CEDAR RAPIDS — With close to twice as many votes as his District 2 competitor, Stacey Walker made history Tuesday night when he was the first African American elected to the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
“We’re obviously very excited with the outcome of this election,” the 28-year-old Democrat from Cedar Rapids said. “Linn County was organized 177 years ago and this is the first time young African American kids, growing up in the neighborhoods I grew up in, will be able to see an image of themselves reflected on their county board of government.”
Official election results will be finalized when votes are canvassed in about one week.
Walker won the District 2 seat — being temporarily held by appointed Supervisor Amy Johnson — with 12,563 votes.
His GOP challenger, Adam Jensen, secured 7,490 votes.
Walker is co-chairman of the Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities Task Force, while Jensen is a materials supervisor for Kraft Heinz.
District 2 covers much of southern Cedar Rapids, along with College Township.
Johnson was appointed to fill the seat left vacant when Democrat Linda Langston resigned this spring for another job.
In addition to Walker, Democrat incumbents Ben Rogers and Brent Oleson held onto their respective District 3 and District 4 seats.
Rogers, who received 11,670 votes, defeated Republican challenger Tim Gull, who brought in 9,114 votes.
Rogers has served on the board since 2008, while Gull owns Metro Transmission and Auto Repair.
District 3 covers much of northern Cedar Rapids.
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“It’s really a thrill that my constituents have the trust in me to serve another term, whether that’s for two years or four,” Rogers said, alluding to another vote that night.
A separate item on Tuesday’s ballot to reduce the county board from five supervisors to three passed with 49,909 votes in favor of reducing the size of the board, to 47,615 votes opposed.
So the future is murky for all five supervisors, including Republican John Harris and Democrat Jim Houser, who also sit on the board but were not up election this cycle.
Oleson, who beat challenger Randy Ray, a Washington High School teacher, with 12,277 votes 11,295 votes, also bemoaned the vote to reduce the board to three supervisors.
Oleson was first elected in 2008 to serve on one the board’s then-newly created districts.
“I’m happy about being re-elected to the board of supervisors,” Oleson said. “I’m disappointed that we’re going to go to three supervisors. ... I think rural Linn County is going to get shut out.”
District 4 includes Marion, but also the Bertram and Maine townships.
Linn County supervisors oversee a number of duties including budgeting for the county, providing health and social services and addressing land use planning, roads and zoning issues.
Supervisors serve a four-year term and earn a little more than $100,000 a year, along with the county Auditor, Recorder and Treasurer.