A 20-year Deere & Co. employee said Wednesday that she is running for the Iowa Senate in District 47, a seat currently held by Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport.

Marie Gleason, of Bettendorf, said if she's elected, she will focus on public education, ensuring regulations that she says are fair and stable and being fiscally responsible.

Gleason, who is running for the Democratic nomination, says she came from a working class family, benefited from the public school system and, when she was in grade school, also saw the value of public assistance when her father had a heart attack and had to be off work temporarily.

"As I was growing up I had a lot of opportunities that were given to me, so I want to make sure that the next generation has those same opportunities," she said.

Gleason is a project manager in the human resources area at Deere and also has worked in sales and marketing. She also serves on the board of Dress for Success Quad-Cities, a nonprofit that helps unemployed and underemployed women.

Gleason has a bachelor's degree in business management from Indiana University, Bloomington, as well as a master's degree in organizational management from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. She also served as an intern for a U.S. congressman from Indiana and as an assistant to a member of the European Parliament in Germany in the late 1980s.

So far, Gleason is the only Democrat to have announced her candidacy for the nomination.

Candidates can begin filing nomination papers for the June 5, 2018, primary beginning Feb. 26. The deadline is March 16.

The 47th Senate district includes Bettendorf, parts of eastern Davenport, Riverdale, Panorama Park and Pleasant Valley Township.

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