Ames, Iowa , United States
|| September 06, 1958
Apr 06, 2012 12:35pm
|Info||Former Chief of Staff to Gov. Tom Vilsack |
From fighting for economic opportunities for Iowa�s farmers to helping run a state government for the first Democratic governor in more than 30 years, John Norris has built a broad range of experiences focused on providing Iowa�s working families real opportunities for the new century�s challenges.
A native of Red Oak, Iowa, John Norris grew up on the family farm that his great-great-grandfather settled. As a young man, John learned first hand the value of hard work and the impact that government policies had on his family, his community and his state. It was at that point that he began his activism in the Democratic Party and state and federal government.
During the mid-1980s, Norris served as State Director for the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition - a group of farm, labor, consumer and faith organizations drawn together to fight for fair prices for farmers and fair wages for workers. The Coalition was instrumental in passing several state laws to assist farmers during the farm crisis of the 1980s. Norris also served as the coordinator of the 1993 Farm Aid Benefit Concert in Ames.
Norris owned and managed the Old Hotel Restaurant in Greenfield, Iowa from 1989 to 1992. He served as Vice-President of the Greenfield Chamber of Commerce.
Norris previously served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Leonard Boswell, with whom he worked hard to assist many Iowa communities with their infrastructure needs. Earlier, as District Representative for then-Congressman Tom Harkin, Norris helped with local community development initiatives and helped constituents who were having difficulty dealing with federal agencies. This experience taught Norris that the job of U.S. Representative is much more than just casting votes in Congress.
Since 1999, Norris has served as Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Vilsack, where he has helped lead Iowa�s critical efforts to improve student achievement, increase teacher compensation, protect Iowa�s groundwater, help victims of abuse and promote economic opportunity for Iowa�s business people, workers and farmers. As Chief of Staff, Norris has managed more than 25 government agencies and thousands of state employees.
He graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa in 1981 with a B.A. in political science. He earned a J.D. with distinction in 1995 from the University of Iowa College of Law.
Norris teaches American government for Simpson College and has delivered numerous talks throughout the state on government and public service.
In 1998, at the request of the National Democratic Institute, he traveled to Macedonia where he helped train emerging political parties on the democratic process and prepare them for democratic elections.
Norris serves on the Board of Directors of the Food Bank of Iowa, is President-elect of the Simpson College Alumni Board and is a member of the United Methodist Church.
He is an outdoors enthusiast and musician. John and his wife Jackie, a teacher, live in Ames