116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Running-Marquardt wants to be ‘fighter’
Former legislator is the newest Linn County supervisor
CEDAR RAPIDS — The neighborhood around the Jean Oxley Public Services Building in southwest Cedar Rapids is very familiar to new Linn County Supervisor Kirsten Running-Marquardt.
Running-Marquardt, 45, spent a lot of time just a block over at her grandparent’s house while she was growing up.
But now, after serving in the Iowa Capitol building as a Democratic state legislator for over a decade, Running-Marquardt will see her grandparent’s old home every day as she pulls into work as a county supervisor. Her grandparents, Bill and Delores McDowell, both worked at the old Penick & Ford factory, now Ingredion, located just a block away toward the Cedar River.
Running-Marquardt won November’s election to represent the county’s District 1, which includes west Cedar Rapids, Fairfax, Walford and Ely. She takes over after former supervisor Stacey Walker announced last year he was not run for re-election. Like other Linn County supervisors, she’ll be paid $124,967 annually.
“I’m excited that the west side of Cedar Rapids and the county has a fighter,” Running-Marquardt said. “Somebody at the county Board of Supervisors that’s there for them and puts them first.”
Running-Marquardt was born and raised on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids, graduating from LaSalle High School before she attended Kirkwood Community College and earned her undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Iowa and a master's degree in public policy from the University of Northern Iowa. In college, she worked for various political campaigns, including the Al Gore presidential campaign in 2000.
Running-Marquardt’s husband, Coy Marquardt, was a teacher and now works for Iowa State Education Association. The couple also has a teenage son, Jack.
Her parents, Joan and Richard Running, still live close by in Cedar Rapids. Her mother was a nurse for decades and her father also served as a legislator when Running-Marquardt was a child.
“Both of my parents modeled the behavior of serving others,” Running-Marquardt said. “My mom had a charm and sense of humor while doing her work for people and my father really went above and beyond, trying to make government work for people. That was something I saw and wanted to be a part of.”
In the Iowa Legislature, Running-Marquardt was the ranking member of the House Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. She also has worked on local projects through collaboration and legislation, including the local amphitheater, Czech Village, Ellis Harbor and Hawkeye Downs.
She also has worked on strengthening public health, no-shame lunch protections for students and allowing epi-pen usage at schools and distribution for school nurses.
Outside of the Legislature, Running-Marquardt has served as a board member of the Iowa Small Business Development Centers, Iowa Workforce Development and The History Center of Linn County. In the past, she worked as the director of Iowa for Health Care and worked for the former Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack.
Now, Running-Marquardt is looking to be a voice in the county, focused on workforce development. She said she also is ready to get involved in the pipeline issues that the county is facing with the Wolf Carbon Solutions hazardous material pipeline for carbon dioxide sequestration planned to come through the county.
“This is one of the top issues that I want to be involved in moving forward here at the county,” she said. “When the Navigator pipeline was mapped out, it was going to go wrap around my child’s school and I was very concerned for the children of the school. I had the rage of a mama bear because my child and many children I care about were going to be impacted and my concern was for their safety.”
The route of the Navigator Heartland Greenway pipeline changed earlier this year to drop the Linn County leg. But a CO2 pipeline proposed by Wolf would connect ADM plants, including the one in Cedar Rapids.
The newest supervisor joins former Republican legislator colleague Louie Zumbach, who is this year’s chair of the board. The two have worked together in the past as local Iowa House members.
“We are good friends and we will remain that way regardless of how we vote,” Zumbach said of Running-Marquardt. “That’s the way it ought to be. The three of us won’t agree on everything. We know that. But it won’t be a preconceived 2-1 vote going into any issue. I’m looking forward to that.”
Zumbach said Running-Marquardt brings a “wealth of information from the Capitol” with her to the county table.
“Way more than I did because she was there a lot longer. For these past couple of years, I was often the bridge between the county and state. It helps knowing how to bring people together in those areas to fix issues. I think she’s even better at that and I look forward to having her around,” Zumbach said.
Supervisor Ben Rogers said he and Running-Marquardt both got elected to public office at about the same time.
“She certainly helped Linn County out after the flood and continued to do so when her and Louie were both in the Legislature,” Rogers said. “Now these two are on the same board together and I think these dynamics will go together really well. She brings passion and energy to workforce issues and she understands the importance the county plays in providing the social services we do.”
Running-Marquardt said she’s just ready to dive in.
“I’m excited to work with Ben and Louie and build on the success Ben has had with mental health services,” she said. “I think we have a board with a unique opportunity to serve all people. I think we have big opportunities to work with the city of Cedar Rapids in a positive working environment as well as all of our communities. These types of partnerships make our entire county stronger and those are the areas that I have a track record on.”
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