CLIVE, Iowa – Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell announced today that he run for a fourth term in the newly drawn district that includes Clive, Urbandale, Johnston, Grimes, Polk City and much of northern Polk County.
Brownell, a former Clive mayor and councilman, was elected to the board of supervisors in 2000 and has represented Clive, West Des Moines, southwestern Des Moines and Urbandale during that time.
“The new district is just terrific and I look forward to working hard and serving the people who live and work there,” Brownell said. “Clive has always been part of my supervisor district and Urbandale was part of it when I was first elected. I really hated to lose them in the 2002 redistricting. It’s a great city. As much I’m going to miss the day-to-day interaction with my current constituents, I’m very happy to be back in a district that includes Urbandale. I have a lot of friends in Johnston, Grimes and Polk City. I really look forward to working hard for them, too.”
Brownell’s recent activities includes serving as one of the county representatives on the Legislature’s work group for mental health redesign and as the only county representative on the governor’s work group for property tax reform. He currently is the chair of the Aging Resources Council, vice chair of the Homeless Coordinating Council, past chair of Neighborhood Finance Corporation, Emergency Management Board and E911 Board and serves on many local commissions.
“I’ve made a very conscious decision over the years to work with many varied and disparate parties to accomplish meaningful things that benefit Polk County’s residents and taxpayers,” Brownell said. “I’ve always believed it possible for public officials to meet public needs while maintaining a fiscally conservative approach to government. I’ve done that with success for a decade on the board and I want to continue to deliver that approach to constituents.”
To gain first-hand knowledge about the delivery of human services, Brownell posed as a homeless person and spent more than a week at the YMCA transitional housing facility. He also spent a night in a Des Moines homeless shelter, also posing as a homeless person. “When dealing with a complex problem, whether it’s homelessness or mental health reform, it’s important to understand the issue on as close to a gut level as possible. When policy makers take the time to make that effort, their outcomes are better for all parties involved,” he said.
The redistricting plan recently approved by the Iowa Secretary of State put Brownell and Urbandale Republican E.J. Giovannetti in the same district. Giovannetti announced Wednesday that he will not seek another term.
“E.J. is one of my closest friends and has done a marvelous job as an elected official. I’m really going to miss him on the board, but we will remain good friends and he’ll be someone whose counsel I will always seek,” said Brownell, noting that Giovannetti has expressed his support for his colleague.
Brownell is a native of Cedar Rapids, graduating from Kennedy High School after attending Missouri Military Academy. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Northern Iowa, earning degrees in English and education. He has done post-graduate work at Drake University.
His private sector experience has included management positions with Roadway Express and Yellow Transportation (now YRC). He currently owns a successful consulting company, Diverse Resources Group LLC, which provides transportation and logistical counsel.
Brownell is married to Jenna Jurgensen of Des Moines. They have one son, Kevin. Kevin and his wife, Maria, are both attorneys in Des Moines.
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