Monday, May 20, 2013

White House Honors Johnson County Recorder

Johnson County Recorder Kim Painter is being honored by the White House Wednesday as one of the country's pioneering LGBT elected officials.

Painter, first elected in 1998, is being named a “Harvey Milk Champion of Change.”  

"This award is a tremendous honor, and I'm deeply gratified," said Painter:
"I've been very fortunate in my political endeavors.  Being elected to serve the people of Johnson County was a great moment in my life, and it occurred because people were willing to look beyond labels and ideology and get to know me as a human being.  They felt I could provide strong service to the county, and I've tried to do that.  This award, having the name of Harvey Milk associated with it, is a bit daunting for me to grasp.  But I'm thrilled, and will carry it close to my heart."
While she's excited by the honor, Painter says she won't be able to attend the White House event in person. 

Painter noted that while she was the first out person elected in Iowa as a non-incumbent, other officials before her came out while already in office. "First and foremost in my mind is Bill Crews, who was mayor of Melbourne, Iowa, and came out in 1993. He was on the receiving end of some pretty rough invective at that time, as I recall, along with lots of support."

The White House release pretty much says the rest:  

White House Highlights Kim Painter as a
“Harvey Milk Champion of Change”
WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, May 22nd, the White House will honor Kim Painter as one of ten openly LGBT elected or appointed officials who are “Harvey Milk Champions of Change.”  The event falls on Harvey Milk’s birthday and will recognize these individuals for their commitment to equality and public service.

“When President Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk the Medal of Freedom in 2009, he praised his leadership and courage in running for office.  Today, we honor Harvey Milk’s legacy in these ten outstanding public servants, who will surely inspire the next generation of public servants,” said Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White house to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

To watch this event live, visit at 3:00 pm ET on Wednesday, May 22nd.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit

Kim Painter
Johnson County Recorder
Iowa City, IA

Kim Painter serves as Johnson County Recorder in Iowa City, Iowa.  In 1998, she became the first openly gay person to win election to public office in Iowa.  In 2007, she was selected by peers to serve as president of the Iowa State Association of Counties.  She has also chaired Iowa’s Commission on the Status of Women.  She and spouse Jessica Kardon have been together for 17 years. They married in Iowa in 2009.

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