Jill Johnson runs for mayor


by James Tillison

Simpson College’s director of marketing and public relations Jill Johnson is now running for mayor of Indianola.
Johnson graduated from Simpson with a degree in communications and public relations and came back to work in 2011. Before coming back, she owned her own market research and strategic consulting firm, working with clients across the country.
The current mayor of Indianola recently announced that he would not be running for the position again.
“We started talking quite awhile ago about Indianola and the progress the town has been making,” Darcy Moeller, a long time friend of Johnson and now co-chair of her campaign, said. “We began to brainstorm for people who would be good ambassadors for Indianola when I said she should run.”
Johnson, aside from having public relations and marketing skills, also served on the People’s Bank Board, Indianola Parks and Recreation Board and the Indianola Community Youth Foundation.
JoAnna Freeland ’13 has joined the election committee for Johnson.
“My job on the election committee with Jill is communications, so marketing, Facebook, all that kind of stuff,” she said. “I will also be heading up the student coalition for Jill Johnson so Simpson students who support her are out to help her get elected.”
Johnson wants to tell Indianola’s stories and strengthen the communications for the city itself. She said residents are in place to run city government and she does not want to run city government. She just wants to help the city improve and grow and utilize the assets that the town has to grow.
“I believe that Indianola as a community is in a very strong place right now,” she said. “A lot of things have happened over the last years that have positioned us now to really be strong and grow. I think the mayor’s job appealed to me because it’s a way that I can help the city grow and move forward because we have such strong leaders in place. I see myself, if I was chosen to be mayor, to be an ambassador for the community.”
Her main focus is on new projects and infrastructure in the community.
”(Things such as) waste water treatment plant, infrastructure so that utilities are in place so if businesses do look here to relocate or to add another location those things are in place and it is an easy decision to come here,” Johnson said.
Johnson is currently running unopposed. However, other possible candidates have until Sept. 19 to file the appropriate paperwork to enter the ballot. An election will be held regardless of how many candidates are running for the position because the city has to vote.


Johnson and her committee have decided that if she is the only candidate they will still run a campaign as if she had opponents.


“It is important that I get out in front of people and people can get to know me and they can hear what my priorities are,” she said.


If Johnson becomes mayor, she said she would continue her job at Simpson.


“The mayor’s job is not a full time job and does not pay as a full time job,” she said. “Anyone in that role is retired, independently wealthy or has to have another job.”


Johnson said President Simmons has shown her full support in her mayoral aspirations.


Moeller and Freeland both say they are sure Johnson will make a fantastic mayor. Many forms of media will be open for students to get involved with Johnson’s running for mayor either will be open soon or currently is open.


“This will be a tremendous win-win for Simpson and Indianola,” Moeller said.