IC restauranteur and slow food activist Kurt Friese announces bid for County Supervisor

In a press release sent over the weekend, Kurt Friese, a long-time activist and owner of Iowa City restaurant Devotay, announced his candidacy for a position on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

The announcement comes quickly on the heels of last week’s news that Johnson County Supervisor Terrence Neuzil had accepted a position in Kalamazoo, Mich.

With about one year remaining in Neuzil’s term, the County Auditor, Treasurer and Recorder will meet soon to decide whether they will appoint an interim replacement, or if a special election will take place. “Ultimately, the trio will make that decision.” the Gazette reports, “If a supervisor is appointed, that doesn’t rule out a special election, which can still be forced by a public petition calling for a vote.”

Though Friese’s announcement makes no reference to Neuzil’s seat, specifically, he said an appointment ahead of the 2016 election would be “the more prudent route to take.”

“Since we already face a caucus, a primary and a general election next year, voter fatigue is a real issue.” Friese said. “Not to mention there’s no reason for the county to spend $30,000 of taxpayer money on an election that will be refought just months later.”

Here is Friese’s complete announcement:

Kurt Friese, the owner of Devotay restaurant, will be a candidate for Johnson County Supervisor in the Democratic Primary election in June 2016.

Friese, 51, wants to preserve farmland in the North Corridor from residential development and remove barriers to local food production. He also wants to increase civility in county government to help it better cooperate with cities, school districts, and the University.

After almost 20 years of running Devotay, and working with Shelter House to create its food service apprenticeship program for clients, Friese is ready to use his management skills to make policy on a range of issues for Johnson County. “I want to protect farmland from concrete and encourage local food production,” Friese said.

Friese was also the Director of Local Food and Advocacy at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, where he was responsible in part for the design of the market space, and for recruiting the initial merchants for the market, which is now in its fourth year of operation.

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