CEDAR RAPIDS — While they won’t face off until the November election, the Linn County treasurer’s race will pit two friends and co-workers against each other.
Both candidates say they hope to see improvements in efficiencies and customer service at the county office.
Following the Wednesday candidate filing deadline for county elections, Treasurer Sharon Gonzalez, a Democrat who is seeking another four-year term, has been challenged by a former employee, Denise Sotelo Westerhoff, a Republican.
Sotelo Westerhoff, 59, has worked part time at the Benton County Treasurer’s Office for a few years since retiring from the Linn County office in 2015. She spent nearly 35 years with Linn County as a senior accountant and senior title clerk.
Sotelo Westerhoff said she would like to bring her experience with the county department and her outsider perspective to the Treasurer’s Office.
“Sharon does a wonderful job. It’s just that since I’ve worked in Benton County, I have a different perspective on how things can work,” she said. “I would just like to make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Gonzalez has been with the county office since 1979 and has been county treasurer since 2010.
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Gonzalez said the office has been enhancing efficiencies and had plans for additional changes to make the experience of paying taxes or registering a vehicle easier for residents.
Gonzalez said it will be interesting running against someone she knows so well but said she feels she has more experience leading a department.
“In my opinion, I feel I have more leadership skills,” she said. “I feel that I’m a team plater. I’ll stand my ground when I have to, but I think it’s important that we all work together for the same goal.”
In other county races, County Recorder Joan McCalmant and County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden — both Democrats — are running unopposed in the June primary and, so far, in the general election.
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