Story by Sarah LeBlanc
Photo Courtesy Sean Bagniewski
Bagniewski went to college at Truman State University in Missouri and returned to Des Moines to attend the Drake Law School.
With his wife Vidhya, Bagniewski returned to the Des Moines community to practice law and improve the city.
Bagniewski said he views the city council as “an opportunity to give back to Des Moines,” a city that provided him with experience and an education that has prepared him in running for city council.
“(Drake Law School) gave me leadership abilities and connected me with the Drake community,” Bagniewski said. “I was the student president of the law school, and I was named student president of the year by the American Bar Association.”
Bagniewski said he believes his Drake Law School experiences set him apart from the field.
In his time at Drake Law School, his emancipation bill for abandoned teenagers unanimously passed in the Iowa Legislature.
The teenagers Bagniewski represents in his bill could not apply for student loans or housing because they weren’t adults, but they also did not have representation by their parents to support them.
“My bill allowed a judge to declare them legal adults even though they were only 16 or 17 years old,” Bagniewski said. “If you can do something like that in law school and take it to the next step, being an elected official is even better.”
Bagniewski is committed to representing his consituents and has made it his personal goal to speak with the voters about the issues he is concerned about.
“I’m the candidate that has been knocking every single door,” Bagniewski said. “I went to every neighborhood association and attended all their meetings. I’m the first one there and the last one to leave.”
Bagniewski’s political experience includes working for non-profit organizations, as well as working in former governor Tom Vilsack’s office and in the Middleton Center for Children’s Rights.
Bagniewski also volunteers with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and with smaller organizations such as the Jolly Holiday Lights in Water Works Park.
“I wanted to get involved in the political process and public service,” said Bagniewski.
“Des Moines is going through a mini renaissance right now with development,” Bagniewski said. “People are coming to Des Moines, and being an elected official during this time is as good as it gets.”
Even though Des Moines Public Schools is one of the best districs in the country, Bagniewski is concerned that, “once people graduate high school they leave the city.”
Bagniewski is focusing on “bringing young professionals back home and keeping them in Des Moines.”
In his experience with law, Bagniewski learned that, “If you had good ideas and you could bring about compromise and build consensus, you could get things done.”
Bagniewski focuses speaking to the citizens of Des Moines on a personal level.
“If you want to talk to me or get a hold of me, you work with me personally,” Bagniewski said.
Blake Hanson, a second-year law student at Drake University involved in Bagniewski’s campaign, said, “Sean brings energy, enthusiasm and experience,” in his campaign.
Hanson said Bagniewski’s position as an attorney and young professional in Des Moines creates a sense of reliability.
“(Bagniewski) is genuine, and he has good judgment and good character,” Hanson said. “His personal commitment to the voters in knocking on doors and ensuring his availability proves his concern for the issues he represents.”