Amber Gustafson (pronounced gus-taff-sun) is the former Iowa Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. In 2018 as a first-time candidate, she ran against the incumbent, NRA-backed Republican Iowa Senate Majority Leader and came within 3 points (1000 votes) of winning in a district with a slight Republican registration advantage. Her opponent had run twice before unopposed.
Amber was born on a farm in southern Iowa in 1976. By 1980, her family had lost everything due to the Farm Crisis of the 1980’s, the largest agricultural financial downturn since the Great Depression. With the help of some outstanding state and federal programs, including the Christina Hixson Opportunity Award, Amber was able to rise out of poverty and go on to become the first person in her family to attend and graduate from a 4 year university. In 2000, she went to work for the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she worked until 2003 when she left the workforce to become a full-time stay at home mom.
In December 2012, her life took yet another dramatic turn when 20 children and 6 educators were gunned down in a suburban school much like the one her children attended. A farm girl at heart, who had grown up around guns and who had been a Republican until 2008, she knew she had a responsibility to come to the table and begin a conversation about ways to bring an end to gun violence in our nation. She joined Moms Demand Action in June of 2013 and served in many capacities including Chapter Leader from 2016-2017. Under her direction, the Iowa Chapter developed a highly successful rural outreach strategy that allowed Moms Demand Action to stop the portions of the 2017 Gun Omnibus Bill that would have eliminated Iowa’s handgun permitting system and pushed guns on to college campuses, and into hospitals and other public buildings. Her successful program has since been replicated by numerous other state chapters and used to beat bad gun bills in other states.
Amber lives on 5 acres outside Ankeny, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines with her husband, three children, cat and dog. She loves gardening, cooking, cycling, camping, yoga, reading and Jeep rides.
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