Two years ago, Linn County voters opted to shrink the Board of Supervisors from five members to three.
As one supervisor joked afterward, the vote put five current board members on “Survivor Island,” facing the prospect of being voted off. Or maybe a high-stakes game of musical chairs.
Less amusing is what’s being lost as voters elect supervisors this fall to the smaller board. No matter who stays or goes, the board will lose experience and expertise on important issues. Rural areas of the county will have less representation on the board, and supervisors from Cedar Rapids may win a majority. Collaboration will be more difficult, given that a gathering of just two supervisors now will constitute a meeting subject to open meetings law.
These factors have made weighing our choices to fill these seats more difficult, as we’ve tried to balance the value of experience with need for new approaches.
With the county facing big issues from mental health needs to environmental protection and collaborating with Cedar Rapids on flood protection, which mix of talents and experience is best?
In District 1, Supervisor Stacey Walker, a Democrat, faces Supervisor Jim Houser, who is nominated by petition after losing to Walker in the June primary.
In District 2, Supervisor Ben Rogers is challenged by Auditor Joel Miller, who was nominated by petition.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!
You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.
In District 3, Supervisor John Harris, a Republican, faces Supervisor Brent Oleson, a Democrat.
Visit our 2018 Endorsements page to view video of editorial board meetings with the candidates as well as to read their guest columns.