CEDAR RAPIDS — A Horizons executive is seeking to become the first black woman to serve on the Cedar Rapids City Council.
Sofia Mehaffey, who describes herself as a nonprofit professional and activist, announced Monday she is vying for the District 2 seat on the council, which includes parts of the southeast and northeast quadrants and is currently held by Scott Overland. The four-year term begins in January 2020.
“It is my hope to inspire meaningful conversations and explore new solutions to the problems the people of Cedar Rapids face,” Mehaffey said in a news release. “We need real solutions to the affordable housing crisis, we need an infrastructure that is built to last — one that works for all people — and we need to have bold conversations about our future.”
Dale Todd, who served as the council’s parks commissioner from 1998-2002 and was elected again to the City Council in 2017, is the only other black person to serve on the council.
Mehaffey, who earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Iowa and her master’s of business administration from Mount Mercy University, is director of community health and nutrition for social services organization Horizons, A Family Service Alliance in Cedar Rapids. She is also a board member for the Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success, Family Promise and NewBo City Market, and serves on the Heritage Senior Advocacy Committee, Linn County Food Systems Council and the Cedar Rapids Well-being Advisory Committee.
Mehaffey announced endorsements from several Democratic politicians including State Reps. Liz Bennett, Kirsten Running-Marquardt and Art Staed, and Linn County Supervisors Stacey Walker, Ben Rogers and Brent Oleson. Libby Slappey will serve as campaign chairwoman, Mehaffey said.
Overland, who is serving his first term as the District 2 council member, has not declared whether he will seek a second term. The filing period to run is Aug. 26 to Sept. 19. Voter preregistration deadline is Oct. 25, and the election will be Nov. 5.
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In Cedar Rapids, candidates must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to win without a runoff. The part-time council position pays $18,391 annually.
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