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The Indiana Daily Student

city politics

Who is running for the Monroe County Board of Commissioners District 2 seat?

2024elections-illo

Democrats Julie Thomas and Peter Iversen are competing for their party’s nomination in the race for the District 2 seat on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners. No Republicans filed declarations of candidacy for the seat.  

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners is responsible for auditing and authorizing claims against the county, maintaining county properties, supervising the maintenance of county roads and bridges and implementing solid waste management strategies. Commissioners can also appoint members to fill positions on various county boards, committees and commissions.  

Whoever wins the District 2 seat will represent Bloomington Township, which includes part of the city of Bloomington.  

Julie Thomas  

Thomas, an incumbent, has served on the Board of Commissioners since 2013, where she serves as the board’s president. 

Thomas moved to Monroe County in 1993. She attended IU, where she received her doctorate in Russian history and gender studies in 2005. She has worked as an adjunct faculty member at IU Bloomington, Franklin College, Southern New Hampshire University and IUPUI, teaching courses in gender studies and Russian history and culture.  

Before joining the Board of Commissioners, she served on the Monroe County Council for four years.  

Thomas said she was inspired to run for county council after joining the Democratic Women’s Caucus, a Bloomington political action committee aiming to elect and appoint more Democratic women to public office. 

“Women have to run, and you can’t win if you don’t run,” Thomas said. “I thought, ‘why am I not running?”  

Since joining county government, Thomas said she has focused on planning and zoning initiatives, as well as protecting the environment. Thomas has served on the Monroe County Plan Commission, which reviews development proposals and land use for the county, since 2009. She said as a commissioner, she balanced the need for development with protecting the environment.  

“It’s important to listen to every voice,” Thomas said. “You’re not going to make everyone happy, but you’re going to listen to everyone and do the best for the community.”  

During her time on the board, Thomas and her fellow commissioners established the Capital Improvement Board which oversees the Monroe County Convention Center expansion project and allocated more than $28 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to support environmental, infrastructure and transportation projects.  

She said one of the biggest challenges of serving on the board came in 2020, when the county collaborated with IU and leaders from local cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included instituting a mask mandate, setting up testing sites and finding other ways to support the county health department.  

“I’m really proud of the work we all did,” Thomas said. “I say ‘we’ a lot because not one of us worked alone. We all had to chip in and participate and make all these successes happen.”  

Thomas is running for reelection because she wants to continue working on several projects she started while in office, specifically constructing a new justice center. County officials have been pushing to construct a new jail since a 2021 report detailed how the jail, located on College Avenue, exceeded its structural life and was failing to uphold inmates’ constitutional rights.  

If reelected, Thomas said she would find new ways to serve and engage with county residents.  

“I’m really running on my record,” Thomas said. “I work every day for every resident in Monroe County, whether they live in the city or not, and it’s something I’m very, very proud of.”  

To learn more about Thomas, her initiatives and campaign, visit her campaign website, Facebook or Instagram.  

Peter Iversen 

Iversen did not respond to requests for comment by publication.  

Iversen has served on the Monroe County Council since 2019.  

According to his campain website, Iversen graduated from IU’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2021, earning a master’s degree in public affairs. He attended Lawrence University, studying political science and government, from 2001-2005, according to his LinkedIn profile 

In a press release announcing his candidacy, Iversen said he was running for election to restore public trust in the board of commissioners. 

Iversen has worked in various roles since graduating with his undergraduate degree. According to his LinkedIn profile, he worked for the Salvation Army in Bloomington as a public relations coordinator from 2006-2010 and as a development director from 2012-2016. He worked as a site supervisor for Stone Belt, a Bloomington nonprofit providing resources and support for people with disabilities, for four months in 2017. He served as the associate director of development for the IU School of Public Health from 2017-2022. In addition to serving on the county council, he works as the philanthropic engagement officer for the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  

Since joining the county council, Iversen has served on the council’s Personnel Administration Committee, Substance Use Disorder Advisory Committee and Environmental Commission. He also sits on the council’s Justice Fiscal Adivsory Committee, an advisory committee responsible for making budget recommendations about community justice in Monroe County.  

According to his campaign website, some of Iversen’s priorities include increasing housing availability, ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion are embedded in government decisions, supporting competitive wages and combating the climate crisis.  

To learn more about Iversen and his campaign, visit his campaign website or Facebook 

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