The 2023 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame inductees were recently announced by the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women. Among the distinguished inductees is Mayor Paula Dierenfeld. Her commitment to serving Johnston residents since 2008 positions her as the current longest-serving female mayor in Iowa.
An induction ceremony for the honorees will take place on Saturday, August 26, at the State Capitol Rotunda at 9:30 a.m. Visit https://humanrights.iowa.gov/icsw/iowa-womens-hall-fame for more information.
Mayor Dierenfeld's notable accomplishments, listed below, serve as a testament to her esteemed induction:
Mayor Paula Dierenfeld has a long and distinguished career in law and public service. Mayor Dierenfeld spent 15 years working in state and federal government positions that included being a staff member to a U.S. Senator, legal counsel to the governor of Iowa, an Iowa Utilities Board Commissioner and staff director in the Iowa Legislature. She went on from government to practice law for 22 years at the Nyemaster Goode law firm.
Mayor Dierenfeld was elected to the Johnston City Council in 1999, where she completed two terms before being elected as mayor in 2008. Since then, she has relentlessly championed Johnston as its mayor, becoming Iowa's current longest-serving female mayor.
Over the course of Mayor Dierenfeld's leadership, Johnston has flourished with substantial growth and prosperity. The city's population has swelled from approximately 8,000 to over 26,000 residents, accompanied by a 25 percent expansion in land area. During her tenure, vital infrastructure projects were accomplished, including a new public safety building, city hall, Town Center, a sprawling 200-acre city park, and an extensive network of 50 miles of recreational trails. As acknowledged by multiple national publications, Johnston is one of the safest cities to reside in, further underscoring Mayor Dierenfeld's impactful leadership.
Mayor Dierenfeld has led efforts at the local level to wipe out sex-trafficking massage parlors in Iowa cities. She drafted the first city ordinance authorizing a city to investigate and verify the legitimacy of a massage business before its operating in a community. The Johnston ordinance has become a model for other Iowa cities to follow.
She has become an inspiration for females of all ages, promoting participation, competition, and excellence in sports. A dedicated runner since her early twenties, she has completed over two dozen marathons. Her passion for running has also translated into significant philanthropy; she has raised nearly $58,000 over nine years for the Johnston Partnership Food Pantry through the annual Mayor's Run for Food. As if her running isn't enough, at age 60, she learned to swim and has become an advocate for people of all ages to learn this life saving skill.
Now retired from her law practice, she manages her family's farm in Sac City, Iowa, while continuing to serve as Johnston's mayor. This phase of life allows Mayor Dierenfeld to spend more quality time with her husband, three children, 13 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Congratulations to Mayor Dierenfeld on this induction! You certainly make Johnston proud.