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SIOUX CITY -- Former Woodbury County Board of Supervisor Jackie Smith, ousted from office 13 months ago, has decided to seek a seat in the Iowa Legislature.

Smith, 62, announced Friday she will seek the Democratic nomination for the Iowa Senate District 7 seat currently held by Republican Sen. Rick Bertrand.

Bertrand, a Sioux City businessman and developer, has not said whether he will seek a third term in the Senate, but Smith told the Journal, "as of now, I consider him my opponent."

Senate District 7 includes the north and west sides of Sioux City, mainly north of Gordon Drive, and some rural areas of Woodbury County just east of the city limit.

Smith served eight years on the county board, losing her bid for a third, four-year term in November 2016 to Republican Keith Radig, 55 percent to 45 percent. She represented supervisor District 1, which takes in much of the same territory in Sioux City as Senate District 7.

People from the entire county vote for supervisor seats. Smith said she is positioned to perform well in the senate race, since she got 11,273 votes and Radig got 10,358 in territory that lies in the senate district.

A retired speech pathologist, Smith has 34 years of experience as an educator, including a long stint with Northwest Area Education Agency. She also is a small businesswoman, operating a boutique women's clothing store in downtown Sioux City.

In announcing her bid for the Senate, she cited serving as Woodbury County Board Chairwoman when CF Industries announced a $2 billion expansion of its Port Neal fertilizer site in November 2012, and working "with business leaders to bring one of Iowa’s largest economic development projects to Woodbury County."

Smith also said she wants to take her skills as a community activist to the state Capitol.

“Too many politicians are spending too much time at the State Capitol on partisan bickering and games that don’t improve the quality of life in Iowa. I promise to focus on real issues, which include job creation and worker training,” she said in a release.

Smith said majority party Republicans have failed to deliver on increasing incomes for working class Iowans.

The state, she said, needs to be "investing more resources in our community colleges, job training and apprenticeship to ensure that more workers are ready to fill good-paying jobs today, tomorrow and next year. Our economic development plan cannot simply be based on corporate tax breaks. It hasn’t worked, and it never will.”

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County and education reporter

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