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Chris Cournoyer, president of the Pleasant Valley Community School District board, announced Thursday that she will run for the Iowa Senate in District 49, a seat currently held by Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland.

Cournoyer, a Republican from LeClaire, made the announcement in front of a roomful of supporters at the Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire.

"I'm running because I am deeply committed to our community and I have the skills and the leadership and the drive to get things done on issues that are important to us all as Iowans," she said.

The 49th District seat is likely to get a lot of attention from both parties in next year's election.

In her remarks, Cournoyer focused on public education, the economy and public safety.

She said it was vital to attract and retain good teachers, make sure law enforcement has the resources it needs and that the state produce an educated workforce.

She also said that lowering taxes will lead to more business investment. "I would also hope that would encourage our graduates to stay in Iowa and raise their families," she said.

Cournoyer, who runs her own web site development business, is a 1992 graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in computer science. She has been involved in a range of volunteer activities, including as a reserve deputy for the Scott County Sheriff's Department and as a member of the governor's STEM advisory council. She won re-election to the Pleasant Valley Community School Board in September.

Cournoyer is married and has four children.

The 49th District includes all of Clinton County and parts of northern Scott County, including LeClaire and Princeton. Hart was first elected to the state Senate in 2012.

The filing deadline for the June 5, 2018, primary is March 16.

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