Pat Heiden of Iowa City filed to run for election to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.
“Johnson County is an exceptional place to live and work,” Heiden said in a press release. “I know our neighbors are best served when we facilitate partnerships, when we collaborate to solve problems, and when all communities and citizens believe they will be heard with respect. I’m running because I know we can do better, and I want to be a part of that effort.”
When the filing period for the June 5 Democratic primary closed yesterday, three candidates had filed for two seats, Heiden and incumbents Mike Carberry and Janelle Rettig.
This is Heiden’s second attempt at election to the board of supervisors, placing fourth in a field of six for three seats during the June 7, 2016 Democratic primary.
“I realized I just wasn’t ready the first time,” she wrote in an email. “I was serious about the race and so were my supporters, but juggling the end of my career at Oaknoll and trying to run for the first time was just too much. This time, I’ve got the time and focus to do it right.”
Heiden announced her second campaign for county supervisor Oct. 3, 2017 and has been organizing ever since. She reached out to mayors and community leaders in the county, and introduced herself at council meetings. She met with voters throughout the county — individually, and in small groups, coffees and listening posts. She attended every board of supervisors meeting and work session in person to get a deeper understanding of both the issues, and the dynamics of decision-making and process.
At the February precinct caucuses, when no one responded when the caucus chair asked for a second person to serve on the Johnson County Democrats central committee, Heiden looked around and said, “why not?”
“I raised my hand and they voted for me,” she said.
Heiden engaged in central committee activities and attended last Saturday’s Johnson County Democrats county convention where she made an impassioned speech to delegates explaining her campaign.
Heiden has lived in Johnson County more than 40 years, and has been involved in numerous community organizations. She served as Executive Director of Oaknoll Retirement Residence for more than 20 years, retiring in September 2016. She expects to bring her skills and experience to the board of supervisors. In order to gain a county-wide perspective, her campaign steering committee includes representatives from all 11 cities in Johnson County.
Key to her appeal is offering a fresh look at county activities. Few issues that come before the board are more complicated and contentious than the land use plan with its intersection between natural resources, agriculture and community development. Heiden is engaged in the board’s decision-making process regarding land use and is hearing feedback on the plan throughout the county.
“When we ask community members to volunteer their expertise and time,” Heiden said, “their recommendations have to be received, if not incorporated, in some meaningful way.”
When she filed her petitions, Heiden had garnered 422 signatures from all parts of Johnson County. She plans to be a candidate for all Johnson County.
Editor’s Note: The author has endorsed Janelle Rettig for Johnson County Supervisor in the June 5 primary.