Claire Celsi is a small business owner and community volunteer. She dedicates her free time to advocating for public education through the group Iowans for Public Education, a grassroots group she helped to activate.
After losing a 2016 House race, Claire decided to run for the open Senate District 21 seat left by Matt McCoy’s run for Polk County Supervisor.
Claire is a Des Moines native and has spent her career in the non-profit, political and advertising agency world before starting her business in 2009. She works with small to medium-sized companies, nonprofits and government agencies to help them get noticed through public relations, marketing and grassroots advocacy. Some of her former clients include the Des Moines Water Works, the Iowa Lottery, Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Tourism Bureau, SILT, Kinze Manufacturing, Weitz Construction Company, the Ethanol industry – and many other organizations.
A graduate of Drake University, she returns as often as she can to guest lecture or participate in panel discussions or resume workshops to help students learn how to navigate the post-college world. Claire was also an adjunct at Drake, teaching courses in internet marketing, public relations writing and social media.
In an effort to serve the public and gain knowledge about the community she lives in, Claire has been a member many boards of directors over the past 20 years, including Iowa Great Places, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission Beacon of Life and Central Iowa Shelter and Services. She is a current member of the Booster Pak WDM board, the West Des Moines Board of Adjustment and the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communications National Advisory Board. She’s also on the membership committee of a new statewide affordable housing group.
Grassroots advocacy has been the hallmark of Claire’s political involvement over the years. When there’s an issue that needs to be solved, Claire gets to work, finds allies and gets it done. She was deeply involved in the movement to ban smoking in public places, has advocated for affordable housing projects in West Des Moines and is very active in making sure that public schools are not privatized in Iowa.
Claire believes in supporting other candidates and activists who want to make a difference. She spends time coaching candidates and helping them develop messaging and also works actively on the ground, knocking on doors as a volunteer.
Family is very important to Claire and she is the mother of two daughters and stepmom to a daughter and son. She’s also a very proud Grandma to Mia, now a 15-month old toddler. Mia is a motivating factor in this campaign. Claire wants to make sure she has a strong public school system, clean water and doesn’t have to pay student loans until she turns 50.
Claire’s husband Jim is an IT professional, a graduate of the University of Iowa and a USATF track official and coaches track and field at Lincoln High School.