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Aime Wichtendahl oral history collection

 Collection
Identifier: IWA1347

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Scope and Contents

The Aime Wichtendahl oral history collection consists of the recording and transcript of one oral history interview conducted with Wichtendahl by Kate Orazem in 2023. The collection also contains a business card and a button representing Wichtendahl's campaign promotional materials.

In her oral history interview, Wichtendahl discusses the development of her political beliefs, campaigns, and her experiences as a city councilor for Hiawatha, Iowa. Municipal topics covered in the interview include the passage of a higher minimum wage for Linn County in 2017, zoning and housing development, and strategies Wichtendahl used to lower property taxes while maintaining service levels in her community. Wichtendahl also narrates her personal biography, including reflections on growing up trans in an Iowa Christian family, memories of political awakening, her coming-out process, her divorce, and parenthood. She provides her analysis of anti-trans legislation in Iowa in the 2020s and describes an incident of transphobic housing discrimination that impacted her and her son. Wichtendahl also discusses her memories of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 derecho storm that caused major damage in Hiawatha and the Cedar Rapids area.

The interview is preserved in an audio recording of 87 minutes and a transcript available as a PDF file or in hard copy.

Dates

  • Creation: 2023

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research. Digital content may be made available upon request.

Biographical / Historical

Aime Wichtendahl was born in 1979 in Minnesota. Her family moved around for several years, living in Michigan and Illinois before settling in Newhall, Iowa when Wichtendahl was seven years old. Wichtendahl attended private Christian schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. In 2005, she graduated from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. A trans woman, Wichtendahl began her transition in 2006, and the following year she and her son Steven moved to Hiawatha, Iowa. In 2015, Wichtendahl was elected to the Hiawatha City Council, becoming the first openly trans woman to serve in public office in Iowa history. Inspired to enter politics by her support for local businesses, Wichtendahl's achievements as councilor included lowering property taxes and stewarding housing development projects to fruition. Wichtendahl was reelected in 2019 and 2023, and will hold her Hiawatha City Council seat until 2027. In December 2023, Wichtendahl announced her candidacy for Iowa House District 80 (Hiawatha and parts of the Cedar Rapids area).

Extent

1.41 Gigabytes

0.5 linear inches

Language of Materials

English