Government

Longtime Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson announces retirement

John Stuelke, current Center Point City Council member, former mayor, will seek Democratic nomination

Brent Oleson

Linn County supervisor
Brent Oleson Linn County supervisor

Brent Oleson announced on Monday he will retire from the Linn County Board of Supervisors.

Oleson, who has served in his position since first being elected in 2008, said this year has provided him with a chance to reflect on what’s important to him and his family as he comes closer to the end of rearing his children, both of whom are in high school.

“This self-evaluation process has also allowed me to contemplate other meaningful opportunities in my career of public service and law,” Oleson said.

“In order to pursue those opportunities unencumbered, I will be submitting formal notice to the Linn County Auditor that I will not be a candidate for the upcoming 2020 election.”

A Democratic Convention of Linn County Supervisor District 3 will be called this month to select a candidate for the Nov. 3 ballot.

Oleson said Center Point City Council member and former mayor John Stuelke will seek the Democratic nomination. Stuelke recently retired after 37 years with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office as Chief Deputy to Sheriff Brian Gardner.

Louis Zumbach, state representative from Coggon, is running as a Republican.

Oleson represents district 3 in Linn County — Marion, Ely, Lisbon, Mount Vernon, Springville, Bertram, Waubeek, Whittier, Prairieburg, Coggon, Central City, Alburnett, Center Point, Walker, Troy Mills, Palo, Fairfax and Walford as well as most of the unincorporated rural area of Linn County.

The three Linn County Supervisors currently make $115,726 a year, after approving a pay raise early last year. The board decreased from five to three members after residents voted to reduce the number in 2016, partially in dissatisfaction over supervisors increasing their pay to over six-figures.

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Oleson said he plans to complete his current term, which will end this calendar year, and focus on future opportunities in his field that he said also will enhance the quality of time he has to rear his children.

“While I have five months remaining in my term, I must say that I am very proud of the previous 139 months of work that was accomplished in aggressively and effectively pursuing issues of importance and significance to the citizens of Linn County,” Oleson said.

During his time on the board, he has focused on issues relating to conservation, recreation, trails, parks, water quality, roads, transportation and other infrastructure needs. He said that has been due to his strong interest in the outdoors.

Oleson also has been involved by way of the Solid Waste Agency board, which has been tasked with determining how to extend the Marion landfill’s life or to find a new location after the landfill is scheduled to close in 2044.

Oleson also has served as a supervisor as the county continues to work on establishing a regional mental health access center, which is scheduled to open later this year.

The current supervisor has never been one to shy away from voicing his beliefs, once even attending a Cedar Rapids City Council meeting to participate in public comment, voicing his frustrations and accusing the council of making “backroom” decisions over a proposal to create a position dealing with youth gun violence in the area.

Oleson gave his final thanks and appreciation to the late State Sen. Mary Lundby of Marion, who had mentored him since he was selected as an Iowa Senate page as a teenager.

Oleson said that relationship continued though his college years, internships and during his time as an attorney and staff member of the Iowa Senate.

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“Mary Lundby remains the single most influential person in my adult life, eventually asking me to run for the Board of Supervisors from her hospital room while floods were ravaging downtown Cedar Rapids in the summer of 2008,” Oleson said. “I have tried my best to live up to her expectations that public servants always be straightforward and honest in their dealings .”

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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