Christine Hensley, the longest-serving member of the Des Moines City Council, has decided not to run for re-election when her term expires at the end of this year.

At that point, Hensley will have served 24 years on the council, having a hand in $2.5 billion worth of projects.

Sure, she’s had her frustrations, but Hensley is almost universally positive about the experience even after more than two decades in the rough-and-tumble world of local politics, in which heavily lobbied council members who are supposedly nonpartisan toil in a politically influenced glass house.

”I loved 99.9 percent of it,” said Hensley, preparing to leave her council chair at age 67.
“I’ve got a tremendous amount done, and it’s time for me to look at the next chapter and figure out what I’m going to do.”

Now, entering what she hopes will be a productive run, if a lame-duck one, in her final months on the council, some might wonder if she’ll run for the Statehouse. Maybe, but that’s not the immediate plan. And she won’t be running for Congress.

“I have no desire to run for office in D.C.,” Hensley said. “I was born and raised in Des Moines. All my family is here. I want to take a breather, and spend a little more time with family.”

We spoke to Hensley about her victories, challenges, beauty tips from constituents, undone business, and plans. Continue reading to for the full Insider story