Carroll Times Herald | Douglas Burns
Carroll County Republican Party Chairman Craig Williams, a longtime GOP activist with a deep statewide network, says he brings conservative values and an eye for fiscal responsibility to his campaign for the Iowa Senate.
“I think I’ll be a good representative for this district,” Williams said. “I think I understand the family values and the values the people in this district hold dear.” Williams, 56, an independent agricultural consultant from Manning, is running in Iowa Senate District 6, which includes Audubon, Carroll, Buena Vista and Sac counties and the eastern part of Crawford County.
“Doing what I do now, I’ve got a lot more flexibility, and it’s my turn, it’s my time to run,” Williams said Monday morning in announcement remarks during a Carroll County GOP Central Committee breakfast meeting at the Family Table Restaurant in Carroll. “I’m tankful that folks have asked me to run for this, and I greatly appreciate the support that I’ve already gotten for this.”
Williams started his political involvement at age 12, when while living in Illinois, he campaigned for Democratic President Jimmy Carter.
“Don’t hold that against me,” Williams joked with a Carroll County crowd of 20 Republicans over eggs and coffee. He soon connected with Republicans and a conservative, small-government philosophy, though.
In 1982, Williams campaigned for former U.S. House Minority Leader Bob Michel, and Illinois Republican.
“I got to meet Ronald Reagan at the time and listen to a speech from him standing about 20 feet away,” Willaims said. “It was just an awesome time in my life.”
Williams, a member of the Iowa Republican State Central Committee, also serves as treasurer for Kiron Republican Congressman Steve King’s campaign.
Williams described himself as a pro-life candidate and a strict constitutionalist who would aggressively protect Second Amendment rights.
“We’ll pull that out as a special amendment because a lot of people seem to be against it these days,” Williams said. “But if it’s in the Constitution, that’s our guideline. That’s how we live in this country.”
Williams and his wife, Cindy, have two children, Steven and Stephanie, both now living in Omaha, Nebraska. Williams has three grandchildren, all under 18 months of age – Chandler, Lucas and Benjamin.
Having lived in Manning since 1991, Williams was raised in northern Illinois where his father, Gary, often worked three jobs to keep food on the table. Williams’ parents, Gary and Carol, now live south of St. Louis, Missouri.
“Dad has a great work ethic,” Williams said. “He’s 80 years old and still runs circles around me.”
Williams graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in operations management and information systems. He developed software for a time working in downtown Chicago.
“One thing my wife and I figured out early on is, this is no place to raise kids,” Williams said of the Windy City. “So in 1991, we packed up our two kids and moved to Iowa looking for a better place to raise them. We found it in Manning. Here it is 28 years later, and we still love it.”
Before going into consulting, Williams working in information technology and the business department for Garst Seed, later becoming director of operations for Channel Bio. He also worked as general manager for the regional Stauffer and Renze seed operations.
Audubon Past Heath Hanson is the only other announced Republican running in the sweeping rural Iowa district. No Democratic candidates have emerged to campaign for the District 6 seat now held by two-term State Sen. Mark Segebart, a Vail Republican who is retiring at the end of 2020.
The Senate primary is in June with the general election in November.