I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Western Iowa, but Johnson County is my home. It has been my home for more than 40 years. I raised my daughters, Lindsey and Ariel, here. I spent my entire 36-year professional career in Johnson County working at Oaknoll Retirement Residence, serving as its executive director for 21 years before retiring in September 2016.
My passion for public service really comes from my mom, Eileen Heiden. She served as a Democrat on the Crawford County Board of Supervisors. To date, she is the only woman elected to that county board and was one of the first women in Iowa to chair such a board. In 1996, mom ran unsuccessfully against Steve King in his first election for a seat in the Iowa Senate. Although she passed away in December at the age of 88, she continues to be my guiding light and inspiration.
So what can I bring to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors? I am a strong and experienced leader. I know our county is served best through collaboration with all of our urban and rural partners. I will facilitate cooperation, compromise and common sense. I will provide strong fiscal management and prudent use of resources. I will encourage open and honest discussion. I will treat county staff with respect, and support professional development, mentoring and leadership opportunities.
There are many issues facing Johnson County. Three that I am most passionate about include:
Services to the elderly — One of the fastest growing segments of the population in Johnson County is the elderly. I have spent my entire professional career and a lifetime of community service in the cause of the elderly. I understand the challenges and needs, and bring valuable expertise and experience.
Mental health care delivery — All of us have been touched in some way by mental illness, including my family. We must ensure that care and services are available, accessible and affordable throughout the county.
Land stewardship — One of our greatest responsibilities is management of our natural resources. I want to make sure we reach out widely and listen carefully as we set priorities.
Most important, I will be a strong, compassionate and effective voice who will give all the people of Johnson County a seat at the table.
• Pat Heiden is a Democratic candidate for Johnson County Supervisor
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