You are here

Angela Connolly

2016 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame Honoree: Angela Connolly

“Angela is known as someone who gets things done. She is feisty, fearless, and tenacious. But she is also in equal measure, thoughtful, compassionate, and patient. Those powerful traits have helped Angela weather tremendous challenges and actualize her goal of making Iowa a better place.”
--Written by Henny Ohr, nominator

photo of Angela Connolly

Angela Connolly is a native Iowan, born to second-generation Italian immigrants.  Her parents owned a small Italian restaurant, which was like a second home for Angela and her three brothers.  The restaurant is where Angela learned the value of hard work.  She attended Kansas University after high school to study liberal arts.  She returned to Iowa to marry her husband Tom in 1974 and together they have three children and four grandchildren.

Angela began her career in the Polk County Public Works Department as a Zoning Enforcement Officer where she was a dedicated employee for nearly 20 years.  She was first elected as a Polk County Supervisor in 1998. Angela is one of three female Supervisors to be elected to the Polk County Board of Supervisors in more than 150 years.  She represents the 2nd District which includes the northwestern area of the City of Des Moines, a portion of unincorporated Polk County, and the suburb of West Des Moines.

Community engagement has always been a priority for Angela and she enjoys participating regularly in neighborhood organizations and civic activities.  Angela currently serves as Co-Chair of The Tomorrow Plan and Tri-Chair for Capital Crossroads: A Vision for Greater Des Moines and Central Iowa and is the Chair of Rebuilding Together.  In addition, she represents the Board of Supervisors on the following boards: Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority – DART, Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, Polk County Health Services, Riverfront Development Authority, Des Moines Arts Board, Polk County Housing Trust Fund, and the Homeless Coordinating Council.

Angela has played a leadership role in many significant far-reaching efforts that have improved life for Polk County residents and strengthened the communities and economy of Central Iowa.  For example, she is an advocate for our most vulnerable citizens facing mental illness and is a leader in enhancing crisis services in our community, such as the Crisis Observation Center which opened in 2014; she championed a referendum to update three downtown courthouse facilities which will centralize court services and enhance safety; she was one of the strongest supporters for the construction of Wells Fargo Arena at the Iowa Events Center, which has been a key driver in the revitalization of downtown Des Moines; she championed a centralized intake system for over 20 homeless outreach providers; she encourages regional collaboration for increasing affordable housing; she advocates for Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services for victims of crime, the majority of whom are women; and she leads efforts to increase linguistic and culturally appropriate basic human services for refugee families.