We did it. We made history.
On Tuesday, November 8th 2016, Stacey Walker was elected to the Linn County Board of Supervisors for the Second District. Stacey is the first African American to be elected to the Linn County Board.
We launched our campaign back in February. At our announcement event, we brought together a diverse group of people united by the belief that together we could make a difference and set our county on a path to progress and prosperity. In the following months, we knocked on hundreds of doors and made even more phone calls into the district to hear about the issues that mattered most to Linn County residents. Tonight, we are fortunate enough to celebrate the culmination of our efforts. Having been duly elected, I am proud to accept the responsibility of representing the 2nd District on the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
The work of a campaign is done primarily by dedicated volunteers, which is why I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of the community organizers who gave their time and energy to our campaign. I would also like to thank Libby Slappey and Sara Riley, my campaign chair and treasurer. I am also indebted to the fine work of a few campaign professionals and staffers who worked with me in the primary and this general election when they could’ve easily worked on other, higher profile campaigns. I also enjoyed the unwavering support of a small band of friends and family who were there for me through all of the ups and downs. Their support has been humbling.
This victory belongs to you: friends, supporters, and residents of Linn County. This evening, let’s celebrate our success and that of other progressive candidates across the country. However, we must be mindful that our work is not done. In fact, our work is just beginning. Change comes over time after sustained effort. If we want a progressive, inclusive and prosperous county, we must work for it. Each and every resident must commit to staying engaged in local government. If we hope to expand the reach of our political system, we must work a little harder to engage those who are disenfranchised and marginalized. If we want to get serious about addressing poverty and gun violence, we must set aside trivial differences, learn to trust one another, and busy ourselves with the complex work of policy and practice change. If we desire a government that serves all people – especially the most vulnerable – we must be guided by the precepts of fairness and equity.
After the votes are canvassed, for the first time ever, Iowa’s second largest county will have an African American serving as one of its five elected representatives. While elected officials swear an oath to represent all of their constituents regardless of race, religion or any other measure of identity, we must remember that our diversity, particularly in a representative democracy, is our strength. This county was organized 177 years ago, and for the first time in our history, young Black kids growing up in our core neighborhoods will see an image of themselves reflected in an elected representative of their county board government. As the sun sets on the administration of the first African American president, women and minorities of all backgrounds are winning local offices here and across the country. Linn County is an extension of this burgeoning progressive movement that is less about partisanship, but more about ideas for a better, fairer and prosperous future. Tonight, we have started the next chapter in our quest for progress, and I look forward to playing a small role in our journey together.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.