Zirkelbach answers call to serve, state and country - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Zirkelbach answers call to serve, state and country

By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) - During this campaign, many candidates touted their record of service. Be it civil or in the military. But one iowa candidate could say he is still serving in the military.

In the 31st District for the Iowa House. incumbent Ray Zirkelbach easily won re-election, beating out republican Dena Himes. Zirkelbach is a Sergeant in the Iowa National Guard and a veteran of the Iraq War.

Unique might be an understatement. Because this incumbent candidate didn't tout his time in Iraq. You didn't hear about it in ads on TV or speeches, you heard about it through friends and family. Something they say give meaning the act of public service.

It's election night in the Zirkelbach household. Complete with friends, family and pizza. "There's a level of anxiety it's basically a referendum on your past performance when you're an incumbent," said Ray Zirkelbach.

Tonight, you wouldn't know Ray Zirkelbachs up for re-election, unless you talked to his family and friends and yes, even his 2 year-old daughter Claire. "What kinda guy is your dad?" asked Emily Zirkelbach as Claire pointed to her dad. "Is he hard working?" Emily asked. "Yeah!" replied Claire Zirkelbach.

Hard working enough to serve his country in Iraq in 2004. When he returned, he decided to run for the first time. "I thought it would be the right time. We didn't have any children, we thought this would be a good time to try it out," said Zirkelbach.

Little did he know timing is everything. During the 2005 session, he was called back to Iraq. "There's a little frustration wanting to serve both places. By law you couldn't so I just had to wait patiently and return," he said.

And while he set sat empty in the Iowa House, his wife gave birth to their first child. For 15 months Zirkelbach's wife, Emily, raised their daughter alone. While he served his country. "Takes a lot of courage and I've very proud of what he did and what he's doing," said Emily Zirkelbach, Jay's wife.

Pride, that's shared through service. Something Zirkelbach says everyone you elect embodies. "Everybody, no matter what part has the best interest of Iowans in mind. They might not agree on how to get there but in the end, we all have the best interest in Iowa. We all go down to Des Moines as Iowans."

Sergeant Zirkelbach returned to the State Legislature this year after missing the 2007 and 2006 sessions while he served in Iraq. Legislators gave him a standing ovation upon his return.

Tuesday night Zirkelbach was reelected to serve as State House Representative for District 31. He'll serve Dubuque and Jones Counties for another 2 year term.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
Online Producer: Mike Verlo

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