Board of Supervisors candidates announce campaigns for upcoming special election

Pat Harney, Royceann Porter, and Phil Hemingway will vie for the open seat on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors in December.


Joseph Cress

Supervisors Mike Carberry, Kurt Friese, Janelle Rettig, and Lisa Green-Douglass listen to public comment during a Johnson County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

Caleb McCullough, News Reporter

Three Johnson County residents have announced their candidacy for the Dec. 18 special election for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

Following the death of Supervisor Kurt Friese on Oct. 26, the county announced on Thursday that there will be a special election on Dec. 18 to fill his seat on the board.

Democrats Pat Harney and Royceann Porter, as well as Republican Phil Hemingway, have all announced their candidacy for the position.

Current Board of Supervisors Chair Mike Carberry, who lost to incumbent Janelle Rettig and Pat Heiden in the Democratic primary in June, told  The Daily Iowan on Friday that he is unsure if he will run again. Carberry has still not announced if he will be running for the position.

RELATED: Special election will determine who fills Johnson County Board of Supervisors vacancy

Hemingway, an Iowa City School board member, was on the ballot in the general election on Nov. 6. He lost to incumbent Janelle Rettig and Pat Heiden, garnering 31 percent of the vote.

Following the announcement of the special election, Hemingway told The Daily Iowan on Friday that he plans to run for a position on the Board of Supervisors again.

“With the decision made by Johnson County officials to have a special election to fill Kurt Friese’s supervisor seat, I will file paperwork to put my name on the upcoming ballot,” he said.

Hemingway’s priorities during his campaign included improving infrastructure, mental health care, and environmental protections.

RELATED: Hemingway will run for county supervisor in December, Carberry still ‘unsure’

Harney served on the board for 16 years before retiring in 2016. Prior to that, he spent 33 years working for the Iowa City Police Department.

Harney hopes to bring a voice for rural residents of Johnson County to the Board of Supervisors.

“[Rural] individuals felt that they needed representation, and I agree and feel like they do as well,” he said.

Harney also said he wants to focus on maintaining a balanced budget for the county.

“Managing the budget has always been the biggest thing for me,” he said. “We need to stay within our reasonable means in the budget.”

Porter is an Iowa City resident who currently serves on the Iowa City Community Police Review Board, and works as an organizer for the Teamsters Union.

Porter said she has been involved in community work for almost 30 years. Some major areas of focus have included mental health services, affordable housing, and youth opportunities.

“I’ve dedicated my life to building a community that supports all residents no matter where they are from, what their income is, or what level of education they have when they arrive,” she said in an email to The Daily Iowan.

Porter said she helped found the Black Voices Project, a program that promotes representation and communication for African Americans in the Iowa City area. She also worked with the Coalition for Racial Justice, a program that attempts to overcome racial disparity in Johnson County.

If elected, Porter said she would be the first African American elected to a countywide office in Johnson County.

“I am so proud to be part of a community where we are not afraid to make history,” she said.