Chris Schwartz, Blackhawk County Supervisor
Hi, I'm Chris Schwartz and I am the Chair of the Black Hawk County, IA Board of Supervisors. I am a progressive Democrat with a background in community organizing and a record of taking special interest on and winning. I am running for re-election in 2020.
In my first term in office I have won victories to protect unions, treat employees fairly, open a homeless warming center, open a veterans' center, protect water quality, improve public health, save our bike trails, expand conservation lands, improve public parks, increase flood resiliency, enhance renewable energy, welcome immigrants, increase access to mental health services, upgrade our infrastructure, and plan for our future.
Let's keep winning progressive victories by re-electing Chris Schwartz as your Black Hawk County Supervisor.
I will always be a “Supervisor for the People” and will be a voice for those who have none. Whether you are talking about the homeless, the mentally ill, scared workers, or veterans I am going to be their advocate no matter how powerful the forces we are up against. This type of leadership is more important now than ever before. I am proud that I have never missed a Board of Supervisors meeting or work session. You hear all the time about legislators whether they are in D.C. or Des Moines who are missing votes all the time. I never wanted to be one of those kinds of politicians. The people elected me to be their voice and I will never miss a vote.
I serve on the board of directors of a number of local, and state-wide non-profits including The Middle Cedar River Watershed Management Authority, The Black Hawk Creek Soil and Watershed Coalition, Operation Threshold, Cedar Valley Pridefest, The North East Iowa Food Bank, The Friends of Iowa CASA, The Iowa Citizen Action Network, The Black Hawk County Alternative Energy Committee, The Cedar Valley CRUSH Coalition on Opioids, and the Northland Area (Hazmat) Response Group. I am also the current President of the National Association of Counties LGBTQ leaders and Allies. I live in Waterloo with my fiancé Logun Buckley. When I am not busy with public service, I can be found playing bass with my jazz and rock quartet False Indigo, working in the garden, or chipping away at renovation projects at our historic home. We love hosting events and fundraisers in our home for non-profits, political candidates, and noted dignitaries.
The Issues that face Black Hawk Co.
Transparency and accessibility: In my first term I helped establish an official social media presence for Black Hawk County and worked with staff to have video of all meetings posted on YouTube and Facebook. I have held multiple public townhalls and maintain a large and accessible presence on social media. I have been a tireless voice for transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic. The county now releases critical information related to the pandemic days ahead of the state.
Homelessness: I worked with other advocates to establish the first ever emergency warming shelter in Black Hawk County and supported efforts to prevent folks from going homeless with our rental assistance program. I want to continue to work with county staff and community advocates to address the roots causes of homelessness and get more families on a successful path to permanent housing.
Water Quality and Flood Resiliency: Through my work on the Middle Cedar River Watershed Management Authority and the Cedar River Watershed Coalition I have supported the development and implementation of watershed plans that will improve water quality and improve our resiliency to flooding. It is important that we continue to have a County Supervisor dedicated to this work.
Renewable Energy: I have supported county efforts to improve energy efficiency in our facilities by switching lighting to LED and investing in energy efficient heating and cooling. I serve as the chair of the Black Hawk County Alternative Energy Committee working to develop out project that will take seven of our county buildings 99% solar. This project is currently out to bid and construction will start in the coming months. When completed it will have the equivalent carbon reduction of planting over 500,000 trees and will save the county millions of dollars in energy cost over the lifespan of the solar panels.
Mental Health: I have been a strong advocate for all investments in our 22 county mental health region and have worked with the Sherriff to fund additional mental health staff to work with the jail population. This will cut down on recidivism and improve outcomes as people return to the community. I also work closely with state elected officials to advocate for a fully funded and robust mental health system for children and adults. There is a lot of work left to be done to reach this goal and I am ready to keep fighting.
Veterans: I have supported every effort made the Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs commission including leading the effort to fully fund their request for a new veterans’ community center. This new veterans’ community center will be a safe space for veterans to congregate, seek services, and help each other. The new veterans’ center is scheduled to open in the coming months.
Recreation: We have a great county park and trail system in Black Hawk County. I have supported and lead the effort for investments in facilities like Hartman Reserve and critical components of our trail system like the Wolf Creek Bridge and Brandon Bridge. Every time we invest your property tax dollars into one of these projects the conservation board has been able to leverage that investment exponentially with grants and donations. I will continue to be a strong voice for fun, safe, and healthy recreational and educational opportunities at our county parks, trails, and facilities.
Roads and Bridges: I continue to advocate for robust investments in our public infrastructure including our many roads and bridges. I have been a voice for safety first when choosing designs for road construction, including the Cedar Wapsi Rd bridge currently under construction. We have successfully completed several bridges, paving, and construction projects that are improving public safety on our secondary roads system. There is more to be done and I want to see an even greater investment in the safety and quality of both paved and gravel roads in our county.
Housing: I continue to be an advocate for investments in our county’s housing stock. I want to see the county play a more active role in the areas of historic preservation, and the creation of paths towards home ownership.
Economic Development: I have supported renewable energy projects including wind and solar that will bring many good jobs to our community during their construction period and will create new revenue stream for the county following their completion. I have used my platform to be a strong advocate for the many great small and locally owned businesses in our community but feel that the county can and should do more to support local new and existing small businesses. I believe that the county should utilize a portion of our strong reserves to leverage local entrepreneurial investments. This has not been a role the county has traditionally played in our community; I will continue to be a voice to change this mindset.
Public Health: Since my first days in office I have been advocating for an expanded and modern public health clinic that could better meet the public health needs of our large and diverse community. The STD clinic has been expanded and is more private now, but we have more work to do. I will continue to work with the Black Hawk County Health Department to create a new and modern public health clinic that is safe, private, and accessible.
Chris Schwartz, Chair of the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors is pleased to announce he is running for re-election as a Black Hawk County Supervisor and is seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party in the June 2nd primary. Schwartz is currently in his first term in office after first wining election in November…