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Iowa Democratic Party 2020 Hall of Fame

A virtual celebration will honor outstanding leaders, activists, and rising party stars

DES MOINES — The Iowa Democratic Party will host the annual Hall of Fame event 5 p.m. July 26. The virtual event will honor outstanding Iowa Democrats for their work as volunteers and leaders in their communities. Vice President Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker at the event to celebrate the progress Iowa Democrats have made and recommit to fighting for Democratic values and turning Iowa blue in November.

The following Iowans will be honored at this year’s celebration: 

Minnette Doderer Award for Outstanding Leadership: Joan Koenigs, Saint Ansgar, Mitchell County

Joan Koenigs is a longtime Democratic leader in North Iowa. She has served in party leadership for decades, most notably as the county chair for ten years, and mentored and taught a generation of younger Iowans how to run for public office. Her impact on the community as a strong Democrat and advocate for women and rural Iowans is immeasurable. 

Jim Lodwick Award for Outstanding State Central Committee Member: Melissa Peterson, Des Moines, Polk County

Melissa Peterson serves as the SCC Rules Chair as well as a Government Relations Specialist for the ISEA. Melissa is a longtime labor and public education advocate and a tireless fighter for Iowa Democrats.

Bob Creech Award for Outstanding Democratic Party Chair: Sally Walker-Jondal, Morning Sun, Louisa County

Sally Walker-Jondal is the county chair and a small business owner. Several years ago, she took over a struggling county party and turned it into an active, engaged community that was prepared for the caucuses months in advance and is holding regular phone banks during COVID-19. Louisa County is stronger than ever before under her leadership. 

Dixon Terry Award for Outstanding Democratic Party Activist: John Norris, Des Moines, Polk County

John Norris is a longtime Democratic activist who first became involved in politics on Congressman Harkin’s campaign and later directed the Iowa presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson, Tom Harkin and John Kerry. His values were shaped by growing up on an Iowa farm, and he has been a strong proponent of rural issues for decades. He has notably served as Chief of Staff to both Congressman Boswell and Governor Vilsack, Commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under President Obama and is a former State Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. His contributions to the state party over the years have had a positive impact on the lives of all Iowans. 

Edward Campbell Rising Star Award: Jazmin Newton, Davenport, Scott County; Amber Mohr, Avoca; Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, Harlan, Shelby County

Amber Mohr and Ellen Walsh-Rosmann will receive a joint-Rising Star Award for their work in Shelby County.

Jazmin Newton is an attorney, small business owner, and candidate for Scott County Supervisor. She is also the president of the League of Latin American Citizens Council No. 10, Deputy State Director of the Iowa LULAC, and is involved in a variety of other advocacy and social justice organizations. Jazmin is a strong voice for people of color and women across Iowa.  

Amber Mohr is a farmer and the Executive Director of Avoca Main Street. Main Street Iowa is a volunteer-driven program that has revitalized 54 active Iowa downtown streets to create economic vitality and more engaged communities. Amber is also the Farmland Access Navigator with Renewing the Countryside; all of her work is deeply committed to making rural communities stronger and more resilient.

Ellen Walsh-Rosmann is the owner of two small businesses. She is a strong advocate for agriculture, rural farming, and local foods. Additionally, she manages and owns one of the largest food hubs in the state.

We The People Award: Legislative Black Caucus

This year Iowa Democrats established a new award to honor elected leaders for their dedication and drive to change the system. The We the People Award will be presented to the Legislative Black Caucus for their leadership on behalf of marginalized Iowans in the fight for equality and turning activism into policy.

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