By Mitch McAndrew | firstname.lastname@example.org
The race for District 77 belongs to the mayors.
Democratic candidate North Liberty Mayor Amy Nielsen and former Tiffin Mayor Royce Phillips, the Republican candidate, are vying for the seat vacated by state Democrat Rep. Sally Stutsman, D-Riverside.
Stutsman announced in February that she would not seek re-election to the Iowa House of Representatives after one term. She had previously served on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.
Iowa House District 77 encompasses western, southern Johnson County, and parts of the northern county, including North Liberty, Tiffin, Oxford, Swisher, Shueyville, and Lone Tree.
Amy Nielsen, Democrat
Amy Nielsen said she seeks to bring the same growth she saw in North Liberty to the Iowa Statehouse.
Nielsen was first elected mayor of North Liberty in 2014 in a close race with then-incumbent interim Gerry Kuhl. Her two years in office have been focused on accommodating the increasingly diverse population of North Liberty and expanding infrastructure to keep up with the rapidly growing city.
As mayor, she lead the implementation North Liberty’s first intra-city transit service. She also promoted Johnson County’s minimum wage hike and championed the Johnson County Community ID project.
Nielsen has also served on the Board of Directors for the North Liberty Community Food Pantry, with the Garner Elementary Walking School Bus program, and the Iowa City Blue Zones Project.
Nielsen defeated Abbie Weipert in the June 7 primary to secure the Democratic nomination.
Royce Phillips, Republican
After a failed 2014 Iowa Senate run in District 39, former Tiffin Mayor Royce Phillips is trying his luck for the Iowa House.
Phillips came in third in the Republican primary in 2014 behind Michael Moore and Bob Anderson.
This year, Phillips said he would like to use his experience to propel him to a victory in District 77.
He served as mayor of Tiffin from 2007-11. He has been an active member of the Johnson County GOP Central Committee for approximately 30 years and has served on numerous district and state committees, including as head of the county caucus.
Phillips is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and previously served on the Tiffin City Council. Since 1983, he has also been the pastor of Coralville’s Tabernacle Baptist Church.
Phillips beat Paula Dreeszen on June 7 to win the Republican nomination.