Public service runs in Linda Langston’s family. While she was growing up on the South Side of Chicago, her grandfather was a state senator. But it wasn’t until she moved to Iowa that she decided to run for public office herself -- after 12 years of being an Iowan. “Previously I had worked as the director of a local museum, so I knew a lot about the local community and was very familiar with fund-raising,” says Langston, who in 2002 was elected as a supervisor for Linn County. She’s been on the county board ever since, and currently serves as the chair.
In 2008, Iowa was hit by a devastating flood. Ten square miles of Linn County were underwater -- many called the event “Iowa’s Katrina.” Langston helped oversee the rebuilding efforts. “I worked really hard to get the area back up and operating, and get people back on their feet as soon as possible. People really responded positively to that.”
Langston has a national profile as a past president of the National Association of Counties. She’s been courted for a congressional run, but says she thinks she can be more effective in county office. “Working at the local level allows you to make sure things really are working as they should be.”