Steve King is a US congressman representing Iowa’s 4th congressional district. King has come under fire repeatedly for his comments about immigrants. He has also taken heat for retweeting white nationalists like Lana Loktef, of the group Red Ice.
On January 9, Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra announced his plans to challenge King for his congressional seat. “Today, Iowa’s 4th District doesn’t have a voice in Washington, because our current representative’s caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table,” Feenstra said in a statement. “We don’t need any more sideshows or distractions, we need to start winning for Iowa’s families.”
King has described his childhood as safe and secure and “Norman Rockellian” — he says he wants the same kind of environment for his children. Here’s what you need to know about Steve King’s family:
1. He Married His High School Sweetheart, Marilyn Kelly
King grew up in the tiny town of Goddell, Iowa; the town is now a part of the 4th congressional district, which he represents. King has described Goddell as a “perfect” environment and says he has fond memories of hunting, football, and baseball. When he was in the sixth grade, his family moved to the larger town of Tenison. That’s where he met he met Marilyn Kelly, who was a year younger than him. The two started dating when King was a senior and she was a junior. They got married five years later, on June 17, 1972.
Steve grew up in the Methodist Church, while Marilyn is a Catholic. After 17 years of marriage, King converted to Catholicism. “I finally became a Catholic 13 or 14 years ago,” he said to a local journalist back in 2002. “I took me that long to be ready. A change like that is not something I took lightly. I had to feel it and believe it before I could do it.”
Marilyn, a kindergarten teacher, and Steve are both gun collectors and Steve has said that he’s much likelier to give Marilyn a gun as an anniversary present than to give her jewelry.
2. King & His Wife Marilyn Have Three Grown Sons
King and his wife Marilyn have three sons: David, Michael, and Jeff. David, the oldest son, took over his father’s construction company when Steve entered congress. The business is called King Construction Company, and specializes in building terraces and doing other land improvements.
King and Marilyn also have eight grandchildren.
3. King Employs His Son & Daughter-in-law as Year-Round Campaign Staffers
King’s youngest son, Jeff, is a member of King’s campaign staff; so is Jeff’s wife, Lindsay. But the two aren’t just working for King during campaign season; they’re on the payroll all year long. The Des Moines Register notes that over the years, Jeff King has brought in a salary of around $30,000 to more than $60,000; Jeff also receives occasional bonus payments. Lindsay King has held various jobs for the King campaign, including office assistant, office menage, and date entry clerk, and earns about $30,000 a year.
King told the Register that he feels lucky to have Jeff and Lindsay on his staff and that he feels he’s getting a bargain. “There’s no possible way that I could hire somebody off the street that could do what those two do, let alone have the family loyalty that goes along with it,” King said.
4. King’s Father Was the Mayor of Lakeside & Worked as a Police Dispatcher
King was born in Storm Lake, Iowa to Emmett and Mildred King. He had two brothers and two sisters; he has described his childhood as idyllic and totally lacking in any major troubles.
Emmett worked for Iowa’s state police radio system, eventually rising to become a manager. Because of his job, the family moved a few times during Steve’s childhood, although they always stayed in the state. Emmett also served as mayor of Lakeside. He passed away before his son joined the US Congress.
5. King Says He Traces His Ancestry to the Founders of the Republican Party
King has said that, on his mother’s side, the family has been in America since the colonial era. He says he can trace his mother’s ancestors back to include some of the founders of the Republican Party. He said, in 2002, that her family “had a blood relationship to some of the founders of the Republican Party. I’ve always been proud of the fact that John Whiting, my grandfather to like the fifth power, or something like that, was instrumental in the nomination of Abraham Lincoln. My mother’s family, going way back, were very conservative and they were strict abolitionists on the slavery issue.”