Elesha is in her second term in the House of Representatives and is Assistant Majority Leader. She also serves on the Agriculture, Appropriations and Environmental Protection Committees and is Vice Chair of Administration and Rules Committee.
Born and raised in Davenport, Elesha Gayman graduated from Davenport West High School where she served on the Davenport youth city council and in student government. Among other things, she was involved in tennis, dance, swimming, debate and even founded the West High School environmental club.
Elesha attended St. Ambrose University her freshman year working with Senator Pat Deluhery during an internship in the Iowa Senate. Elesha spent the first semester of her sophomore year at Loyola University’s Rome Center in Italy. Upon return to the states she transferred to the University of Iowa and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. While at Iowa Elesha was involved in the college Democrats and participated in Synchronized Swimming while working numerous part-time jobs, including doing extensive volunteer work with the American Red Cross in the Quad Cites and Grant Wood chapters.
Since college Elesha has been busy serving the community in the non-profit sector as a grant writer and fundraiser and enjoys volunteering her time to numerous organizations. In 2004, she was elected to represent Iowa at the Democratic National Convention and later worked for John Kerry during the last months of the election. In 2005, she served as a clerk for the Iowa Senate. She has had the opportunity to serve various organizations in employment such as; Girl Scouts, YMCA, the American Red Cross, and the Safer Foundation.
In 2005, Elesha was nominated to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service. Elesha completed her Masters of Public Administration degree through Drake University at the Quad City Graduate Center in 2007. Currently she serves on the board for the Safer Foundation and holds memberships with AAUW.
Elesha won her seat in Iowa House District 84 in November of 2006. She won by a margin of 266 votes beating a two term incumbent in an evenly split district. She is currently serving her second two-year term in the Iowa House and is the youngest woman currently holding office in Iowa. Her first piece of legislation to become law was the Generation Iowa Commission. The Commission empowers young people throughout Iowa to curb “Brain Drain” and keep young professionals in the state. More information about the commission and their work is available on their website at www.generationiowa.com.
In addition to her work in the Iowa House she serves as vice chair of Health and Human Services Committee on the National Council of State Legislatures. She worked as the Eastern Iowa Political Director for President Barack Obama’s Presidential Caucus Campaign and continues to do free lance political consulting work.
In 2008 she traveled with the American Coalition of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) to Israel and the West Bank on behalf of the U.S. State Department. Later in the year she volunteered with the Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS) and traveled to Africa to work with women running for public office in Nigeria.
In addition to politics, Elesha enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading a good book, working on various art projects, and traveling.