Shannon Latham, a Republican from Sheffield, announces she will run for Iowa House District 54 now that Speaker Linda Upmeyer will not seek re-election.
“Speaker Upmeyer has served our district well, and she has been such a wonderful role model,” says Latham, whose interest in public service was sparked when she was a 4-H member in Butler County and attended Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF). “No one can step in and fill Speaker Upmeyer’s shoes, but it would be an honor to follow in her footsteps by serving North Central Iowans.”
With a Master of Business Administration from the University of Iowa, combined with 25 years of business experience, Shannon understands the interconnectivity between strong businesses and strong communities. She lived and worked for a decade in Greater Des Moines, serving for six of those years as a public relations specialist for Meyocks & Priebe Advertising. She also served as an agricultural program coordinator for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, as well as legislative affairs director for the Agribusiness Association of Iowa.
Shannon and John decided to move home to North Iowa in 2003 where they could raise their children, Ian and Elizabeth (Elle), near family and pursue the American dream. Shannon started her own public relations consulting business and John founded a seed corn company, Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids. Shannon soon joined him as co-owner of the family’s seed corn business. Five years later, they purchased a soybean company to form Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.
“It felt risky to start my own business as a sole proprietor, but it paled in comparison to what I felt when John and I went into business together. There was no second income to fall back on, plus we responsible for making payroll. It’s a responsibility we take seriously because people rely on these jobs to put food on the table and pay their bills,” says Shannon, who also owns and operates Enchanted Acres pumpkin patch in Sheffield. “I commend entrepreneurs for trading their paid time off and known salaries to follow their dreams. We need small businesses because they’re the backbone of our communities.”
To remain strong, Latham believes communities need strong educational systems and economic development efforts. She also believes an emphasis on trade schools and individualized learning programs that prepare graduates for careers is a win-win for students and business owners. She is committed to empowering job creators to bring employment opportunities to North Iowa.
“People support what they help create, so I would work to create consensus with fellow North Iowa business owners and elected officials alike,” says Latham. “Synergy is gained when the communities in our region work together just as a rising tide lifts all boats.”