Des Moines – The Iowa Democratic Party is proud to announce the recipients of its 2022 Hall of Fame Awards. The award winners will be celebrated at a ceremony on Sunday, October 2 in Des Moines. The Honorable Marty Walsh will be the keynote speaker for the event. 

“These individuals represent the very best of Iowa and our Party,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn. “I’m thrilled to recognize hard-working Iowa Democrats who are fighting every day to make Iowa a better place for us all.”


Outstanding Supporter – Mary Jane Cobb, Des Moines, Polk County

Mary Jane Cobb has served as the Executive Director of the Iowa State Education Association for over 14 years. She directly manages the organization’s Communications, Government Relations, and Teaching and Learning staff and programs. Mary Jane is a member of the Education Leadership Initiative Investment Committee and the Central Iowa Labor Coalition of the United Way of Central Iowa. 

Mary Jane has served two terms on the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee. Her involvement included serving as chair of the Operations Committee and as the chair of the Women’s Caucus. She also served as co-chair of the 2022 IDP State Convention.


Champion for Iowans – Scott Brennan, Des Moines, Polk County

Scott Brennan has a long history of being a champion for Iowans. He got his start in Iowa Democratic politics working for Senator Tom Harkin. Now, Scott serves as the Iowa Democratic Party’s representative on the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee where he’s been advocating to keep Iowa First in the Nation for 10 years. Scott has served as the Iowa Democratic Party Chair twice,  including during President Obama’s historic victory in Iowa. 


Outstanding County Chair – Bret Nilles, Marion, Linn County 

Bret Nilles was first elected Chair of the Linn County Democrats in 2013, but he’s been tirelessly working to elect Iowa Democrats to all levels of government for several decades. Bret is passionate about ensuring as many Democrats as possible serve from the County Courthouse to the White House. He also believes the Democratic Party stands for the working people of Iowa and for a better future for all of us. Bret also serves on the Marion Civil Rights Commission. 


Outstanding Activists – The Humboldt County Democrats

The Humboldt County Democrats are a small but mighty team of dedicated community leaders who work hard to connect with Iowans in the 4th Congressional District. With midwestern common sense as their guiding principle, this county party even counts some former Republicans among their ranks. 

Since 2016, the Humboldt County Democrats have brought life back into their county party by hosting regular community events. They’ve adopted a needy family during the holidays, expanded a food drive on MLK Day, attempted to bring Afghan refugees to small-town Iowa and proudly support LGBTQIA+ Iowans in the 4th district during Pride. 


Outstanding Leadership – Rita Hart, Wheatland, Clinton County 

Rita Hart is no stranger to Iowa politics. She served in the Iowa Senate and ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2018 and Iowa’s 2nd Congressional district in 2020. After losing a historically close race for Congress, it would have been easy for Rita to take a break from politics. But that’s not Rita. Instead, she answered the call once again and took the helm as Chair of the Clinton County Democrats. Rita spends countless hours talking to volunteers and voters to understand what we can do to get Democrats elected. If there’s a community event or a group gathering to discuss the future of Clinton County, you can bet Rita will be there. 


Rising Star – David Lee, Ames, Story County 

David Lee is a senior at Ames High School. Born in South Korea, David moved to Ames, IA, at the age of 7. As a Korean American, his identity has been key to understanding the struggles of minorities and becoming an advocate who amplifies the voices of those who seek to share their hidden stories with the world. At Ames High, David leads a student activism and civil rights education club called SACRE. Through SACRE, he has learned that all issues have multiple sides to a story, that it is necessary for students to take interest in their peers’ experiences, and that with a simple idea and a group of dedicated friends, anyone can make a difference in Iowa politics.