SIOUX CITY | There were two important developments Thursday for filling a vacant Iowa House seat in the Sioux City area.

Gov. Kim Reynolds set Jan. 16 as the date for the special election for House District 6, which includes Sioux City's Morningside neighborhood and the cities of Sergeant Bluff, Bronson and Salix. Rep. Jim Carlin must resign the seat because he won a Dec. 12 special election last week for Iowa Senate District 3.

Also Thursday, Rita DeJong, a former Sioux City teacher and principal, announced she would seek the Democratic nomination for House District 6. Jacob Bossman, a Sioux City Republican who lost a bid for Iowa House District 6 in 2016, had previously said he would seek to win the GOP nod for the special House election.

The nominees for each party will be determined at special nominating conventions at yet-to-be-announced dates.

DeJong, 64, said she is running to help residents have access to good schools and jobs and affordable and accessible health care.

“I’ve lived and worked in Northwest Iowa my whole life, investing in future generations by uniting families, students, and our community...As an experienced educator and leader in Sioux City, I’ve spent my life working for the people in Woodbury County," she said in a statement.

She said she will be a good listener and aim for compromise on legislative issues so beneficial legislation ensues in the Legislature.

DeJong was a teacher for 11 years, then a principal for 21 years in the Sioux City district. In 1994, she was named Principal of the Year by School Administrators of Iowa.

Carlin, a first-term Republican, defeated Democrat Todd Wendt, of Le Mars, 55 percent to 45 percent in Senate District 3. In somewhat of a surprise in one of the most Republican of the 50 state Senate districts, Wendt narrowly carried the Woodbury County portion of the Senate district, which mirrors Carlin's House district. Carlin won more convincingly in the Plymouth County portion of the Senate district.

The Senate District 3 vacancy was created by the resignation of two-term Sen. Bill Anderson, a Pierson Republican who in September accepted a job heading the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation.

Carlin will serve the remaining year of Anderson's four-year term. The winner of the Jan. 16 special election will fill the last year of Carlin's two-year House term.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly specified the length of Iowa Senate terms.

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County and education reporter

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