Dave was born in Cherokee and grew up in Washta, which is known as the “Coldest Spot in Iowa” because of the record cold temperature of negative 47 degrees from January 12, 1912. Dave’s parents worked together at Dawson’s Cropmate, a fertilizer business his father owned for many years in Washta and a place where Dave worked for several summers. In 1992, Dave graduated as valedictorian from Willow Community High School (now part of River Valley School District) and received the American Bar Association’s Good Citizenship Award.
Dave graduated from Iowa State University in 1996 and then received his law degree from UCLA School of Law in 1999. After completing law school, Dave worked for three years at Winston & Strawn in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked in the litigation department and frequently traveled across the United States for various legal proceedings involving corporations and other business interests.
In 2002, Dave moved to Woodbury County and started his career as a prosecutor at the Woodbury County Attorney’s Office. From 2010 to 2015, Dave ran his own small business. He operated a law office in Sioux City and specialized in child and family law. In 2015, Dave returned to the Woodbury County Attorney’s Office, where has now worked for over a decade.
Dave has prosecuted drug dealers, sex offenders, and other felons. He also prosecutes cases involving children who are the victims of abuse and neglect. In 2007, Dave argued before the Iowa Supreme Court and won a case to help ensure equal treatment of children in juvenile cases, and in 2014, he won a case before the Iowa Supreme Court to help ensure parents with addictions are given adequate time to receive treatment and be reunited with their children.
Dave served as an elder at his church from 2005 to 2008. He was a volleyball coach at Sioux City West High School from 2005 to 2007. He has been a member of AFSCME from 2003 to 2010 and again from 2015 to the present.
Dave has been a board member from 2011 to the present at the Community Action Agency of Siouxland, which provides Head Start, Early Head Start, emergency assistance, heating assistance, weatherization, transitional housing, senior employment training, family development services, and a child care food program. He is currently the vice-president for New Perspectives Inc. and has served on its board since 2014. NPI provides on-site services and activities as well as employment training to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2017, Dave joined the board of Siouxland CARES, a coalition formed to bring about community changes related to alcohol abuse, drug abuse and related violence.
In 2012 and 2014 Dave was elected to the Iowa House of Representative. While in the Iowa legislature for two terms, he served on various committees, including Commerce, Ethics, Human Resources, Judiciary, Transportation, and Public Safety. In 2016, Dave was recognized with the Gold Star Award by the Iowa State Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Association. This award is presented for excellence in leadership on public safety and law enforcement issues.
Dave and his wife, Liza, live in Lawton, Iowa. They have three children, including her son, Kaleb, her daughter, Kali, and their daughter, Izabel. Kaleb and Kali attend Lawton-Bronson Elementary School, where Izabel will start pre-school in the fall of 2018.