Marti Nerenstone is a 30 year resident of Council Bluffs. The oldest of three siblings, she lived in many places around the country as a child. She graduated from public high school in Washington, DC in 1972. Marti earned her BA degree from Oberlin College in three years, in 1975, spending her first and third years at Oberlin, and her second year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
Marti is a veteran of the United States Army, enlisting after graduating from Oberlin. While in the Army, during which time she became an Iowa resident, she served duty stations in Washington, DC and in Fuerth, Germany, earning two Army Commendation Medals. After her enlistment was up, Marti used her GI Bill benefits to attend law school at the University of Iowa.
She enrolled in the accelerated program and earned her JD degree in 1982. Marti’s legal career has always emphasized the rights of children and adults who may not otherwise have access to legal representation, both during her 21 years as a Legal Aid attorney, as well as her 10 ½ years as a sole practitioner. Marti’s legal experience spans a wide variety of areas, including juvenile law, education issues, Medicaid, Medicare, nursing home law, disability, mental health, domestic abuse, housing and criminal defense. She has spoken on many legal topics to numerous community organizations.
Marti has held professional leadership positions and has received numerous awards. She has served as the president of the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys, and in 2011, she became the second woman president of the Pottawattamie County Bar Association. In 2003 she received both the Arlene Steege Award from the Pottawattamie County Human Service Advisory Committee, as well as a community service award from the Iowa State Bar Association. In 2005, she was the first recipient of the Iowa State Bar Association’s annual Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award, “for committing her talent and training to improving the quality of justice and for enhancing the human dignity of others by delivering pro bono legal services.”
Marti has also been very involved in community activities. She was a volunteer radio host on KIOS-FM, Omaha for 18 years. She visited hospitals and nursing homes with her therapy dog – her first rescue golden retriever – and received awards in 2001 and 2002 from the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association’s Iowa Animal Hall of Fame. She has been a lay leader for several congregations since 1988. She was awarded the Parsow Volunteer of the Year Award individually in 2003 from Jewish Social Services/Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, and then again in 2009, as one of the group of service leaders. She worked on a house building project on a Volunteers in Mission trip in 2002 to Baldwin, Louisiana, with members of Broadway United Methodist church, and helped fill sandbags in Council Bluffs during the 2011 Missouri River flooding event..
Marti’s other passions are her animals, her vegetable garden and her music. She often incorporates those passions into additional community activities. In addition to her previous therapy dog activity, Marti plays her banjo with a band at an annual barn dance benefit for Habitat for Humanity, she has assisted with a church’s community gardening project, and she recently performed with her string band for a Council Bluffs food and clothing pantry fundraiser. Marti and her spouse, Ann Carpenter, have been together for 26 years. They live on their acreage with their horse and their third rescue golden retriever.
House District 16 includes Council Bluffs