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Oleson, member of Linn County Board of Supervisors, announces retirement

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 3:45 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A member of the Linn County Board of Supervisors will be retiring at the end of his current term, according to a statement issued on Monday.

Brent Oleson, who has served on the board for 12 years, will not seek reelection in the November 2020 election. This means his tenure on the board for its third district will come to an end on December 31, 2020.

“Given all the life-changing events that are upon us, this year of 2020 in particular has provided me a chance to thoroughly examine and reflect on what is most important to me and my family as I come closer to the end of raising my two high-school aged children,” Oleson said, in a statement. “This self-evaluation process has also allowed me to contemplate other meaningful opportunities in my career of public service and law. ln order to pursue those opportunities unencumbered, I will be submitting formal notice to the Linn County Auditor that I will not be a candidate for the upcoming 2020 election to the Linn County Board of Supervisors.”

Oleson cited his work promoting outdoors-related programs and plans as something he was particularly proud of during his time in office. He also gave thanks to the late former Iowa Senator Mary Lundby who was his mentor when he was a page in the state’s upper legislative body.

The Linn County Democratic Party will hold a special convention to pick a candidate to replace Oleson on November’s ballot. John Stuelke, former mayor and current city councilmember in Center Point, has entered the race for the nomination.

Read Oleson’s full announcement below:

“Since the June floods of 2008 until the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, it has been my privilege and honor to serve the people as their elected representative on the Linn County Board of Supervisors. I have focused my energy and efforts on making our community a much better place to live, work, and play. ln particular, I have, focused on issues of conservation, recreation, trails, parks, water quality, roads, transportation, and infrastructure needs.

Given all the life-changing events that are upon us, this year of 2020 in particular has provided me a chance to thoroughly examine and reflect on what is most important to me and my family as I come closer to the end of raising my two high-school aged children. This self-evaluation process has also allowed me to contemplate other meaningful opportunities in my career of public service and law. ln order to pursue those opportunities unencumbered, I will be submitting formal notice to the Linn County Auditor that I will not be a candidate for the upcoming 2020 election to the Linn County Board of Supervisors. I plan to complete my current term as Linn County Supervisor, which ends this calendar year, and focus on these future career opportunities in my field that will also enhance the quality of time I have remaining to raise my children.

While I have five months left remaining in my term, I must say that I am very proud of the previous 139 months of work that was accomplished in aggressively and effectively pursuing issues of importance and significance to the citizens of Linn County. I have a deep passion for the outdoors and our natural areas and have worked tirelessly to promote and complete hundreds of projects affecting areas where we gather to recreate and come together as a community. We have made substantial and meaningful progress in enhancing and expanding our parks, trails, and natural areas, for which I am extremely proud to have had a role. As a Linn County Supervisor for nearly 12 years, I have been able to move the needle on quality of life issues,and to enhance our community and make it a better place to live and raise a family.

Over the past 12 years there were many occasions when my work was extremely gratifying and there were times when it was very challenging. My job was to listen and work for people when they were upset or angry, when they were indifferent, and when they were in pursuit of positive solutions. lt is my hope that whether you voted for me or against me, or whether you agreed with me or disagreed with me, that you feel I served our community well, that l was abreto make a meaningful difference, and that all my dealings were honest, respectful and done with the professionalism expected of your public servants.

My most sincere thanks and appreciation goes to the late State Senator Mary Lundby of Marion, who mentored me beginning as a teenager when I was selected as an Iowa Senate Page. That mentoring relationship and friendship continued on through my college years on many political campaigns, internships, and public policy initiatives, and during my time as an attorney and staff member of the Iowa Senate. Mary Lundby remains the single most influential person on my adult life, eventually asking me to run for the Board of Supervisors from her hospital room while floods were ravaging downtown Cedar Rapids in the summer of 2008. I have tried my best to live up to her expectations that public servants always be straight-forward and honest in their dealings, stay true to themselves and their core beliefs, never be afraid to question the status­ quo, and work hard for all of their constituents no matter their political party to find solutions and compromises to advance the people’s business. After being sworn into office in her hospice room shortly before her death, I am very proud that I followed her advice to the letter. I feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment in how I conducted myself over the last 12 years of service to the people of Linn County, secure in the knowledge that I met those expectations of integrity passed on to me from her.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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