Dennis Cohoon is serving his 18th term in the Iowa House. He is ranking member of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee and also serves on Transportation, State Government, and Natural Resources Committees.
Dennis was born March 29, 1953 in Burlington, the son of Meril and Marie Cohoon. His father was a railroad worker for the Burlington Northern, and his mother was a homemaker. Dennis has two sisters, Judy and Sally, who both live in Burlington.
Dennis is a lifelong Burlington resident. He attended Burlington High School where he ran track and graduated in 1971. He then attended Southeastern Community College, earning an associate’s degree in 1974 in business. From 1973-79, Dennis served in the Iowa Army National Guard, assigned to the 224th Engineer Battalion based in Burlington.
He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and business education and minors in special education and psychology. He has done graduate work in special education at the University of Iowa.
In 1978, he began teaching in the Burlington school district. He retired in 2010 after 32 years as a special education teacher at Burlington High School, where he worked with mentally disabled teenagers who needed a specialized curriculum.
Dennis and his wife, Sue, were married in 1998. Sue tutors students at Southeastern Community College. They have three stepchildren, one deceased stepson, and seven grandchildren.
He became interested in politics during the Kennedy-Nixon Presidential race in 1960 and worked in several local races before running himself.
He has represented Iowa House Democrats on the Education Commission of States, which brings together education leaders from each state to meet and discuss education policy in their state, then share their discussions with leaders from across the nation.
Dennis is a past member of the Burlington Education Association, the Geode Education Association, and the Iowa State Education Association. He is a member of the Des Moines County Democratic Central Committee. He attends the First Christian Church.
Dennis has a substantial collection of Presidential memorabilia, including buttons, stamps, cards, and busts, which he has been collecting since he was seven years old. He is also a sports fan, especially of Hawkeye basketball and New York Yankees baseball.