DES MOINES, Iowa — At least three U.S. Senate candidates and eight congressional candidates, including six-term U.S. Rep. Steve King, are scheduled to appear during the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators‘ seventh annual “Homeschool Day at the Capitol” on Tuesday, March 18, that will host U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as its featured speaker.
Organizers said today that five Republicans seeking the Third Congressional District nomination — Grimes businessman Robert Cramer, Des Moines educator Joe Grandanette, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, former Sen. Charles Grassley chief of staff David Young and state Sen. Brad Zaun — will speak during one of three time blocks set aside for candidates. They are seeking the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Latham.
Three of the six Republicans seeking their party’s U.S. Senate nomination — Sioux City talk radio host Sam Clovis, state Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak and Des Moines attorney Matt Whitaker — will address the group. King, First Congressional District candidate Steve Rathje, a Cedar Rapids Republican seeking the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist seeking the Second District GOP nomination, also are scheduled to speak.
“We couldn’t have been happier after Senator Cruz accepted our invitation, but the number of congressional and Senate candidates who recognize the impact that NICHE families can and do have on Iowa’s election process is very gratifying,” the organization’s president, Justin LaVan, said. “NICHE members’ influence first gained prominence during former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s surprise victory in the 2008 precinct caucuses and carried through in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. It will be a difference-maker again in 2014.”
Cruz, frequently mentioned as a 2016 presidential contender, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 in his first bid for public office.
The NICHE Homeschool Day at the Capitol at the Statehouse will include informal training for personal visits with legislators, morning addresses by Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen and Governor Terry Branstad’s legal counsel Brenna Findley, and Capitol Building tours. Candidates,nationally syndicated radio talk show personality Steve Deace, FAMiLY LEADER president and CEO Bob Vander Plaats and other guests will speak during the afternoon session at the Marriott Hotel, 701 Grand Ave.
Formed in 1992, NICHE is Iowa’s only statewide homeschooling organization providing support and information to home educating families through a variety of events and resources, including an annual conference, a formal graduation service, a quarterly magazine and bi-monthly member e-newsletter, legislative services and multi-faceted assistance to local homeschooling groups and individual families.