(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa's lawmakers spent their Sunday going to bat for two charities, raising more than $27,000 by the end of the game.
The Inaugural Iowa Legislative Softball Charity Game put House and Senate Republicans and Democrats head-to-head, but with a shared goal in mind.
"We're gonna have fun today. The Democrats and Republicans, ya know, people don't realize we're friends. This is just going to be for fun, and raise money for the charities," says State Senator Brad Zaun.
House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst says the game is the lawmakers' first time spending time with each other outside of the State Capitol since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"During COVID, we didn't get to hang out very much with the Republicans, and we kept hearing that we needed to get out together [and] get to know each other as people," says Konfrst. "We just haven't had that chance, so this was really fun for us to hang out and get some friendly competition."
After a leading by 1 going into the last inning, the Iowa Republicans topped the Iowa Democrats in the charity softball game, 27-16.
"It was a big win for the Republicans, but more importantly, it was a fun time and we raised a lot of good money for charity, so overall, it was a very successful day," says Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver.
The Republican legislators represented the Puppy Jake Foundation and the Democrat lawmakers played for the Iowa Food Bank Association. At the end of the game, each organization was presented with a check for $13,654.70.
"That allows us to feed a lot of people," says Linda Gorkow, the Executive Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association. "What we'll end up doing after getting the funds is provide it to our food banks to purchase food for the communities, and we serve all 99 counties in Iowa."
House and Senate Republicans and Democrats both say the Inaugural Iowa Legislative Softball Charity Game will be the first of many.