Cedar Rapids will hold a “Runoff” Election for Mayor on Tuesday November 30! In Iowa, candidates for office must receive 50% plus 1 of the votes to win. If this does not happen, as is the case with the Cedar Rapids mayoral election on November 2, the two candidates who received the most votes will participate in a runoff election. Cedar Rapids residents will now decide between Tiffany O’Donnell and Amara Andrews to be the next mayor. Runoff Election Day is November 30.
To help our members in their voter decision, the Economic Alliance has once again put together a Voter Resource Guide. While we are a non-partisan entity and do not formally endorse or donate to political candidates, we do encourage our members to be informed on the issues and vote for business and community-friendly candidates and initiative when they go to the polls.
As was the case before, you don’t have to wait until November 30 to cast your ballot! You can request an absentee ballot request form now and return it to the Linn County Election Services office by November 15, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. In person early voting dates and locations will be announced by Linn County soon. We will update our Election Day Toolkit when that information becomes available. Finally, the polls will be open on Election Day, November 30, from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M.
We hope you find this Voter Resource Guide useful in helping to make your voting decisions. Contact the Economic Alliance’s Public Policy Strategist, Barbra Solberg, with any questions.
This message is paid for by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 501 First St. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401. The executive director of the Economic Alliance is Doug Neumann. This message is not authorized by any candidate, candidate’s committee or ballot issue committee.
Economic Alliance contact information:
Races & Candidates
* = Denotes Incumbent
Cedar Rapids Mayor
Amara AndrewsAge: 46 Occupation: Director of Business Development and Strategic Communication at TrueNorth Companies
What differentiates you from your opponent?
What programs (new or existing) will you support to attract and keep businesses in Cedar Rapids?
We must prioritize our existing businesses, helping them to grow and flourish. I support tax increment financing (TIF) programs for local businesses and to help out-of-state businesses locate here with some conditions. We should ensure that TIF is reserved for companies that provide living wages, build with local union labor, and commit to sustainability and meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
I also have a particular interest in further developing our startup ecosystem and would like to provide more support for entrepreneurs and investors. Examples include:
What areas of focus, improvements and/or resources are needed to create a more welcoming experience for visitors and to be more successful at attracting workforce to Cedar Rapids?
We have a great city but we haven’t reached our potential. We must recognize areas of opportunity like attracting and retaining diverse populations to help build our workforce and strengthen our communities. We need to develop a social and corporate culture that values a living wage, robust DEI plans, affordable housing and childcare options, among other things. Taking care of our workforce will not only help us retain talent, but it will attract talent as well.
When it comes to entertainment options, there are plenty of exciting things happening in our city already, but people don’t know about these events. In order to solve this problem, we need to work with our partners interested in economic development to better advertise these events. Our communications strategy must be able to reach everyone in our city, including diverse and underserved populations and this includes improving the City’s social media presence.
What ideas do you have for filling open commercial space in downtown?
In order to better understand how to use open commercial space in our downtown district, we must first try to understand our needs. The Economic Alliance and other partners often engage in market research, analyzing economic trends and developing forecasts that give us an idea of where we're headed. We should use this data to supplement our own economic development team’s work to give us an idea of how this space should be used. We could also explore a program that would subsidize prime commercial real estate spaces for startup businesses. One large obstacle to businesses relocating downtown has always been parking and that is something the City can work on addressing.
How will you engage citizens, city staff and our surrounding communities?
I decided to run for office after my own experience engaging with city officials to develop a citizen’s review board for Cedar Rapids. This was a huge undertaking because of the lack of access everyday citizens have to City government. Making government more accessible means sponsoring more town halls in every quadrant of the city. It means actively inviting community groups and residents to participate in meetings where big issues are discussed. It also means investing deeply in fostering relationships with surrounding municipalities and other governments to tap into our Collective IQ. We will make better, more effective and inclusive policies when we bring more people to the table to address the challenges ahead.
Tiffany O'DonnellAge: 52 Occupation: Chief Executive Officer, Women Lead Change
What differentiates you from your opponent?