IOWA CITY – Lisa Green-Douglass saw a good opportunity to run for Johnson County supervisor and took it.
Green-Douglass, a Democrat who filed candidacy papers this month, said she had been considering running for years. But with the youngest of her five kids now in high school and a Republican on the Board of Supervisors for the first time in 50 years, this election was a good fit, she said.
“You have to wait until your own timing is right,” she said.
Green-Douglass, of 3117 230th St NE in North Liberty, is trying to win one of two seats up for election on the five-member Board of Supervisors. First, she must get through the party primary June 3.
She is the only candidate from any party to file candidacy papers with the Johnson County Auditor’s Office as of late-afternoon Friday. The filing period lasts through March 26.
Republican incumbent John Etheredge also is up for reelection but has not made an announcement.
Among the issues Green-Douglass, 55, is campaigning on are affordable access to mental health services, funding for a mobile mental health crisis response team, consistent implementation of the county land-use plan, affordable housing and funding for a secured county courthouse and jail.
The latter issue has aggravated county officials for years. They say the jail and courthouse are overcrowded and have security concerns, but voters have twice in the past year and a half voted down proposals for a justice center with joint jail and courthouse space.
The county supervisors have recently discussed sending separate courthouse annex and jail annex projects to voters, although they may scrap the jail plan because jail opposition was strong in the justice center votes.
Green-Douglass does Spanish-language training, including for correctional officers and jailers, and said what she has seen at other jails has made her realize the “inadequacies” of Johnson County's facility. The jail is unsafe, and the transporting of overflow inmates to other counties is a safety risk and costs a lot of money, she said.
She said she could support a courthouse annex-only plan if there was no other way to address the courthouse needs. But she said that was not ideal and she’d want there to at least be a plan for eventually connecting a jail annex to the courthouse.
“Both are needed,” she said.Green-Douglass is married and has five children.