CEDAR FALLS — Jeff Danielson, a state senator and Cedar Falls firefighter, has resigned from both positions for a new job he won’t yet comment on.
“So I’m closing two wonderful chapters in my life, 25 years as a firefighter and 15 years as a state senator, and I’m opening a new exciting chapter for which we’ll be able to share at a later date,” Danielson said.
Danielson, 48, announced his immediate resignation Thursday. In interviews afterward, he cited the city’s Public Safety Officer program as one reason. Danielson represented Senate District 30, which includes parts of Hudson, Cedar Falls and Waterloo.
He said he doesn’t have political aspirations, and he’ll reveal his new position in the next week.
Gov. Kim Reynolds will schedule a special election, and whoever wins will be up for re-election in 2020. Danielson said he won’t be involved in the campaign for his replacement.
The Black Hawk County Democrats will hold a special nominating convention Saturday at their headquarters to determine a candidate to run for Danielson’s seat.
Cedar Falls Democrat Amy Petersen announced her candidacy for the seat on her Facebook page on Saturday. She’s a Cedar Falls native and a University of Northern Iowa professor.
“After receiving a great deal of encouragement from many fellow Democrats, I am announcing my decision to run for the Senate District 30. I did not take this decision lightly, and frankly, running for political office was the furthest thing from my mind,” she wrote. ... I have agreed to run because I have a progressive voice to contribute to legislative debates about the challenges facing the Cedar Valley. This will not be an easy task. I have big shoes to fill, no doubt, but I believe I am the best candidate to ensure Senate District 30 continues to be represented by a Democrat.”
The Black Hawk County Democrats released a statement thanking Danielson for his many years of service both as a firefighter and a legislator, calling him a tireless advocate for the Cedar Valley.
“Since his election in 2004 Jeff has been a strong voice for the Cedar Valley and we offer him our sincere appreciation for his years of service,” said Black Hawk County Chair Vikki Brown in the news release.
Danielson was in his fourth term in the Iowa Senate before his resignation and was vice president of the Cedar Falls firefighters union. Elected replacements will fill those spots.
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“We wish him the best in his next adventure,” said Rep. Bob Kressig, one of Danielson’s Cedar Valley legislative colleagues. “He’ll be missed.”
He spoke highly of Danielson’s senate and firefighting career.
“You come to a scene and you have to try and save lives,” Kressig said. “He’s done that for years.”
Kressig said he’s received calls to run for Danielson’s Senate seat.
“We’ll see what happens,” Kressig said.
Former House Rep. Walt Rogers is considering running in the special election but is talking to his family first. Rogers challenged Danielson in 2008 but lost by 22 votes. Rogers went on to win a seat in the Iowa House. He lost that seat in November to Dave Williams.
Danielson is also resigning from the Cedar Falls Fire Department, a position he held full time prior to being elected to the Iowa Senate.
“I don’t believe I have a future there,” he said, “so I decided to focus on something positive.”
Cedar Falls firefighters were fighting a fire as Danielson made his announcement Thursday night.
“Jeff worked here for 25 years, and we’re sorry to see him go and we wish him the best in the future,” said Jeff Olson, Cedar Falls public safety director.