Josh Opperman, an Ames-area attorney, has declared his candidacy for the Story County Board of Supervisors.
Opperman, a Democrat, is currently a business partner at Aureon HR in West Des Moines. He graduated from Ballard High School, William Penn University and holds a law degree from Drake University.
If selected, it would be Opperman’s first time in elected office.
Opperman said he’s concerned about the county’s financial future, as state lawmakers discuss removing the “backfill” established to cover losses from a property tax cut in 2013. He also pointed to previous economic development projects by the county that he said favor “certain economic classes,” claiming the city of McCallsburg doesn’t have a tax base due to corporate giveaways.
“A lot of it is just the priorities of the Board of Supervisors have not been in line with helping out all of the county, and have just been in line with a select few at the expense of the rest,” he said.
Opperman said he plans to make sure future economic development projects are “balanced” between favoring larger interests and smaller, local interests.
He also said he wants to devote resources to cleaning up pollution in the county’s water districts.
In his news release announcing his candidacy, Opperman said he will “work to ensure county government is free of harassment and discrimination.” A former county employee is currently suing County Treasurer Renee Twedt, a Republican, for alleged age discrimination, while Supervisor Lauris Olson, a Democrat, was the subject of a legal opinion from the county attorney after an employee alleged she created a hostile work environment.
Opperman said he didn’t have a specific incident in mind, but he intends to use his experience in human resources to establish stronger anti-harassment systems within county workplaces.
Story County Supervisors’ chairman Rick Sanders and Supervisor Martin Chitty, both Republicans, are up for re-election this November, while Olson isn’t up for re-election until 2020.
Opperman said while Sanders and Chitty are both well-liked among voters, he thinks Story County’s history as a Democratic-leaning county, and the recent “blue wave” election phenomenon in local elections across the U.S., will bode well for him.
“I think we’re seeing in a lot of elections around the state and around the country, Democrats are doing well this year, so I think my odds are good,” he said.
Linda Murken, another Democrat who has previously run for a Supervisors seat, has also announced her candidacy in this year’s elections.