My City Council Application

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

--Wayne Gretzky

I rolled into Iowa City along with my parents on a blisteringly hot day in August of 1987. They unloaded some stuff from the moving truck into our then-house on Glendale Court and then we went out to eat at Mazzio's Pizza now long since departed from its location at the corner of First Avenue and Lower Muscatine Road. With a brief three-year absence for a sojourn to graduate school up in Minnesota, I've lived here more or less my entire life. I got a job here. I purchased a house here. I have a family that's growing up here and going to school here. I am deeply embedded in this community. 

I graduated from Iowa City High School in 2001. I graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Political Science in 2006, following it up with an MA in Political Science from Minnesota State University-Mankato. As a state-certified 911 Dispatcher, I have a unique, bird's eye view of the challenges facing the unhoused population in Iowa City as well as the inequities that people of color face in our community every day. 

One of the advantages of having lived here so long is that you become very aware of how a community can change. Sometimes, it's for the best and sometimes it's not. It's very easy to get lost in nostalgia. I remember downtown being the focal point of our community growing up. I remember things like Pizza Hut and Great Midwestern Ice Cream. I remember Aladdin's Castle and an actual mall downtown. Change is inevitable with the passage of time: we can't go back, but we're left with the inescapable feeling that the community doesn't feel as connected as it once did.

How can we remedy that?

I want to encourage the revitalization of areas like the Iowa City Marketplace and explore bringing more vibrant economic development to other parts of our city. 

I want to advocate for real affordable housing-- not just a few units tacked on as an afterthought to yet another large, fancy high-rise project- but more housing so that people who work in our community might actually be able to afford to live here. 

I believe that we can only make our democracy better from the ground up. I would work to advocate for and hopefully implement ranked choice voting for our local elections. 

(Also, on a perhaps less important note: given that Cedar Rapids just got itself a nice new flag, I think it's high time for the City of Literature to follow suit, don't you?)

Lastly and perhaps most importantly of all, I want to listen and learn. At the end of the day, I don't own a business. I live here, make my home here and raise my family here. There are plenty of people just like me who do the same and feel like their voices don't matter. I want to be able to make sure that they do.

What's my current knowledge of the City Council? I freely admit that as a community member, I would have a lot of learning to do if appointed to this position. I would have to learn how things work and not just complain about how they're not working and that's a very hard concept for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.

I do know that I am, at heart, a solutions-oriented person. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than actually solving a problem. I don't want to soapbox about problems. I don't want to watch problems fester and grow. I want to be part of a consensus that will hopefully solve the problems in our community and help encourage its continued distinctiveness.

In short, I believe I am a strong candidate for this position, and look forward to the opportunity to discuss this position more with you in January.

Thank you for your time.

(Editor's Note: I might tweak this somewhat on the actual application as I'm sure I'm going to be limited by web-based form space/character limits, but if there's a thesis statement for shooting my proverbial shot with this, I would say this sums it up.)

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