Giving people a voice in county government

I was born in the Oakhill Jackson neighborhood on the southeast side of Cedar Rapids. I was raised at first by a single teen mother, before going on to live with a single grandmother after my mother was murdered while visiting New York. Growing up in government subsidized housing, watching my grandmother struggle to make the ends meet, really shaped who I am today and how I view the role of government. I was not alone in my struggle, but rather, I was one of many.

It seemed like everyone in my neighborhood and everyone who looked like me was dealing with a similar set of problems. Most families in my neighborhood qualified for welfare benefits because they lived beneath the federally-defined poverty line. No one felt like they had a seat at the table. No one believed their voice mattered. I’m running for office because I know there are thousands of people in this county who need a voice. There are thousands of people in this county whose perspective has been missing when it comes to the decisions that impact their daily lives.

There are challenges ahead, but there are also opportunities. In this upcoming election, we have the chance to bring energy and a new perspective to the county board. We can push our board to play a greater role in the economic development of our cities and towns, while also expanding the social safety net for the most vulnerable in our society. We can help mitigate some of the problems associated with Governor Branstad’s move to privatize Medicaid. We can make a serious effort to reduce poverty in this county, which affects residents living in both rural and metropolitan communities.

And as we begin to rebuild from the second large-scale flood in just eight years, we have another opportunity to show the rest of the state what it means for local government to work together with residents in times of disaster. We can show them what it means to never give up. Despite what is happening at the national level, I believe our politics can bring out the best in us and that local government can bring about meaningful change.

The job of an elected official is to help as many people as possible and solve problems on behalf of their constituents. I’ve spent my entire life in service to others whether it was starting a non-profit organization to keep at-risk youth on track to graduate, or running summer camps for the children of deployed men and women on military bases across Europe. I’ve solved problems my entire life, helping jump-start America’s economy by working for a member on the President’s Council for Jobs & Competiveness or Co-Chairing the Safe, Equitable, and Thriving Communities Task Force.

I am answering my next call to service and I hope you’ll join me. I hope to earn your vote in November, and I look forward to the honor and privilege of serving as your next supervisor on the county board.

• More information:;; Twitter: @Swalker06



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