AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

Profile: Elizabeth Peterson (AFSCME Local 3462)

BACKGROUND:

Elizabeth is a Youth Worker with Woodbury County Juvenile Detention. She supervises the youth in juvenile detention and works to keep the youth safe while they are there. She works closely with youth’s case workers.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITY: MAYOR OF SMITHLAND, IOWA

Elizabeth has served as mayor for three and a half years and is in her second term as mayor. She previously served as a member of the city council for four years. She was a volunteer EMT for seventeen years.

Being the mayor of a small city (population 224 in the last census) is a lot of work. As mayor, she needs to be knowledgeable about the city’s ordinances, many of which date back many years. Even more importantly, the mayor personally takes care of enforcing many of those ordinances. She also oversees the work of the city’s two employees.

As mayor, she is always on duty: residents expect her to be accessible and will frequently stop to chat with her about the city wherever she may be in town.

Stepping up to run for office means taking on a lot of responsibility—your community relies on you. Elizabeth not only stepped up to the plate by running for city council and then mayor; she also recruited her coworker (and AFSCME local president), Dianne McTeer, to run for a vacant city council position.

WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS—IN HER OWN WORDS:

“I have always felt it is important to give something back to my community. I was raised in Smithland and have lived there almost all my life. At first I gave back by being a volunteer EMT, now I serve my community as mayor. It’s a tough job and you cannot always make everyone happy. But it’s an important job that benefits the residents of Smithland.”

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