Johnson County sheriff launches bid for Iowa House District 73 seat

Lonny Pulkrabek will run for an Iowa House seat after not seeking reelection as sheriff.


Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, introduces Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell alongside Johnson Country sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek at Big Grove Brewery and Taproom on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.

Rin Swann, News Reporter

After 35 years in law enforcement, Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek announced Thursday he will run for the Iowa House District 73 seat, which encompasses all of Cedar County and eastern Johnson County.

The chair is currently held by Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, the son of Jeff Kaufmann, Iowa’s GOP chair. Kaufmann is currently in his fourth two-year term.

Pulkrabek announced in May 2019 that he wouldn’t seek reelection as sheriff. In his fourth term as sheriff of Johnson County, he’ll have served in the role for 16 years by the time he leaves in December. Before his role as sheriff, Pulkrabek served nearly 20 years as Johnson County deputy sheriff.

“After 35 years in law enforcement, I’ve learned how the policies made in Des Moines affect our local communities in Cedar and Johnson Counties,” Pulkrabek said in an emailed prepared statement Thursday. “It’s time for new leadership in the Iowa House who will put the interests of everyday Iowans and our local communities ahead of the special interests and party leaders.”

RELATED: Johnson County Sheriff decides not to run for re-election

When he announced his retirement in May, Pulkrabek told the DI that he had no specific retirement plans set in stone.

In his time as Johnson County Sheriff, Pulkrabek advocated for mental-health and crisis training for police officers, the release stated. Pulkrabek’s career highlights include establishing the first mental health officer training in 2005 and the first crisis-intervention training in 2017.

Pulkrabek is also the former president of the Iowa State Sheriffs’ & Deputies’ Association and the former president of the Iowa State Association of Counties, according to the news release.

“I know what laws are working and what laws aren’t, and I will use my experience to fix them,” Pulkrabek said in the release. “I’ll listen to the people of Cedar and Johnson Counties and work together to invest in public schools, make healthcare affordable, create jobs, and revitalize rural communities.  That’s exactly the kind of representative I will be for you in Des Moines.”