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Posts Tagged ‘Linda Langston’

Linn’s Langston out as mayoral prospect; says she’s flattered she was asked; has plenty of fish to fry with county office and new national posts

In City Hall, Linda Langston, Linn County government on June 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

Linda Langston, Linn County supervisor, says she won’t run for the job of Cedar Rapids mayor.

A month ago, Langston acknowledged that some had urged her to make a mayoral run, a request she said on Thursday that she found flattering.

However, she said her strong interest in issues distinctively a purview of county government — mental health and development disabilities, for instance — have reminded her why she has pursued and won elective county office and why she wants to stay there.

Langston, a Democrat, said, too, that her party affiliation in a race against Ron Corbett, a former Republican state legislator, had the potential to make the local mayoral race overly partisan at a time when partisan politics should not be what the race, which is officially a non-partisan one, should be.

The city will have three or four good mayoral candidates, she said.

At the same time, just three weeks ago she assumed new national responsibilities as president of the National Democratic County Officials, a position that also places her as one of seven Iowans on the National Democratic Committee.

Linn’s Langston has new national responsibilities; says she’d give up national gig if she runs and wins Cedar Rapids mayor’s post

In City Hall, Linda Langston, Linn County government on May 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston, a big-time local Democrat, is a big-time national Democrat, too.

Langston has been elected president of the National Democratic County Officials, a position that also gives her membership on the Democratic National Committee.

Only six other Iowans are on the DNC.

Both new positions prompted the question to Langston late Monday afternoon: Will the national positions force her to set aside any thought of running for Cedar Rapids mayor, an idea that she said a few weeks ago she had been asked to entertain?

Langston said the new national responsibilities wouldn’t prevent her from running for mayor. But she said she would give up the national posts if she were elected mayor.

No, she added, she hasn’t decided yet if she will run for mayor or not. She said she’s apt to decide in June.

She said she’d issue a press release when she decides. Asked if she wouldn’t hold a news conference to announce a mayoral run rather than issue a press release, she said, in fact, she would hold a news conference. She said the fact that she said “press release” and not news conference didn’t mean anything.

Langston said she has been vice president of the National Democratic County Officials, and now has been elected president to fill the slot left by previous president, who has taken a job as a deputy director of the Department of Housing & Urban Development.

Why did mayoral prospect Monica Vernon change from Republican Party to Democratic Party?

In Brian Fagan, Linda Langston, Monica Vernon, Ron Corbett on May 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm

First it was U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. Now it’s Cedar Rapids council member Monica Vernon.

In recent days, Specter changed his political party affiliation from Republican to Democrat as he readies to try to keep his seat in the U.S. Senate from the state of Pennsylvania. He said he couldn’t win the Republican primary there in a Republican Party that he said had moved to far to the right.

But why is Vernon — a long-time Republican with a husband, Bill, who as recently as 2008 was a member of the party’s state central committee — moving to the Democratic Party?

Vernon, who is the second year of a four-year term as District 2 council member, has been among a group of people considering a run this year for Cedar Rapids mayor, which, like other City Council seats in Iowa, is a non-partisan post.

This year’s mayoral race, though, surely will come with a partisan flavor.

To date, only Ron Corbett, a former Republican speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, has announced that he is running for mayor.

On Monday, Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston, a prominent Democrat, said Democrats were urging her to take on Corbett. She said she was considering a mayoral race, but was not yet convinced she would run.

Council member Brian Fagan is another person mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate, and Fagan is registered to vote without political party. He changed his registration to Republican so he could compete in the January 2008 presidential caucuses, and he changed it to Democratic so he could vote in the June 2008 primary, the Linn County Auditor’s Office reports.

The county office said it processed Vernon’s change of party from Republican to Democratic just today, Tuesday.

Rumor mill is right: Linn Supervisor Langston says she is considering suggestions that she run for Cedar Rapids mayor

In City Hall, Linda Langston on May 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston says she’s been asked to consider running for mayor of Cedar Rapids, “so I’m considering it,” she says.

Langston commented on Monday after she was asked about rumors that she might try a go at the mayor’s race.

She said she would make a decision soon.

“I really like the job I’m doing now, but I’m not ignoring the other,” Langston said. “Someone said, ‘This decision is yours, but you really got to want it.’

“And I’m not entirely sure at this point in time if I really want it. I am happy with the job I am presently doing. But I have not completely written off the consideration that other people have asked me to take seriously.”

Langston, a Democrat, said she is getting much of the push from other Democrats.

What she mostly needs right now, she said, is information. She said she’s developed a sense of what people want in a mayor and where they want the city to go as she has attended community gatherings and neighborhood meetings.

Now she said she is trying to figure out, “Is there any aspect of my alignment and interest that fits with the broader community?” she said.

Langston noted that Cedar Rapids’ form of government is not a strong-mayor form: The mayor is one of nine votes on the council.

“And the challenge is constructing what I would think of as a working consensus,” she said. “And when you don’t know the other players …”

The reference to players is a recognition that six of the nine council seats, including the mayor’s seat, are up for reelection in November.

“I consider myself a good consensus-builder, but it’s still a tough time. It’s a tough time to consider this,” Langston said.

She said she will decide quickly to put an end to the rumor mill that is churning now over her possible mayoral bid.

Ron Corbett, vice president at trucking firm CRST Inc. and former state Republican legislator, previously has announced his candidacy for mayor.

“Clearly, Ron is very committed to this,” Langston said. “Whether I am in or out of this race, I have absolutely every belief that Ron is in it for the long haul.”

Joe calls Linda; wants local read on getting federal dollars to the front lines

In Linda Langston, Linn County government on April 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Vice President Joe Biden called Linda Langston, Linn County supervisor, this week to include her in a conference call with five other local officials from around the nation.

Biden wanted to know how the federal government’s new stimulus package — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — is working at the local level.

Langston says she asked Biden if there was a way for more of the federal money to be driven down to the metropolitan areas so that it doesn’t all have to go through states, or if it must all go to states, if there was a way to expedite how it gets to localities from there.

Langston says she also talked to Biden about how money gets to local communities to fund public health programs like those related to the prevention of chronic diseases.

Part of the conversation focused on transit funds and how to order and buy hybrid buses, and beyond that, how to make federal funding available for a wider assortment of fuel-efficient cars and trucks from squad cars to garbage trucks.

Langston figures she and another county official were included in the Biden call because Biden has a fondness for county officials. That’s where he got his start in public life, Langston says.

Langston says Biden is getting a follow-up letter from her about funding for public health and for matters related to flood recovery in Cedar Rapids and Linn County.

Also on the call were Carl Dean, mayor of Nashville, Tenn.; R.T. Rybak, mayor of Minneapolis; John Robert Smith, mayor of Meridian, Miss.; Barbara Fiala, county executive, Broom County, New York; and Darwin Hyman, mayor of Columbia, Mo.

One route to property-tax relief for flood victims closes; still can qualify if 65 or older or totally disabled and have income below $20,031

In Floods, Linn County government on April 8, 2009 at 12:56 pm

They wanted to. They did it. But they can’t, Gary Jarvis, assistant Linn County Attorney, told the Linn County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday.

The upshot: Owners of flood-damaged property, for now, will face property-tax bills based on the pre-flood value of their properties, and they also will face a county tax sale of their property in June if they don’t pay the tax bill.

Jarvis told the supervisors on Wednesday that their decision last week to suspend the property taxes of flood victim Dana Spore of Cedar Rapids was an incorrect one. He said the particular section of state law on which the supervisors relied limits such tax suspensions to those 65 or older or those totally disabled. The intent of the longstanding state law is to not force the elderly and totally disabled to lose their property for not paying taxes. The unpaid taxes are then recouped when the person dies and the property is sold, Jarvis said.

After Jarvis’ presentation, the supervisors reluctantly rescinded the tax suspension they had granted a week before.

Jarvis recommended that the supervisors watch and wait as the Iowa Legislature finishes its session in the next couple of weeks to see if state lawmakers will provide some property-tax relief for flood victims.

Supervisor Linda Langston said the supervisors then will have time to revisit the property-tax matter to see if they want to adopt some sort of tax abatement procedure for taxes due later this year.

The supervisors are in no rush to make any big moves because the tax revenue of cities and schools as well as the county are tied to any decision by the supervisors to abate property taxes. State law puts these decisions in the supervisors’ hands.

Langston said one good thing about granting last week’s tax suspension, which has now been rescinded, is that several people contacted the supervisors who qualify for a suspension of property taxes because they are 65 or older or are disabled.

Unpaid property taxes send a property to the Treasurer’s Office tax sale in June. Investors pay the taxes, collect interest on the amount and then can assume ownership of the property if the owner doesn’t pay the taxes and interest within two years.