DeJear touts her experience in secretary of state race

Deidre DeJear believes she has the right background to serve as Iowa’s secretary of state.

The Democrat from Des Moines founded and continues to own a firm, Caleo Enterprises, which provides marketing and strategy assistance to businesses. Helping new business owners file documents with the secretary of state’s office is among the services her company offers.

Away from work, she has been involved in get out the vote efforts, most notably with former President Barack Obama’s successful 2012 re-election effort.

“This is a job that’s really, really important to me because business and voting efforts are things I have been deeply involved in,” she said Wednesday during a phone interview with The Messenger. “I have been operating in those realms for a long time.”

“I have been an end-user of this office my entire career,” she added.

DeJear faces Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate in the Nov. 6 general election. Pate is seeking his third term in office. He was the secretary of state from 1995 to 1999, and was re-elected four years ago.

She acknowledged that the race for secretary of state doesn’t get the same attention that the current races for Congress and the governor’s office receive. But she said Iowans need to know just how important the office is.

“You may have your preference for Congress and you may have your preference for governor, but the common thread running through all those names on the ballot is the secretary of state’s office because that office has jurisdiction over who votes and where they vote,” she said.

DeJear said getting more people voting will be a top priority for her if she is elected.

She said there are 2.4 million people in Iowa who are eligible to vote, but 1.9 million of them are actually registered to vote.

The candidate added that just 13 percent of registered voters turned out during the June 6 primary election.

“I know we can do better than that,” she said.

She said if she is elected, she will push for a law that would automatically register people to vote when they get their driver’s license.

She also wants to provide voters with a steady stream of information about elections.

“No channel of communication is out of the question,” she said.

The secretary of state’s office is also in charge of various records that businesses must file. DeJear said she wants to ensure that those business filings happen much faster.

She said that prior to September, there was a 30- to 45-day filing delay, unless the documents were hand-delivered to the secretary of state’s office in Des Moines.

“That was a barrier to people who don’t live in Des Moines, who don’t live in Polk County,” she said.

She said the filing delay has been reduced, but added she believes it should only take one week to get documents filed.