116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Breanna Oxley announced Saturday she won’t run for a state Senate seat — where she would have faced a fellow Democrat — and instead will run for a Linn County supervisor position coming open.
Supervisor Stacey Walker announced earlier this week that he would not be running for re-election in 2022, leaving an open race for the District 1 seat. No one else has yet announced for the seat, which pays $119,198 a year and represents a majority of Cedar Rapids, including downtown and the south side.
Oxley, 30, a social studies teacher at Roosevelt Middle School, is the granddaughter of Jean Oxley, the first woman elected as a Linn County supervisor and the longest-serving member of the board.
The county’s administrative building, the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center, where the Board of Supervisors work and meet, was named in her honor in 2010. Jean Oxley died in March 2020.
“I’m excited for this,” Oxley told The Gazette. “I truly never thought this was going to be something I would be able to do: follow in my grandma’s footsteps as a supervisor, as a woman, as someone who wants to help the youth in our community. I look forward to continuing her legacy.”
Until now, Oxley was running for the open District 33 state Senate seat being left by longtime Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg. Oxley would have faced state Rep. Liz Bennett in vying for the seat. But now they will support each other in their respective races, she said.
“I’ve had some calls and Liz and I talked as well this week and it all feels just right,” Oxley said. “It’s an easy decision. Folks kept bringing up that my name is on the building so I should think about this. Jean was a teacher, too.”
Oxley said that while growing up in Western Iowa, she treasured the time with her grandmother. When she moved to Eastern Iowa, she got to spend even more time with her.
“We would always read together or go out to eat,” Oxley said. “If there was some sort of political event on TV, we would make a special night of it and she had chocolate because she always said that kept her going.”
Oxley said she wants to carry on her grandmother’s legacy and become a champion for education and workforce development at the county level.
“We need to look at our community needs and how we support education,” she said. “Education and mental health needs are extremely important.”
Oxley said if elected, she would focus on building partnerships between the county and all of the school districts in the county, urban and rural, and find a way to provide mental health services in schools.
“I graduated from Springville. I know rural areas really well,” she said. “Getting mental health services into our schools cuts down on barriers to access with transportation and just navigating the health system. I’d like to see this expanded across the county. If I’m a county supervisor, I’m looking at everyone even though my district is mostly in Cedar Rapids.”
If elected, Oxley would become the first woman on the board since former Supervisor Linda Langston stepped down in 2016.
“I’m very excited that Bre has chosen to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps,” Langston said. “I am particularly gratified that there is a woman running to be on the board. Jean Oxley was a great mentor to me and I am so pleased to return the favor by mentoring Bre in her efforts.”
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