The average person is Congress is 58 years old with a net worth of a million dollars. J.D. Scholten is different. He’s 20 years younger, and about a million dollars short of that average. But what he does have that money can’t buy are his deep Iowa roots and values. All his life, as a teammate and a professional, J.D. has been surrounded by people who put others first. He’s played baseball in seven countries, and his legal career has taken him to Minneapolis and Seattle. But who he is has never changed: an Iowan, a community member, and an energetic teammate, a strong work ethic, and integrity. His family raised him to believe that hard work, civility, and community are the values we should all aspire to, and he is committed to living those values through his campaign to beat Steve King.
J.D., a 5th generation Iowan, was born March 4, 1980, at Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames. At 10 lbs. 2 oz., he was already standing tall. At 3, he moved with his family from the town of Nevada to Sioux City, where he grew up and first played baseball. One grandfather sold feed and seed to local farmers in Lyon County. The other was a farmer in Winnebago County, while Grandma Fern—who he calls his inspiration—was a local elementary school teacher at Northwood-Kensett Elementary school in Worth County. J.D.’s father coached college baseball at Morningside College and his mother worked in public health, looking out for other mothers and their families.
As a student-athlete at East High School, J.D. earned 6 varsity letters and 3 All-State honorable mentions in basketball and baseball while graduating with honors. He went on to attend Morningside College, where he continued to emphasize both academics and athletics, making the Dean’s List and earning first-team academic all-conference. He later graduated from the University of Nebraska, where he led the College World Series baseball team in ERA, all while maintaining his academic all-conference status.
After college, J.D. pursued a professional baseball career, playing in Canada for the Saskatoon Legends, for his hometown Sioux City Explorers over the course of 4 seasons, and in Europe (Belgium, Germany and France). In 2013, J.D. had the honor of pitching with the UCLA Alumni baseball team for 5 games during their tour of Cuba; including giving up a single to current major leaguer Yasmany Tomas. Though the Majors remained elusive, he kept playing for the love of the game and for the love of supporting his teams. All told, he’s played baseball professionally in 7 countries, and with teammates from 6 continents (the invitation is open to anyone from Antarctica).
Between baseball seasons, J.D. began a career as a litigation paralegal, specializing in eDiscovery, Intellectual Property law and trials—a career that taught him the ins-and-outs of the law, good governance, and how to fight for people’s rights. He was proud to support the asylum case of a Cameroonian man tortured by his own government, and to help a Minnesota company protect its Intellectual Property rights against a giant Canadian corporation.
Though a first-time candidate for office, J.D. is a lifelong Democrat who in October of 2002 took a 20 hour one-way bus ride to protest the Iraq war and has volunteered on local, state and national campaigns. J.D. is a proud Catholic who has taken the Matthew 25 pledge to protect and defend the most vulnerable among us. His faith is a special part of his life that has set the foundation for the values that define him. One of his favorite parts of traveling throughout Iowa’s 4th district is attending Mass in different towns and seeing these communities come together. He is still an avid sports fan, loves to play cards, enjoys black coffee, and Casey’s pizza. He lives in Sioux City, having bought his childhood home. His family still owns a farm outside Lake Mills and J.D. is running to ensure that the next generation of family farmers is able to thrive both economically and environmentally. Like his political heroes Berkley Bedell and Tom Harkin, J.D. has been traveling to all 39 counties in the district in his Winnebago RV (made in the district!) putting over 45,000 miles already on “Sioux City Sue.” At 6 feet 6 inches tall, J.D. is truly “Standing Tall for All!”