The other 29-year-old who Democrats just elected to Congress

Abby Finkenauer may not be as outspoken as Ocasio-Cortez, but the Iowa congresswoman-elect is just as relatable.

Abby Finkenauer in a screengrab from a tweet that was posted on September 29, 2018. (Abby4Iowa/Twitter)
Abby Finkenauer in a screengrab from a tweet that was posted on September 29, 2018. (Abby4Iowa/Twitter)

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) isn’t the only 29-year-old who was part of Democrats’ historic “blue wave” in last month’s midterms.

Her future House colleague Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) — who recently unseated two-term Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) in Cedar Rapids’ 1st congressional district — is only nine months older, but she’s just as relatable.

If you aren’t already feeling old, let’s just get it all out of the way now.

Finkenauer was born in December 1988 — five days before the calendar flipped to 1989 — graduated from college in 2011, and was first elected to the Iowa state House in 2014 at the age of 25.


Former Vice President Joe Biden couldn’t believe it, either.

Finkenauer will turn 30 in around two weeks, and be sworn in as a congresswoman seven days later. She will join Rep.-elect Cindy Axne (D-IA) — who unseated two-term Rep. David Young (R-IA) in Des Moines’ 3rd congressional district last month — as the first women to represent Iowa in the House.

Despite her meteoric rise, the Iowa Democrat doesn’t come from a politically-connected family. Her mother is a public school employee and her father is a welder, so Finkenauer is a “#prouduniondaughter.”

Though her family “was mostly non-political,” the congresswoman-elect credits a Newsweek subscription at the age of 10 for developing her interest in politics, which led to debating her conservative uncle — a lawyer — during dinner.

“I learned at a very early age that even as a young girl I had every right to be at the table with grown men. It gave me the idea that my opinion mattered.”

Finkenauer struggles to find time for grocery shopping like many of us.

She’s got jokes about co-workers.

She has also been required to endure awkward social situations by her former high school.

Finkenauer even delivered Thanksgiving meals to some of her soon-to-be constituents last month.

But underestimate the Iowa Democrat as “Midwest nice” at your own risk.

After announcing her intention to challenge Blum last year, Finkenauer relentlessly hammered the Republican congressman over his support of President Donald Trump — whose agenda Blum backed 92 percent of the time.

The Democrat also focused on Trump’s trade wars, Medicaid expansion, the GOP tax bill, student debt, and immigration during her successful congressional campaign.

Finkenauer has been a staunch supporter of reproductive rights, clean energy, gun control, pay equality, workers’ rights, and education reform in the Iowa state House.

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Around 7 AM one of the worst legislative sessions for Iowa families, finally came to a close. Walking out this morning I thought about how different I felt walking out after my first adjournment in the House when I was a Page at 18. I was so excited to be starting my adult life in Iowa after picking to stay in Iowa for college, and how I knew Iowa was a place that would put value in my future and be a place of equality and respect. We raised the minimum wage that session and added sexual orientation to Iowa Civil Rights Act, just to name a few things which absolutely changed Iowa for the better. This year, walking out, I'm reminded about how quickly progress hard fought can be taken away. 4 months. That's all it was and yet that's all it took to gut workers rights for 180,000 Iowans, lower wages, pass provisions making it harder for every hard working Iowan who gets hurt on the job to receive fair compensation, restrict a woman's right to her own health care choices as well as gut funding making it harder for men and women to receive family planning services, and underfund our education system from K-12 to community colleges and our public universities – again, just to name a few. On that note, this eastern Iowa girl doesn't forget when you mess with the lives of her friends, family and neighbors. Although we all may need some rest now after 24 hrs straight at the Capitol, tomorrow we get back up and I promise you, this fight for Iowa is only getting started. 💪🏻

A post shared by Abby Finkenauer for Congress (@abby4iowa) on

Finkenauer was recently elected vice chair of the Future Forum Caucus, a group of young Democrats “who are focused on issues and opportunities for millennial Americans.”

The congresswoman-elect credits her successful 2014 campaign for helping her grow as a person.

“You learn who you are and who you’re not really quickly. When you’re young you’re still figuring things out. The campaign put me on a fast-track on figuring out who I am as an Iowan, a woman, and now as a legislator.”

Finkenauer says her father’s union welding job put her on the path to public office, as she explained in this 2015 speech shortly before joining the Iowa state House.

The then-25-year-old former congressional page sent this tweet about Capitol Hill in 2014.

Less than five years later, the Iowa Democrat is set to take her own seat in Congress.