Lexi Schnaser—Staff Writer
Northwest Iowans are passionate about many things—corn mazes, potlucks, the Minnesota Vikings, the weather—and conservative politics. The same holds true for senior accounting and business administration major, Kendal Zylstra, who recently announced his campaign for the Republican nomination in Iowa House District Four.
“This is the area where I was born, where I live, where I go to church, and where I went to school,” Zylstra said. “The fourth district suits me well.”
It’s not uncommon for Dordt University affiliates, both students and faculty, to be involved in state politics. Former business professor Randy Feenstra served in the Iowa State Senate from 2008 to 2020 and now represents Iowans at the federal level as a representative for Iowa’s fourth congressional district. Also, political science professor Jeff Taylor works in the Iowa Senate for District Two.
“The workplaces that our students will work in, the communities they will live in, the churches they will attend should look differently because Dordt graduates moved in,” Vice President for Student Success and Dean of Students Robert Taylor said.
Zylstra’s campaign website describes him as “a Christian conservative Republican” with “Northwest Iowa values.” To Zylstra, this means his faith comes first when interacting with others through government.
“I am a firm believer in the inerrancy of scripture and believe that the Bible is clear all people are created in the image of God,” Zylstra said. “As a conservative and a Republican, I believe in limited government, protecting the second amendment, and holding true to Constitutional principles. I am also unapologetically pro-life”.
Zylstra has been a member of Dordt’s Student Government each of his four years as a student. First, he served as a representative for East Hall, then North Hall, then served as the Interim President during the spring of 2021 while sitting President Dan Moe studied abroad at the University of Oxford. For the last two years, Zylstra has served as the Treasurer for the Student Government.
“Working with Kendal on Student Government has been a great experience,” Moe, a senior political science and biology major, said. “I can always rely on him to honestly speak his mind, enthusiastically play whatever role he needs to for the team, and consistently support the vision and mission of Student Government and Dordt University over his own interests.”
Zylstra sees his time on Student Government and responsibility to address students’ needs as influential in his ability to participate in the Iowa House.
“I intend to truly address the needs of my constituents.” Zylstra said. “Too many politicians repeat political talking points and fail to address their constituents’ needs.”
Moe and Zylstra have known each other for nearly eight years, and Moe believes Zylstra has been equipped both by his life experiences and his time at Dordt to serve the constituents of the fourth District in Des Moines.
“He’s a farm kid who has grown up, lived, learned, and worked in this district, and he is extraordinarily passionate about giving back to this community,” Moe said. “He is incredibly hard-working, unwavering in his convictions, well-researched in his positions, and has a genuine, humble, and Christ-centered approach to everything he does”.
Zylstra looks forward to meeting with voters to talk about the range of issues facing Northwest Iowans, including education, economic development, taxes and budget, the Second Amendment, and abortion.
“Politics is a crucial avenue for loving our neighbors by offering opportunities to make widespread, meaningful differences for vast amounts of people,” Moe said, “Dordt students engaging in politics with a Kingdom mindset have the chance to help restore some unity and civility to our political climate”.
Zylstra aims to make himself as available as possible and includes his contact information on his website zylstraforiowa.com.