Iowa is criticized every election cycle for its first-in-the nation status, but Iowa State University’s Karen Kedrowski says Iowans take their role seriously. Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State, says the caucuses were established as the lead-off contest in 1972 to comply with new party rules at the time. Iowa has since played an increasingly important role for candidates of both parties.

“Iowans are criticized for being majority white and not at all representative of the country demographically, but yet I think Iowans have a diversity of perspectives,” she said. “They work very hard not to think about who does what for Iowa, but how can they help chose the best person to lead the United States.”

Kedrowski says there is a chance that person will be a woman. She is available for interviews to discuss the history of the caucuses, presidential campaigns and gender issues in politics.