Government

Union organizer Royceann Porter seeks Democratic nomination for Johnson County supervisor

Special election to fill Kurt Friese's seat; nomination papers due Nov. 26

Mazahir Salih, new Iowa City council member, is introduced by Royceann Porter of Iowa City, who was among those organizing events in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., during a program at Grant Wood Elementary School in Iowa City on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. The MLK Alliance Group, a collaboration of Iowa City-area community groups, coordinated weekend events culminating in the unity march, service activities and town hall forum in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Mazahir Salih, new Iowa City council member, is introduced by Royceann Porter of Iowa City, who was among those organizing events in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., during a program at Grant Wood Elementary School in Iowa City on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. The MLK Alliance Group, a collaboration of Iowa City-area community groups, coordinated weekend events culminating in the unity march, service activities and town hall forum in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — A local community organizer is seeking the Democratic nomination for the open seat on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

Royceann Porter, 52-year-old union organizer for the Teamsters, has lived in the county for 27 years and served on a number of boards and committees, including the Iowa City Community Police Review Board and the Coalition for Racial Justice steering committee.

“Much of the work of the Board of Supervisors overlaps with the community work I’ve been doing,” Porter said. “I just think my unique experience will help the current board continue to move Johnson County forward in the right direction.”

A statutory committee made up of Johnson County elected officials voted 2-1 to hold a special election Dec. 18 to fill the seat of Supervisor Kurt Friese, who died suddenly last month. The other option was appointing someone to the seat.

The supervisor elected Dec. 18 will fill the remainder of Friese’s term, which lasts through 2020. The county’s major political parties will select nominees at upcoming meetings, which are not yet scheduled, and independent candidates must gather at least 250 signatures to get on the ballot. Nomination paperwork is due Nov. 26. Details are available on the Johnson County Auditor’s website, jcauditor.com.

Porter said she decided to run for supervisor because Friese was a friend of hers, even helping him cook food for the Johnson County Democrats’ fall barbecue events.

“Kurt has many times sat me down and we’ve had talks and we agreed on a lot of things as well. Kurt was a good person,” Porter said. “Just the thought that that seat had came open the way it did, I just said ‘I’m going to run.’”

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Porter said she’s supported the board’s efforts in raising the county’s minimum wage, supporting affordable housing and working to make the community safe for immigrants.

“A lot of people know me and I’ve been doing the work. I’ve been here long time,” Porter said. “While I’ve been here, I have not been sitting down.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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