This week on Emphasis, Jason Parrott’s guest is Lee County Auditor Anne Pedersen, who is retiring after 30 years in office.
They talk about her extensive career in county government.
That career got its start while she was working at a Fort Madison company in 1982. She was approached to run for Lee County Recorder after the Recorder at the time announced her retirement.
“I looked at him and said, ‘Who, Me? Are you crazy,’” said Pedersen, “because I was a single mother and my first impression was (to say) just forget it.”
Pedersen was eventually convinced to run, but she was eventually defeated in the Democratic Primary by Larry Holtkamp, who, himself, retired several years ago.
The loss did not prevent her from remaining involved.
“It was such a positive experience for me that I stayed active in the Lee County Democratic Party,” said Pedersen.
She served on the Central Committee and also helped with election night activities.
That involvement led to her being approached about applying to be Lee County Auditor, with the Auditor at the time stepping down.
“I talked to my parents and here is my mom, who has been a farmwife and farmhand all of her life,” said Pedersen. “I said to her, ‘I’m not sure I will be able to do that,’ and she looked at me and said, ‘Anne, whenever have you not been able to do something that you have set your mind to,’ and I go, ‘wow, my mom thinks I can do this,’ so I pursued the appointment.”
She was appointed to the post in January 1983 and has remained in office ever since.
Pedersen says the timing of her retirement as Auditor is right because she wanted to step down at the end of a term.
She says the transition of leadership in the office has been very smooth because Election Coordinator Denise Fraise was voted to replace Pedersen during the November election.
“I have told her that she is an elected official,” said Pedersen. “You don’t work for another elected official, you work with them. Never get the mindset that you work for them, referring to the Lee County Board of Supervisors.”
Pedersen’s last day on the job will be December 31.