Cathy Glasson, a union leader from Coralville, is exploring a run for governor in 2018, potentially joining a large field of Democratic candidates for the state’s highest office.

Glasson, 58, is president of SEIU Local 199, a North Liberty-based union representing nurses, health care workers and school support employees. She’s a registered nurse and previously worked in the intensive care unit at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

In a statement announcing the formation of the “exploratory” campaign, Glasson described herself as an advocate for working-class Iowans and said her candidacy would focus on raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, making it easier to organize labor unions and encouraging “universal” health care in the state.

“It’s time for bold, progressive leadership in the Governor’s office and the state legislature,” Glasson said in the statement. “Now is not the time to settle for half measures. We need big ideas and gutsy solutions to the problems working people in this state face every day.”

Glasson said she was inspired to run after this year’s legislative session, in which Republican majorities in the House and Senate passed bills limiting bargaining rights for public-sector employees and prohibiting local governments from raising minimum wages.

Already declared in the Democratic gubernatorial primary are state Sen. Nate Boulton, former Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire and state Rep. Todd Prichard.

Retired Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell and Davenport Alderman Mike Matson are also exploring runs, and Democratic activist Jon Neiderbach and Polk County Conservation Director Rich Leopold have announced candidacies as well.

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