Iowa Teamster Wins Seat on Johnson County Board of Supervisors


On Dec. 18, 2018, Royceann Porter was elected to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors becoming the Iowa county’s first African-American to ever serve as supervisor. As a member of Local 238 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and an International Organizer, Porter understands what is at stake for the working men and women of her state.

Prior to running for public office, Porter, as a member of the Iowa Teamsters Political Team, had a long history of fighting to raise standards in her community.

In 2015, Porter was part of a successful community campaign to increase Johnson County’s minimum wage to $10.10. When the initiative was rejected by the Iowa Legislature, Porter helped convince 156 businesses in Johnson County to voluntarily adopt a $10.10 minimum wage.

Porter also campaigned that year to raise support for the Johnson County Community ID program. The vital service provides government-issued IDs to members of the community that didn’t have access to the traditional forms of identification, like the elderly, students and legal immigrants.

Iowa adopted stricter laws for voter identification in 2017, so the program has become even more important for these members of the community.

“I’ve always tried to do what I can to help others in our community that don’t have a voice,” Porter said. “It’s a lot like being an organizer: People that can’t stand up for themselves need others to help them fight.”

In 2018, Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Michael Friese passed away suddenly. A local restaurant owner, Friese volunteered to provide food for the Johnson County Democratic Party BBQ fundraiser each year. Porter teamed up with Friese each year, cooking food for the event.

“It was such a shock at the time,” Porter said. “Kurt had done such great work for the community, it was such a loss.”

Jesse Case, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 238, knew that Porter was the right person to fill Friese’s shoes, even if she didn’t realize it herself. Case encouraged Porter to run for the open seat on the board.

“Royceann is the perfect example of what our members can do with the right support and encouragement,” Case said. “She has the compassion and skills that you would want in someone representing your interests. I am proud of what she has done as a member of the Teamsters, and I know she will only continue to do great things as a county supervisor.”

“With Jesse’s encouragement and the support of the union, I was confident that I could not only run, but win the seat,” Porter said. “What Kurt did was important, and I am proud that I can continue to carry on his work to honor his memory.”