Moving with his family as a small child, Matt Pfaltzgraf has called Ankeny home for nearly his entire life, having moved there in 1992. Matt graduated from Ankeny High School in 2003. In high school, he accepted a coveted internship at Governor Vilsack’s office. He is the only high school student to have been hired as an intern in the governor’s office.
Following his summer internship, Matt continued to help those in need. During his senior year, he tutored students at Parkview Middle School who were in the Learning Center program. The Learning Center helps students who struggle to keep up with their classmates. Matt was given help by the Learning Center instructors throughout middle school and high school and could relate with the challenges the children were facing since he had been in their place in the past. Matt was awarded the “Leader of Tomorrow” award from the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce for his volunteer efforts.
Following high school, Matt attended Des Moines Area Community College. After his freshman year, he was hired by Congressman Boswell’s office in Washington, D.C., where he learned the fast paced legislative process and useful skills to deal with it.
Matt continued his education at the University of Iowa, pursuing degrees in finance and political science. He was the captain for the prestigious University of Iowa mock trial team that won first place at the Wisconsin-Platteville Invitational Tournament. Following his junior year, Matt once again was hired for a highly competitive internship, this time in the Attorney General’s Office in the Iowa Department of Justice. Matt was responsible for various types of consumer complaints and was charged with researching laws and previous judgments.
Following his internship, Matt was hired to serve in the University of Iowa student government executive cabinet as the government relation liaison for the student body. His responsibilities included corresponding on student issues with state and federal elected officials and agencies. During this time, he also began to look into student debt and credit card marketing on school campuses. Some of the questions he raised led to an investigation by the Des Moines Register that uncovered the marketing agreements between Regent universities, alumni associations and credit card companies. The investigations caught the attention of state legislators and national leaders on student debt. Matt testified before the Joint Government Oversight Committee as to sources and consequences of debt and made recommendations on possible solutions. His efforts led to policy changes at the Regent universities.
Matt has also led efforts against an unpopular ballot initiative that would have cost an estimated 500 jobs and devastated local businesses in Iowa City. The committee Matt helped create led to the largest voter turnout in a municipal election in Iowa City’s history.