”
A free will donation is requested, but not required, for the chili dinner.
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