Fort Dodge, Iowa — Fort Dodge native Charles Clayton, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Athletes for Education and Success (AFES), announced today that he is running for the Iowa House in District 9, which includes Fort Dodge and part of Webster County. Clayton will be placed on the ballot in November after a special nomination convention of local Democrats on Thursday night.
“I’ve dedicated my life to helping kids in Fort Dodge and making our community a better place to live. I’m running for the Iowa House because it’s time for action – to create more opportunities for kids, to make sure no family has to choose between health care and paying the rent, to end social and racial inequalities that leave too many behind,” said Clayton. “I’ll be a public servant, not a politician.”
Launched in 2004, AFES is a non-profit organization in Fort Dodge that provides after school programs, sports teams, mentoring groups, drumline groups, education and cultural opportunities for kids and families. The goal is to teach kids to be leaders on and off the field while stressing the importance of education and living a positive lifestyle. The group has also stepped up to provide food and delivery services to at-risk households during the pandemic.
“As a young man growing up in Fort Dodge, I made some mistakes and started down the wrong path. I decided to turn my life around and I’m lucky that so many in our community like Jerry Patterson believed in me and gave me a second chance. Since that time, I’ve worked tirelessly to give back to my community and help keep kids out of trouble. I’m excited about the opportunity to serve our community in the Iowa House,” added Clayton.
After getting his AA in Criminal Justice from Iowa Central Community College, he worked as a teacher’s associate at Fort Dodge Middle School assisting kids with behavior disorders while earning his bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista University. Charles then worked at the Iowa State Police Association’s Rabiner Treatment Center and worked at the local youth shelter.
Beyond his non-profit, Charles has been an active member of the Fort Dodge community for decades. He has served on the Ft. Dodge Human Rights Commission and the local cultural diversity committee, the Iowa Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee, and the Iowa Commission on Status of African Americans. He is a member of the local NAACP and Masonic Temple in Fort Dodge.
Charles has three grown sons and one grandchild. He enjoys reading, coaching, sports, and spending time with his new grandchild.