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Articles by Scott Shigeoka

Scott Shigeoka is a storyteller and designer exploring how bridging our differences can strengthen communities and inspire action. Follow his road trip across the country on Instagram @scottshigeoka.

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The two Iowa legislators make an unlikely pair. One’s a Democrat and the other is a Republian. One’s a Unitarian Universalist, the other is a Christian. One’s the son of two lesbian mothers and grew up in Iowa City, which has more than 76,000 residents. The other hails from a more traditional household, and he’s spent his life in Wayland, a small town with fewer than 1,000 people. One speaks at a rapid-fire pace, his voice full of energy and passion, the other has a calm demeanor and speaks in a measured, matter-of-fact way.

But Zach Wahls and Joe Mitchell do have some things in common. They grew up less than an hour from each other in southeast Iowa, for starters. They’re also young: Wahls is 28 and Mitchell is just shy of 23. They both ran for office in 2018 and won, part of a national upswell of young, first-time candidates who were elected during a midterm election that drew unprecedented numbers of people to the polls. Leaders from Iowa’s Democratic and Republican parties hailed their victories as a sign of changing times.

And even though these two legislators sit on different sides of the political aisle, they’ve still managed to find common ground, particula... Read more

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