MUSCATINE – Throughout most of her life, Michelle “Shelly” Servadio Elias has served others in one form or another and now she feels the next logical step is to seek public office as a way of continuing that service.
Recently Servadio Elias threw her hat into the ring to seek the Muscatine County Supervisor District 4 seat. In order to gain the spot, she will have to face off against fellow Democrat Henry Marquard for her party’s nomination. If she receives this, she will then challenge incumbent Nathan Mather, R, for the seat during the Nov. 3 general election.
“I gave this a lot of thought – careful consideration,” she said. “I sort of developed into an activist. I didn’t seek it out. It’s just something that developed over the course of time.
“That’s what nurses do, we advocate and we solve problems. We are at the bedside for a whole 12 hour shift. A doctor will come in and be there for a minute and not see the whole picture. Nurses see the whole picture and we are the last line between the healthcare system and the patient.”
In describing her career, she explained she is a U.S. Army veteran of the Gulf War, where she spent time with military intelligence, a retired nurse and former charge nurse at UnityPoint in Bettendorf, and an activist for a variety of issues, including legalization of hemp in Iowa. She said as a disabled veteran, she is medically retired, a trait which she feels will help her empathize with medical patients having to deal with the current medical and mental health systems.
“I have empathy for people who are sick,” she said. ‘I have been on the other side of it. I think that’s one of the reasons I would be a really good candidate and a really good representative. I think when they make these decisions, I don’t think some of them have ever understood what it’s like to be through some of these systems.”
Servadio Elias feels her experience as a nurse and as a patient will give her the background to be able to work with Muscatine County Public Health and the mental health region.
While she has not held any other public elected positions, she has held several seats with the Muscatine County Democrats. As a supervisor she said her decisions will have to do with business, and making sure she is cultivating the health, wealth and prosperity of the county and the state. She commented that things don’t tend to trickle down and if a supervisor isn’t doing things to grow the communities and people, business isn’t going to thrive.
“I’m hard-wired to be a thorough leader,” she said. “When I look at how government is set up at every level and I look at how all the wheels spin, the way we do things now is the people with the greatest needs are often the poorest among us but that right of way gives them the least amount of voice and the least amount of power. If you are not someone who understands that being a civil servant – because the word is servant – making your decisions, if you are not considering the effects your decisions have on the people who have the least amount of voice and the greatest needs, I don’t think you are being a good leader.”
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