Craig Cooper announced Wednesday he will be a candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives.

He will be a Democratic candidate in Iowa House District 81, which includes neighborhoods of West Davenport and Northwest Davenport. Cooper will retire from Genesis Health System as senior communications specialist at the end of January. He’s also a former sports and business reporter from the Quad-City Times. Cooper has lived in the district for 43 years.

“This is an exciting opportunity to represent residents of District 81 and most importantly, to give them a voice in decisions made that will impact their lives,” he said Wednesday. “I look forward to walking and biking in District 81 neighborhoods over the coming months and listening.

Craig Cooper of Davenport has lived in the 81st Iowa House District for 43 years.

“For nearly 45 years I have had two rewarding work careers. Now I look forward to working for the residents of the district.”

Cooper said his priorities as a state representative will be finding solutions to fill Iowa’s workforce gaps, especially in the health care and teaching fields; safe and high-achieving public schools for all Iowa students; protect voter access; and, pandemic response and recovery.

Cooper said he will introduce a nursing and teachers relief bill — providing financial, social and behavioral health assistance. He said this proposal would also provide grant assistance to prepare students in both fields.

“Iowa nurses and teachers have been heroes during the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, many have left their fields because of personal safety concerns, family needs, emotional distress and overwhelming exhaustion. Iowa can lead by recognizing the barriers to returning to work in these vital professions and finding ways to eliminate those barriers,” Cooper added. “Iowa needs to make sure we are exploring solutions to the health care and education staffing crises.”

Cooper serves on the Davenport Public Library Board of Trustees. He previously served as president of the Friends of Davenport Public Library. He also served on the Local School Improvement Advisory Committee, City of Davenport Citizens Advisory Committee, and with Scott County Regional Authority as a grant application reader.

Cooper is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in journalism. He has advanced training in crisis and disaster communications. He is the author of three self-published fiction books. He has been married to Susan for 46 years. They have two adult sons and six grandchildren.