Barbara Hovland is a lifelong resident of Iowa. She and her husband, Tom, operate a property development company. The couple sold their 15 NAPA stores in 2014.
“We employed 165 employees throughout the states of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin,” said Hovland, who announced she would be running for Co-Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa a couple weeks ago.
“It’s time for a woman to represent ALL Republicans at the state level,” Hovland wrote in her Facebook announcement on Dec. 17. “I am a strong leader who believes the grassroots needs to have a seat at the table.”
Hovland said the results of the 2018 election in Iowa spurred her decision.
“My passion to make a difference and serve is my reason for running for the duly open position of Co-Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa,” Hovland said. “(After) the losses that we sustained — two United States Congressmen, State Auditor Mary Mosiman and several Senate and House incumbent seats, I decided it was time that I run.
“If you were a CEO in a corporation and you endured losses such as the RPI saw in the 2018 cycle, you would be firing those who didn’t perform their job to the best of their ability. The employee would have to answer to the CEO, what went wrong, what could you have done better, etc.”
Fundraising is where the RPI needs to put its focus, according to Hovland, who currently serves as Secretary of the Republican Party of Iowa.
“The RPI needs to address the big, outside money that has been streaming into our state for the Democrat candidates,” she said. “We need to focus on fundraising and using our funds strategically.”
She questioned if the RPI’s messaging is what it should be and if it is missing target Republican and Independent voters with its messaging.
Looking ahead to 2020, Hovland said Senator Joni Ernst’s race will be crucial.
“We cannot afford to miss our mark,” she said. “Our grassroots county central committees are the backbone of our party. As Co-Chair, I’d implement tools in connecting and strengthening our county central committees. Several of our county central committees are struggling with membership, events and getting volunteers to assist with their convention and caucus.
“If Iowa wants to remain first in the nation caucus, we must assist the struggling county central committees.”
Hovland said she has received plenty of support and encouragement from Republicans across the state, from the top down.
“I am not running for a title,” she said. “I am running to make the RPI more effective, stronger and to lead a team of the best state central committee members.”
Hovland currently serves on the Iowans For Tax Relief Advisory Board. She’s the chairwoman of Cerro Gordo GOP, founder of Justice For Our Iowa Children, board member of Northern Lights Homeless Shelter and member of Trinity Lutheran Church.