Meet Our Members – Peter Cownie


Representative Peter Cownie just finished serving his fourth term in the Iowa House.  He represents Iowa’s 42nd District, which includes West Des Moines.

Rep. Cownie is the Chairman of the Commerce committee, and also serves on the Agriculture, and Ways & Means committees.

Peter was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from Dow,ling High School in West Des Moines in 1999 and went on to graduate from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2003 after receiving his B.A. in American Government.

Peter began his service to Iowans at the Iowa Statehouse for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus staff. Peter was a legislative analyst staffing the State Government and Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee. While working at the Iowa Statehouse, Peter received his Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Policy from Drake University and graduated with honors.

Peter served as President of Junior Achievement of Central Iowa from 2008-2013. Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization located in Des Moines with a mission of teaching students K-12 the merits of entrepreneurship, financial literacy, savings and economics.

Currently, Peter is the Executive Director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, and has been in this capacity since August of 2013. The Blue Ribbon Foundation is a nonprofit organization raising funds to help preserve and improve the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Peter volunteers and serves his community as Director and past Chair of the West Des Moines Community Enrichment Foundation, Meals from the Heartland Board of Directors, the Dowling Catholic High School Foundation Board, Director of the First Tee of Greater Des Moines, and the Board of Trustees for Grandview University, as well as a past member of the West Des Moines Human Services Board and the University of Virginia Excellence in Economics Campaign Committee.

Peter has received recognition as the 2015 Legislator of the Year by the Iowa Restaurant Association, the 2015-2015 “Spirit of Community Champion” by the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and was a recipient of the 2016 Des Moines Business Record’s “40 under 40” award.

Peter is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines and is married to his high school sweetheart, Mary. Peter and Mary have two sons.

To contact Peter, you can email him at