Mayor announces he won’t seek re-election|
by Mary Atkinson/Jacob Lane · August 22, 2013
Mayor Chad Thomas announced at the Aug. 6 city council meeting that he will not seek re-election in November for mayor of West Liberty.
Thomas, who has served in the position for over four years, says he sought an appointment as a magistrate judge in Johnson county and got the position on on Aug. 1.
"I have enjoyed serving the community and thank the people of West Liberty for giving me the opportunity to help lead the progress this community has seen over the past decade," he said.
Thomas said he will continue to live in West Liberty and serve as an attorney for Simpson Home, Inc.
"The magistrate position is part-time so I can still give my job at Simpson Memorial Home the attention that it needs," he said. "I am very happy that I can continue to work here in the West Liberty community and also pursue my interest in the magistrate position."
Thomas said he is excited to start his new position.
"I'm looking forward to getting back into the courtroom, even though it will be in a much different capacity from my courtroom time as a private attorney," Thomas said.
As a magistrate judge Thomas will handle small claims, traffic violations, and other small and simple misdemeanors.
"My legal work at Simpson Memorial Home is more focused on contracts, transactions, and regulatory work, so it will be nice to get back to some interaction with other attorneys, court staff and the people using the court system."
Thomas grew up in Newton, he later moved to Iowa City and graduated from the University of Iowa. He became an attorney in 1996.
Thomas moved to West Liberty in 2000 because he wanted to start a family, so the school district and community appealed to him.
Three years after the move he wanted to get more involved with the community, so he ran for city council. Thomas won the election and got to work. However, when the mayoral position opened up due to a special election Thomas jumped at the chance to have more responsibility.
"Having seen how the city council works, I felt like being mayor was more geared towards my skills and interests," he said.
He and his wife, Chris have two children, Cornelia, 11 and Arza, 7. Although he's leaving after four and half years as mayor, he encourages anyone with an inclination to run for the position.
"You absolutely have to do it if you have the interest," he said. "I got to meet a lot of people and experience things I wouldn't have got to if I wasn't mayor."