Representative Berry, 48, was born and raised in Waterloo, IA. She is the daughter of Johnnie and Barbara Berry, and has one son, Roshawn.
Representative Berry graduated from Central High School in Waterloo. She earned a Bachelors of Arts from Upper Iowa University and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Mass Communications at the University of Iowa.
Representative Berry is a Corporate Fundraising Director at KBBG-FM Public Radio in Waterloo and is adjunct instructor at Hawkeye Community College. She was previously employed at the Waterloo Community Schools as Education Site Coordinator. Her governmental experience began in Administration with Black Hawk County. She was later ran for public office and was elected to the Waterloo City Council in 2000, where she demonstrated an independent thinker who voter her conscience.
As a champion of youth, education issues rate high for Representative Berry. She is especially concerned with increasing the proficiency levels of disadvantaged students in urban areas and Iowa alike, and advocates for more funding for education both locally and nationally. She encourages schools to become community education learning centers, where after-school academic and enrichment programs will assist at-risk students to increase their academic achievement levels. Moreover, Rep. Berry is particularly concerned with protecting children against abuse and neglect.
Economic development is also a priority for Deborah. She wants to give more support to small business in the state and encourage technologically advanced companies to invest in urban communities in Iowa.
Representative Berry has always demonstrated commitment to her community. She is serves as board member to several community organizations and is the first African American woman to have membership of the Waterloo Elks Lodge. Other associations include the Iowa Community Education Association and the NAACP.
In recognition of her tireless efforts, Rep. Berry has been given several community recognitions. In 2006, she was awarded the Wheaton Fransiscan Speaking of Woman’s Health “Friend for Life” award; 2004 KBBG-FM “Citizen of Year”, 2003 “National Trio Achievers” award, 2001 NAACP “President’s Award” and the “Human Services” ward by the Black Hawk County Chapter of Social Workers. In 2003 she received the Sisters on Target “Outstanding Leadership” award, and most recently, the acknowledged by Sisters on Target 2007 Acknowledgment of Minority Legislators in the Iowa House.