Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness announced on Monday she will not seek reelection this year.
“Representing the people of Johnson County as County Attorney has been an honor and a privilege,” Lyness said in a written statement. “I am proud of the work my office has done and the programs we have developed while I have been County Attorney.”
Lyness became the first woman elected Johnson County Attorney in 2006, and is currently in her fourth term. When Lyness first ran for office, she had already served 16 years in the county attorney’s office, and before that, she had interned for then Johnson County Attorney J. Patrick White, while attending the University of Iowa College of Law.
Lyness launched her first campaign for the office when White, who served as county attorney for 34 years, decided not to run for reelection. She received approximately 70 percent of the vote in the 2006 Democratic primary and was unopposed in the general election.
By the time she ran for county attorney, Lyness, who moved to Iowa City in 1977 to attend UI, had already long been active in community work and the county’s Democratic Party.
“Working at the county attorney’s office gave me a way of feeling I was really helping people but also making sure the system is just, making sure people are treated fairly,” she said while campaigning in 2006.
Reflecting on her time in office on Monday, Lyness said, “My office has accomplished many things during my four terms, holding violent offenders accountable while addressing problems we saw in the criminal justice system.”
She added, “There is more I hope to implement in the next year before the end of my term, especially in the area of decreasing gun violence.”
As of Monday, there were no declared candidates for Johnson County Attorney.