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Rita Hart

Rita Hart (Contributed photo)

A longtime educator from Wheatland has announced she’ll run for the state Senate in District 49, which includes parts of Clinton and Scott counties.

Rita Hart, 55, pledged to be a “positive force” in the state Legislature, which she said is in need of “practical, problem-solving legislators.”

A Democrat, Hart is the second person to announce she’s seeking the seat. Earlier this spring, Andrew Naeve, a farmer from Andover said he will run as a Republican. Naeve lost a close race last year to Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa.

Bowman, who is from Maquoketa, lives in the newly redrawn 29th District.

Because of the narrow Democratic majority in the state Senate — and as an open seat — it’s likely to be a race that gets attention from both parties.

Hart taught junior and senior high school English at Bennett Community Schools and in the Calamus-Wheatland School District from 1978 to 1999. She has a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Iowa. She and her husband also own a farm in Clinton County.

In a news release, Hart pointed to increasing educational opportunities for children and for workers who have lost their jobs.

“That means providing our children with every educational opportunity possible and providing displaced workers with the opportunity to go back to school — to our community colleges — to get the skills they need to re-enter the work force,” she said.

Hart is on the Clinton County Planning & Zoning Commission and the Clinton County Justice Commission.

The district covers all of Clinton County and includes the rural parts of northern Scott County, as well as the towns of LeClaire, McCausland, Park View and Princeton.

The filing period for state legislative primary races isn’t until Feb. 27 through March 16. The primary will be June 5.

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