“Why I won’t seek appointment to the Linn County Board of Supervisors”

Stacey submitted the following column to the Cedar Rapids Gazette to explain his decision regarding the appointment process underway to fill the District 2 seat on the Linn County Board of Supervisors:

“When you decide to seek public office, people often ask why you’re running. There are many reasons I’m running for Linn County Supervisor, but in short, I’m running because I want to improve the lives of residents of Linn County. I offer an inclusive vision for the county that ultimately will make the community safer, more equitable and more prosperous.

I believe citizens should not seek office for an exercise in vanity or because they need a job — citizens should seek office because they intend to better the lives of everyone in their district. Earlier this month, a three-person committee decided to forego a special election and instead appoint a person to fill the District 2 seat recently vacated by Linda Langston. The committee called for the resumes of anyone interested in the job. Regardless of who the committee appoints, there will still be a general election in November to fill the seat for the full four-year term.

I believe that I am best person for the job and that my education, professional experience, civic engagement and community service demonstrate ample credentials and qualifications; thus, I intended to apply for the position. However, after further consideration and listening to many fair-minded voices in the community, I have decided not to submit an application for appointment to the selection committee.

Two primary reasons underlie my choice. First, I feel strongly committed to a fair and just election process. Some voters have argued that if the committee were to appoint an announced candidate, it would advantage that candidate in the primary on June 7. While I do not agree that being appointed to a position for a few months provides a decisive edge in an election, I understand that incumbency has advantages.

Second, I have a sincere desire to see a “reset” in relations among county elected officials. I believe my election to the Board of Supervisors — earned fair and square — would prove undoubtedly that District 2 residents are ready for a new generation of pragmatic, progressive and cooperative leadership. When voters cast their ballots and select a new County Supervisor in November, no county elected official — no matter how ornery or unrelenting — can claim that any special advantage gave the winner an edge. There will be no grounds to delegitimize the victory.

And with that, I will take my case to the people, and I will work hard to earn their support in June and then again this fall in the general election. Voters will have a choice: They can rely on the same politics as usual, or they can stake hopes on a new vision for Linn County — a vision not entangled by tired, personal vendettas between elected officials that impede progress, but rather a clear vision of collaboration, compromise and willingness to work together to get things done, in good faith.

Our county auditor talks a lot about transparency, as he should, but we must also talk about ways to restore civility to our politics and end the politicking that has hamstrung the work of the county for so many years. I do not have all the answers, but anyone who says that she or he does is not being honest. We don’t need know-it-alls — we just need good people with good ideas and an even better work ethic to roll up their sleeves and fight every single day for the people of Linn County. I’m going to spend the next several months meeting as many voters as I can, listening to their views and working hard to earn their support.”

See full column here.


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