Norris running for state seat

Red Oak’s Joey Norris has announced he will be challenging incumbent State Senator Mark Costello in the upcoming Nov. elections.

Norris, who will run for the Democratic nomination, was born in the area, is a graduate of Red Oak High School who attended Southwestern Community College while still in high school, and later graduated with an aerospace engineering degree from Iowa State University. Norris returned to Red Oak and has opened a small engineering firm. Norris said he got involved in politics for the opportunity to have a person representing the Red Oak area, which Norris believes is important.

“You can have someone in the position who can be effective and actually do things. Right now all sorts of changes are happening in the Statehouse in Des Moines that affect people here, and they are the kinds of changes that wouldn’t be made if someone was here and listening to us. I don’t think I can sit on the sidelines and just watch it happen anymore. I need to try and get in there and try to change some things,” Norris said.

Norris’ uncle, John Norris, ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018, but was unsuccessful in the primary. He said his family has always been involved in politics in general.

“My family feels it’s essential to be involved. You either watch things happen, or you participate in a meaningful way. That’s always been our family motto,” Norris commented.

Locally, Norris serves on a committee for the Montgomery County Development Corporation with a focus on high speed internet and fiber optics, is the Chairman of the Montgomery County Democrats, and is soon to be a Red Oak Chamber and Industry member. The information he’s learned in serving from the positions, Norris felt, will benefit him should he be elected.

“It really gives me a good idea of what’s happening. Shawnna Silvius, the MCDC director, has done a phenomenal job of highlighting what is necessary to make the county grow. We’ve had at least 20 years of continuous population decrease, and if we want that to continue, then we can just do nothing. If we want that to change, we have to figure out what the county needs to start growing. Getting started with MCDC has given me an appreciation and an understanding that we have to act.”

Norris added that institutions that already exist in the other cities that are represented by the state senate district will be able to tell exactly what the problems are, and how to fix them. All that needs to be done is to listen. Now that he’s announced his candidacy, Norris described his next steps ahead of the November election.

“I’ll be going to all the economic development entities in the cities and counties, because I need to know what the bigger problems are. To me, in our county, it’s fiber optics, affordable housing, childcare, and mental health care. My intuition tells me that’s systemic across other counties as well, but I need to get out there and know for sure,” Said Norris. “So I’ll find out what those problems are, so I can tailor my message to each one of those communities. To be able to go to the Iowa legislature and tailor specific messages to our corner would be so powerful. We can use that senate seat in Des Moines to get things done here, and up to now, it’s just not happening.”

If elected, Norris said one of his focuses in the Iowa Legislature would be on fiber optics.

“I’m sold on the idea fiber optics is the best method. If we could be the number one state in the country for connectivity, I think that would drive a lot of economic development. The state legislature is taking away economic incentives for businesses in Iowa to be built around innovation and technology. If we can be first in the nation for connectivity, invest heavily in our own Iowans that want to build economically stimulating companies, I think things would change. All it would take is the right person in that office to do that.”

To find out more about Norris and his campaign visit

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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