Former Linn Supervisor Jim Houser wants the job again

Houser will run in 2014 for Supervisor Lu Barron's empty seat

Rick Smith
Published: December 20 2013 | 6:29 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:08 am in
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Jim Houser, who served as Linn County supervisor for 19 years, will run for the office again in 2014.

Houser, 59 and a Democrat, had won four, four-year terms in the usually Democratic Linn County only to be confronted by a change in 2008 in which the five supervisors were elected in supervisor districts and not countywide.

Houser won a two-year term in 2008 in Supervisor District 5, but was unseated in 2010 in a close race with John Harris, a Republican, who at the time was Paloís mayor. The result was close: Harris won by 166 votes, 8,472 to 8,306.

Houser then ran in the Democratic primary in June 2012 for county auditor, but was defeated by incumbent Joel Miller, 3,063 votes to 1,485 votes.

With the change in the supervisor district boundaries after the 2010 Census, Houser now lives in supervisor District 1, where veteran Supervisor Lu Barron has decided not seek re-election in 2014.

In announcing his candidacy on Friday, Houser said his 19 years in the supervisorís position makes him uniquely qualified and gives him "broad knowledge" of the job and county government.

He said wants to make sure that the coming flood protection system in Cedar Rapids provides protection for Mayís Island, home to the county courthouse and jail. In addition, he said he is running because he is concerned about the "unraveling" of services for people in the county with disabilities.

Among his accomplishments as supervisor, Houser listed the implementation of a law enforcement radio system that allows law enforcement agencies to talk together; the renovation and reopening of the Linn County Courthouse and jail after the Flood of 2008; and the planning for the new Linn County Community Services Building, the new Juvenile Courts building and the renovated Jean Oxley Public Service Center.

Houser, of 505 Rock Valley Dr. SW, is married to Dr. Arleen Zahn-Houser, a family physician, and they have four children. He is working as a real estate agent at Skogman West Realty.

He is the third Democrat to announce a run for the District 1 supervisor seat. The others are Ian Cullis, 65, Robins mayor, and Kim Taylor, 45, a veteran staff member in Cedar Rapids for Sen. Tom Harkin. Taylor resides at 1416 Ave. NW.

Becky Shoop, first deputy in the Linn County Auditorís Office and a 38-year employee of Linn County, is running for the District 5 seat held by John Harris of Palo. Shoop, 56, resides at 3490 Wileys Rd., rural Walker.


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