Taylor resignation opens Cedar Rapids House seat

Dick Taylor, D- Cedar Rapids
Dick Taylor, D- Cedar Rapids

It may be a legacy battle to determine who will succeed Rep. Dick Taylor, D- Cedar Rapids, who has resigned his House 33 seat in the Iowa Legislature.

Two possible candidates being mentioned in the Democratic stronghold have impressive credentials in the party and family ties that could prove to be helpful.

Kirsten Running-Marquard, is the daughter of former west-side lawmaker Rep. Rich Running, has been active in numerous campaigns and works in 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack’s Cedar Rapids office. Norm Sterzenbach is a longtime party activist and union lobbyist. His son, Norm, is the current Iowa Democratic Party executive director.

Taylor, 78, announced his retirement Monday after nearly 10 years in the Iowa Legislature. First elected in January 2000 to replace current Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran, he was re-elected five times for the House 33 seat that covers Precincts 1-11 in southeast and southwest Cedar Rapids.

He had been planning to stand for re-election in 2010, but family health concerns changed those plans, Taylor said.

Gov. Chet Culver has five days to set a date for special election. By law, it must be within 120 days of Taylor’s resignation.

The battle for the Democratic nomination could be settled at the next meeting of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee. It’s scheduled for Oct. 28.

Each precinct has two representatives on the Central Committee, but a number of vacancies exist. Based on a roster on the Linn County Democrats’ Web site, nine of the 22 positions are open.

“The contenders will try to fill those seats,” County Chairwoman

Diane Hoffmann of

Mount Vernon said.

“The next Central Committee meeting could be an important one, if it’s before the deadline for nominations.”

House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, and Linn County GOP Chairman Tim Palmer of Cedar Rapids said they expect to field a candidate, but conceded voter registrations in the district heavily favor Democrats. Taylor won re-election with nearly 70 percent of the vote in 2008.

Taylor is stepping away from the Legislature sooner than he had planned, he said, “but

I won’t quit politics.”

Taylor hinted he may

get involved in city politics.

“We’ve done a lot of good for this district,” Taylor said about his time in the Legislature. “From raising the minimum wage to expanded preschool to health care for every Iowa child, I’m proud of my service in the House helping middle class families.”

Taylor and his wife of 54 years, Jan, have lived in Cedar Rapids for 49 years. Their son, Linn County Deputy Sheriff Mark Taylor, died after suffering a heart attack and crashing his patrol car in July.

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