Indira Sheumaker, the former city council member who self-identifies as a "queer feminine," didn't show up to any city council meetings or workshops since March 6, nor did she communicate her absence. Sheumaker was first elected to her seat in 2021 and served constituents in Ward 1, according to Des Moines Register.
Randy Sheumaker, Indira's father, hand-delivered his daughter's resignation letter to the city on Aug. 31, which was filed with the city clerk's office, the outlet reports.
Mayor Frank Cownie said in a statement that the city will take the proper steps to fill the vacant seat and that they "wish Ms. Sheumaker the best and appreciate Ms. Sheumaker's time on the council."
According to Indira's father, Sheumaker had been reportedly hospitalized in April, but he didn't go into specifics, the Register reports. Sheumaker has stated in the past the she suffers from clinical anxiety and depression, which increased during COVID-19 isolation. In 2022, Sheumaker also took a leave of absence to focus on her mental health.
The council is permitted by law to fill a vacancy by appointment. A formal public notice must be given before the appointment and it must be made within 60 days after the vacancy. The council may also decide to organize a special election, either alone or in conjunction with another election that is already scheduled. If the city intends to have a primary, notice must be given 60 days prior to the primary or at least 32 days before the election.
Sheumaker, an organizer for the Black Liberation Movement, ran on "defunding the police" and won in an upset victory after defeating longtime incumbent in 2021.
The next general election in Iowa is Nov. 7, according to the outlet.
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