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DES MOINES, Iowa — All pandemic long, Iowans have relied on healthcare workers to keep themselves safe and informed about COVID-19 but a pair of central Iowa physicians say they want to do even more to help.

UnityPoint Health internal medicine physician, Dr. Austin Baeth is running for Iowa House District 36 which covers parts of Des Moines.

“I haven’t felt this nervous or exhilarated since my first day as an intern many years ago,” the 37-year-old laughs. “I don’t think doctors make natural politicians. We aren’t trained in front of cameras but we are trained to listen.”

Dr. Baeth says it’s not the pandemic itself that caused him to run for public office, rather what the pandemic exposed.

“I have so many patients whose basic needs aren’t being met. Whether it’s food, housing, or a good-paying job. If we don’t have access to basic needs, our entire well-being suffers,” says Baeth. “No one cares about their blood sugar levels when they are working two jobs just trying to make rent.”

Broadlawns Medical Center infectious disease physician, Dr. Megan Srinivas, announced her campaign earlier this year. She is looking to represent Iowa House District 30. Srinivas previously ran for House District 9 in Fort Dodge in 2018. There are currently not any doctors representing Iowans as lawmakers.

“Just looking at the pandemic it was politicians who were deciding what people had access to healthcare,” she explains. “The more voices who can reflect the importance of healthcare and the struggles that we see every day as physicians, the better.”

Both doctors are also campaigning on other issues that will continue impacting Iowans long after the COVID-19 crisis is over such as; education, the privatization of Medicaid, accessible health care, and jobs .

In eastern Iowa, a third Iowa doctor and first-time candidate is running for the vacant Iowa Senate District 47 seat. Mary Kathleen Figaro, a Davenport endocrinologist, is fighting for public and mental health, childcare, and improving social infrastructure according to her campaign Twitter profile.

Both Baeth and Srinivas face opponents in their races. The primary will take place on June 7th.