Long-term Linn County Supervisor Houser seeks another term

CEDAR RAPIDS — With more than two decades of experience under his belt as a Linn County Supervisor, James Houser is seeking another term.

Houser, 63, announced Friday his candidacy for the District 1 seat on the Linn County Board of Supervisors. He will face fellow Democrat Supervisor Stacey Walker in the June primary.

Houser listed in the release a number of recent accomplishments as a Linn County Supervisor, including fighting for union workers and their collective bargaining rights, planning the Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris Public Health and Child and Youth Development Services building and voting to raise the local minimum wage.

A goal his current term includes creating a local task force geared toward addressing opioid overdoses and related deaths in the county, according to the release.

“Houser’s commitment to improving the lives of Linn County resident’s is why he is seeking re-election to a seventh term as Linn County Supervisor,” a Friday news release states.

In his seven terms, Houser has spend time as board liaison to every county department, according to the release.

In the 2008 and 2016 flood events, Houser was involved in county efforts to protect infrastructure and. After the 2008 flood, Houser was among those who worked to rebuild and reopen county facilities including the Linn County Courthouse, Jail, Sheriff’s Office, Juvenile Justice Center, Community Services Building and the Jean Oxley Public Service Center.

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A native of Cedar Rapids, Houser is a member of many local groups and organizations including St. Jude’s Catholic Church, Sheet Metal Local 263, and a 31-year member of the Antique Automobile Club of America — Cedar Rapids Region. He has served 38 years as a Linn County reserve Deputy Sheriff and is a 15-year member of the United States Selective Service Board.

Houser was first appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in 1990. He was then elected to four consecutive four-year terms until 2008, when he was elected to a two-year term — to start the staggered supervisor terms following that year’s shift to a five-member board.

Following a narrow loss to Republican Supervisor John Harris in the 2010 election, Houser was elected again in 2014.

In this year’s primary, Houser will face Walker, who was first elected to the board two years ago and earlier this week announced his plans to seek re-election. The victor will go on to the November election.

The Linn County Board of Supervisors will shrink from five members to three next year, following a 2016 public vote. With that, all seats are up for vote this year.

In addition to Walker and Houser, Supervisors Harris and Brent Oleson may be competing for a seat on the board in District 3, as might supervisor Ben Rogers and potential candidate and current Linn County Auditor Joel Miller in District 2 — if everyone runs for re-election this fall.

Earlier this year in a blind drawing, District 1 and District 2 were selected for four-year terms and District 3 will see a two-year term. The District 3 vote in 2020 will be for a standard four-year term. The end result will maintain the county’s staggered term limits for supervisors after the 2018 election.

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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