2021 Voter Resource Guide

Election Day 2021 is Tuesday November 2! Voters will make decisions on local elected officials, as well as decide on two important ballot initiatives. While the Economic Alliance is a non-partisan entity and does 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 initiatives when they go to the polls.

This Voter Resource Guide serves to assist you in your decision-making process and was designed to be a resource for you when making your voting decisions. We recommend using these voting tools to see who will be on your ballot, learn more about the two public measures on the ballot, confirm you're registered to vote, or get registered to vote.

You don’t have to wait until November 2 to cast your ballot! In person early voting starts Oct. 13 at the Linn County Auditors’ offices and Lindale Mall and remain open for early voting until November 1 at 5:00 P.M. You can also request your absentee ballot now (see the link under Voter Tools) and vote by mail by October 18 if you can’t vote in person. Finally, the polls will be open on Election Day, November 2, from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M.

It's your opportunity to be heard, to hold elected officials accountable for their decisions and to have a say in the policies that affect the future of our community. Vote!

We recommend using this ballot tool to see who will be on your ballot. Use the below table of contents to skip to the races of your choice.

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:
319.398.5317
EconomicAlliance@cedarrapids.org

 

Barbra Solberg,
Economic Alliance
Public Policy Strategist

Races & Candidates

* = Denotes Incumbent

Cedar Rapids Mayor (vote for 1)
Amara Andrews
Myra Colby Bradwell
Brad Hart *
Tiffany O'Donnell

Cedar Rapids Council Member At Large (vote for 1)
Tyler Olson *

Cedar Rapids Council Member District 1 (vote for 1)
Marty Hoeger *

Cedar Rapids Council Member District 3 (vote for 1)
Tamara Marcus
Dale Todd * 

Cedar Rapids Council Member District 5 (vote for 1)
Ashley Vanorny *
 

Marion At Large (vote for 1)
Dale Monroe
Randy Strnad *

Marion At Large - To Fill Vacancy (vote for 1)
Grant Harper *

Marion Ward 2 (vote for 1)
Steve Jensen *

Marion Ward 4 (vote for 1)
Sara Mentzer

Hiawatha City Council
Robert Archibald * 
Jeffrey Carter
Marcia Correll
Steven Dodson * 

Robins Mayor (vote for 1)
Chuck Hinz *

Robins City Council (vote for 1)
Dave Franzman
Jamie Henley
Kim Johnson
J D Smith

Public Measures on the Ballot

Public Measure G: Gambling in Linn County
This measure, if approved, would permanently authorize gaming in Linn County and allow for Cedar Rapids to obtain approval again from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to operate a licensed casino. The Economic Alliance has previously supported casino development in Linn County because of the economic development opportunities one would bring to the metro area. Read more about the measure.

Public Measure H: Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) extension
This measure, if approved, would extend Linn County’s extra penny sales tax until 2024. Over the past ten years the penny sales tax has generated $31 million for Linn County to go toward road repair and recreational opportunities. The Economic Alliance Policy Board endorsed the Local Ooption Sales Tax extension public measure and encourages all members to vote YES on their ballots. Read more about the measure.
 

Cedar Rapids Mayor

Amara Andrews

Amara Andrews

Age: 46 Occupation: Director of Business Development and Strategic Communication at TrueNorth Companies

Why should the business community vote for you?
Quite simply put, I come from the business community. Right now, I serve as a leader at one of the largest homegrown businesses in Cedar Rapids. My husband owns and operates a small business right here in the Corridor. I created an incubator program for entrepreneurs at the University of Illinois. Many of my students went on to create successful enterprises. I understand the important role business plays in creating and sustaining a vibrant economy. Our municipal government should be invested in seeing our businesses – large and small – thrive, and if elected mayor, I will ensure that happens. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

I am a strong believer in collaboration. Our democracy was designed to encourage collaboration and compromise and there’s no reason why those principles shouldn’t be the bedrock of our local government. I believe that as long as people are genuinely interested in results and improving the lives of others, consensus is achievable. I have spent my career working to build consensus. Over the summer I worked with the mayor and city council on social justice issues, scoring some major victories that were only possible because I was able to get everyone around the negotiating table. Most of what I do as a leader at my company is centered around collaboration. We work to meet the needs of trucking enterprises as well as individual drivers simultaneously. In sum, the job of a mayor is to have a vision for our city and to chart a path for us to get there. That can only be possible when you understand how important it is to bring people together. If I’m elected, that is exactly what I will do.

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Photo Not Provided

Myra Colby Bradwell

Age:  Occupation: 

Why should the business community vote for you?
Not answered. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Not answered.

 

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Brad Hart

Brad Hart

Age: 65 Occupation: Retired business attorney and the current mayor of Cedar Rapids

Why should the business community vote for you?
The business community should support my re-election because of my experience and my results. As a business attorney, an analytical problem-solver, for almost 40 years I worked with hundreds of businesses, large and small, always trying to help them move forward and grow.  That work gave me a real understanding of the issues faced by our business community.  I was the board chair of the Chamber of Commerce immediately after the 2008 flood and helped successfully lobby in Des Moines and DC for financial help for our local businesses.  I’ve also chaired the boards of several other organizations, giving me a real understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in this community and allowing me to develop strong leadership skills.

Over the last four years as your mayor, I’ve worked hard to help lead us through a pandemic and recover from a derecho.  We’ve kept our taxes in line, our infrastructure strong, built important sections of our flood control system, fixed our streets, kept our business policies and procedures fair and reasonable, issued $1B in building permits to help grow our economy and our tax base, and more. We will create more recreational amenities in and around the river to attract and keep employees and their families here.  We will “ReLeaf” our city and recover from the loss of 65% of our tree canopy.  The best is yet to come as we fully recover from the pandemic and the derecho.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Having led many community groups and projects over the last 30 years I understand the value of giving everyone a voice and listening to differing opinions.   Often those differences are incorporated into a better and stronger direction or solution because both sides were heard and considered.  At the same time, I am passionate about this city and will, if needed, defend positions we’ve taken when doing so advances our goals for the entire city. 

I firmly believe city government should be non-partisan. I have and always will work with both parties to move Cedar Rapids forward.  Partisan politics often slows progress and I work hard to keep that from happening in our city government.  I’m proud of our city council for leaving any partisanship at the door when we come into city hall.  We’ve accomplished much by leaving party politics outside.

A recent example of how discussing different opinions can result in a better solution relates to the establishment of our citizen review board (“CRB”).   Initially, I did not believe Cedar Rapids needed a CRB because we have a CALEA accredited police department and have had only one “founded” claim of police brutality in the last 8-10 years. However, after meeting with proponents of a CRB, and working with our Police Chief, I recognized the benefits a CRB might have in building more trust between our PD and the community.  Both sides then discussed the different CRB models and agreed to develop a CRB that best fits Cedar Rapids.



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Tiffany O'Donnell

Tiffany O'Donnell

Age: 52  Occupation: Chief Executive Officer, Women Lead Change

Why should the business community vote for you?
Economic Development is one of the key drivers in my decision to run for Mayor. I feel we’ve become stagnant while we watch neighboring cities pass us by. I was part of the pro-growth phase post Floods of ’08 and see a similar opportunity today IF we seize the moment. As mayor, it will be my priority to ensure we are “Open for Business.”

As a leader it will be my job to ensure the city is an active partner in accelerating growth and opportunity for existing and new business. My philosophy is “find a way to ‘yes’.” I’m a firm believer in relationships and collaboration and I expect to leverage networks I have built throughout the community and state to ensure Cedar Rapids has every opportunity to be successful.

My priorities are Fix & Finish, Retain & Recruit and Drive & Thrive. That means fix the longstanding problems like our deteriorating streets and speed up Derecho recovery and flood protection. It means we prioritize retaining and supporting existing workers and businesses first, while strategically recruiting new businesses and building the future workforce. Then drive and thrive with a new vision for a vibrant city with a thriving downtown surrounded by unique self-sustaining neighborhoods. A walkable, bikeable community with a place for everyone. And a river that unites east and west!

My proven leadership abilities, combined with my award-winning communication skills and ability to cultivate successful relationships, makes me the right leader at the right time for Cedar Rapids.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

One of the reasons I feel so optimistic about the position of Cedar Rapids Mayor, is that it’s non-partisan. I’m not beholden to one political party or another. In fact, I have endorsements from Republicans and Democrats, alike. My financial support doesn’t come from national PACs
or parties, but from Iowans. I’m not running on national issues, but local issues. It’s all about Cedar Rapids for me. We have the opportunity to be a solutions-based government rather than issues-based if we pick the right candidate.

My campaign provides the best examples of my willingness to seek out those with opinions that are different than mine. I am running to be the mayor for everyone in Cedar Rapids, regardless of political affiliation. Because of my desire to learn more, connect more, understand more, I
have sought out leaders from groups ranging from the Sunrise Movement and Indivisibles to Five Seasons Republican Women. I truly want to understand views different than my own. I believe a good relationship is the first step to compromise. My team knows my mantra: “Find a way to yes.” An example from Women Lead Change, we sometimes have financial sponsors who have goals that may differ from our own. They may agree or disagree with speakers and programming for our events. It’s been my experience that by working together, identifying common goals, we’ve been successful in meeting the needs of all parties.

Open and honest communication is key, alongside a genuine desire to reach a successful outcome.

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Cedar Rapids Council Member At Large

Tyler Olson

Tyler Olson *

Age: 45 Occupation: CEO, Paulson Electric and President, SiteGen Solar

Why should the business community vote for you?
This Council tackles the big issues in our community with practical, common sense solutions. Since I joined the Council four years ago we have identified the long term source of local funding for flood control, ramping up annual construction spending over $40 million. The City Council has also prioritized affordable housing with support for the Neighborhood Finance Corporation and establishing the Affordable Housing Commission. We adopted a climate action plan, implemented a citizen review board,  and led the state in COVID response programs like rent assistance. The positive results speak for themselves with significant economic development wins and 2020 Census numbers that show Cedar Rapids is the fastest growing large city in Iowa.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

The Cedar Rapids City Council has been so successful moving the community forward because we put the community first. We all have different perspectives and bring them together to focus on local opportunities, local challenges, and local issues. Recovering from the 2008 Flood is a great example. I was serving in the State House at the time. While Democrats were in the majority I was a leader of the effort to secure hundreds of millions of dollars for Cedar Rapids to recover. A few years later Republicans were in the majority and I was a leader of the effort to secure $260+ million for permanent flood protection. Focusing on the local need and working with people with different perspectives led to success.

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Cedar Rapids Council Member District 1

Marty Heoger

Marty Hoeger *

Age: 49 Occupation: President/Owner Ogden & Adams Lumber

Why should the business community vote for you?
As a business owner myself I understand the challenges that occur from day to day in running a business from employee recruitment to retaining employees.  I believe that the city should do all it can to assist our current businesses grow here in Cedar Rapids through the programs we have available for them.  We need to recruit companies to our community that will compliment our current employers and not compete with them.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

I am running for a 2nd term because I believe in our community and feel we have the very best people living right here in or community.  We have proven that time and time again with several disasters that have hit our city from the floods of 2008, 2016 and this years Deracho.  During those times politics took a back seat as we helped our neighbors no matter what political party they belonged to.  Being a bipartisanship city council is one of the reasons why I chose to run 4 years ago and why I am running for a 2nd term.  Our current city council is made up of both Republicans, Democrats and Independents however we put those differences aside and make decisions that all of us feel are best for our city not based on what’s best for a party affiliation.   With that common mindset I feel I can work with whomever gets elected. 

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Cedar Rapids Council Member District 3

Tamara Marcus

Tamara Marcus

Age: 29 Occupation: Linn County Sustainability Manager

Why should the business community vote for you?
Having grown up in this community, I have personally witnessed the growth of our local businesses since the flood of 2008. I have observed the incredible amount of passion, creativity, and hard work that has gone into creating each unique establishment and business district. I believe in our local businesses and think we should be investing more into programs that support their needs. 

Our local businesses have been hit hard by derecho and COVID-19. My partner is a business owner so I have witnessed the struggles of the last few years firsthand. Through impact investing we can help our local businesses thrive and generate the social and environmental impact that will serve our entire community. Providing below-market-rate loans, making investments in for-profit companies that have explicit social or environmental missions, creating a public-private venture capital fund for value-driven enterprises, and providing financing to non-profits that serve the public interest (or improve macroeconomic conditions) are all ways we should explore helping our local businesses. Additionally, we should appeal to the state to help census tracts, some of which are quite impoverished, to gain recognition as opportunity zones.  

Not to be ignored is the value of making a personal connection with local business owners. Our electeds do not, cannot know everything, each of us is after all, only human. What is important is creating an environment and a relationship where people feel comfortable reaching out and asking for what they need.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Be patient, be curious, and be kind. As a science communicator, I have often been in conversations where there are points of disagreement. I think we can take for granted the things we know, and it can be very difficult to remind ourselves that not everyone has had the same access to information and life experiences as us. The more we can ask questions and listen to people we think we disagree with, the more likely we are to find the points we do agree on. And finding the intersectionality of our individual causes allows us to focus on these points of agreement to create policy and programs that work for many different groups. 

Most recently I worked with local community leaders to organize a fact-finding tour for residents of Palo and Coggon who had concerns about the proposed solar projects in these municipalities. An objective of this project was to inform the residents of the facts- and not just through conversations with the solar company officials, but also by incorporating perspectives from regular people affected by the project. But an equally important part of this work was that we did it together, people on different sides of an issue working together to plan this tour and explore the topic collaboratively. We began to not only learn more facts about the issue but also fostered a greater understanding of what motivated us individually. I believe that we need to do more of this.

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Dale Todd

Dale Todd *

Age: 64 Occupation: Director of Development Eastern Iowa, Hatch Development Company

Why should the business community vote for you?
We have worked together and achieved many successes throughout the years.  Learning how cities work and what makes them successful has been my work and lifelong passion. We have improved and hardened our infrastructure to stay resilient through disasters and accommodate new and expanding industry.  We have moved aggressively on flood control to protect business and industry located in the flood plain and attract new investment. 

A diverse economy that is innovative, resilient, ethical and makes common sense economic decisions driven by experienced leadership will succeed.  I understand firsthand the value to the business community in affordable housing, placemaking, job training, diversity, sustainability, public safety and childcare.    We buy local and encourage our citizens to do the same. 

For instance  we learned during the pandemic the importance of our restaurants to our community and worked to keep them open by allowing more outdoor opportunities and flexibility with city codes. 

Building on the framework of disaster recovery we have been able to reshape the face of downtown and the adjacent neighborhoods in my district. 

If you take an honest and subjective look at how our city government has performed during the pandemic, recession, civil protests, and the Derecho, I will humbly suggest that as a city we did very well.  We took our lumps and bruises, but we calmly got the work done that needed to get done.  It takes experience and leadership and those are the key traits that I bring to the table.  Our city is on the move.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

I have an established track record of working with people in a non-partisan way.  I have found that while beliefs and experiences might be diverse, we have more in common that brings us together than keeps us apart. With a good idea and a sound business plan, people will help. Connect CR is just one of the many examples.

I bring together people with common goals and connect diverse groups to resources, programs, and city staff to cut through red tape and achieve progress.  As the President of the Southside Investment Board I did this in NewBo when we were rebuilding from the flood, and also in my previous neighborhood leadership and in non-profit roles. I am transparent and no nonsense and bring years of experience and institutional history to projects that I am engaged in.  One of our City Manager’s favorite sayings is “we find a way.”  It is a part of our city staff’s culture and it is a part of mine.  If it makes sense to do and is in the best interest of our community, I work to make it happen. 

I am not afraid to make tough and unpopular decisions but bring honesty, integrity and compassion to the decision-making process and as Mayor Pro Tem and Chair of the Public Safety Committee I have the respect and support of city staff I and I strive daily to do the right thing.  I look forward to continuing to work together with the Economic Alliance.

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Cedar Rapids Council Member District 5

Ashley Vanorny

Ashley Vanorny *

Age: 36 Occupation: Clinic Administrator, UnityPoint Health; Owner, Vanorny Consulting, LLC; Brand Ambassador, Moxie Solar; Councilmember, City of Cedar Rapids

Why should the business community vote for you?
I love supporting our local business community. I take joy in rallying behind them. I work hard to discover and purchase everything that I can locally first before spending dollars outside of our community. Come gift giving time, my purchases support local businesses—role modeling for others through promotion, all the goods our community creates.

As the owner of a small consulting company, I understand how it takes the support of those around you, start-up capital to purchase the necessary equipment and internal infrastructure to support your operations. Small business owners also have to find a way to provide the full expense of their own benefits, which can be daunting.

I work to understand the needs of businesses working to attract and retain talent for growth and succession planning. This factors into advocacy to create a community that is walkable, provides arts and culture for entertainment with a variety of housing options spanning affordable to single family housing, good transportation, and options for tax incentives for businesses to choose and stay in Cedar Rapids.

We have so much homegrown talent in our community to celebrate. Our local companies continue to win industry awards. We must proactively invest in entrepreneurial incubators, work to reduce barriers for those working to start a business, and make sure we support and champion the products of our local businesses. The local business community must be a part of our strategic growth plans, as an integral part of our city growth planning.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

One of the things I enjoy so much in local government is the nonpartisan nature of it. I have never qualified my willingness to help anyone because of whatever partisan designation they have. What matters to me, is that they understand what resources and tools our local government has within its parameters. When someone reaches out, I work to answer their questions and connect them with whatever resources can facilitate their objectives.

Government is a large complex system that takes time and patience to comprehend. I work to break down policy for the everyday person so that it can be accessible. Recently someone came to me and felt like they were hitting a snag in some of their inspections. I walked them through how to contact our Fire Marshalls to accomplish this part of their restaurant opening, and they accomplished it that same day. I don't expect someone to know these terms or where to start, but I take great pride in assisting anyone who raises their hand to help make our government work for them.

During COVID, we have worked in tandem with businesses to find solutions to emerging problems. We have worked particularly closely with our area hospitals who we are incredibly fortunate to have in Cedar Rapids. Working in collaboration with them proved successful to help walk business owners through this public health crisis to ensure the safety of their customers and workers. This also included campaigns to rally and champion our local businesses. This often takes the form of me showing my purchases on my social media accounts, helping to showcase the wares of our community to help others discover them to enjoy.

I think it's important to accept that no person can be everything to everyone, but I try to meet everyone wherever they are. Local government has the ability to most intimately impact our citizen's every day by making sure that we look out for our neighbors. At the intersection of my careers in government and healthcare, my mission is to look after the wellness and wellbeing of my community. I work to do that with every interaction with Cedar Rapidians.


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Marion At Large

Dale Monroe

Dale Monroe

Age: 70 Occupation: Retired educator and business man

Why should the business community vote for you?

Dedication to the communities best interest, needs and success

A commitment to sound and valuable results

Exceptional communication, responsiveness and dependability

Extensive knowledge of State, Federal, and local guidelines and legislation

A commitment to building long-term relationships and collaboration and shared Decision-Making

Experience in system-wide information management and data-based decision making

A strong work ethic, high standards and integrity

 Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

As I listen, learn, ask clarifying questions and understand all points of view, I have been successful in developing solutions that provide the opportunity to disagree but agree live with a mutually developed solution. During my administrative tenure, holiday music was scrutinized and a demand made to eliminate any religious, various holiday characters and some cultural music from concerts and curricula. When we met with the complaintants, we asked "So you do not want to have your child know about other cultures or share their traditions in art, music, food and stories?" NO was the reply! We want full inclusion! That opened the door to a richer and complete educational experience for all students. They could see each others connection to the bigger picture. I have been successful as the chair of MEDCO, Marion Chamber, Junior Achievement and other service to community groups.

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Randy Strnad

Randy Strnad *

Age: 52 Occupation: Insurance Agent / Business Owner

Why should the business community vote for you?

This is a great question… I, as well, have owned and operated my insurance business for 25 years with 22 of them here in Marion.  I understand what it’s like to: create budgets, balance the books, generate payroll, make monthly federal payroll deposits and filing quarterly taxes. These are just a few requirements to only operate a business.  There are so many other details to running a business.  When working with our businesses, I listen to their needs not only as an Insurance Agent but as their elected official.  They all have worries, concerns and excitements about their businesses.  The one thing they all share is their excitement in being part of our community.  When our city council must make difficult decisions about topics like: street changes, ordinance or law changes, street signage, permits, event planning etc. I pay attention.  Being appointed to the CMPO (Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization) as a Policy Board member, allows me to work with so many infrastructure planning issues which are essential for these businesses.  One of the major goals for Marion has been to plan for our growth.  We are carefully studying and navigating through our Comprehensive Plan which helps us carefully create business opportunities and assist in creating great careers for our residents of Marion.  Understanding what a business goes through from the stage of an idea to fruition is what I do. I always look forward to meeting and working with current business owners and those who are thinking of starting one.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

The topic of this question is what is critical.  Bipartisanship and collaboration are how we move forward with direction and innovation in any community.  By having an Economic Development and Economic Alliance partner within our community, we have a platform for our city leaders and business owners to work from.  We certainly have had our challenges, sitting down at the table to have these conversations with developers and businesses who are coming to our city to set up shop.  I enjoy being asked to engage in these opportunities.  Though we may not all agree on everything, I can say that we all have respect for one another and the roles that we serve.  As I visit with individuals, there may be topics and requests that I do not agree with and vise-versa, again this is okay.  It’s okay to have differences, this is the beauty of our democracy.  At the planning stage, topics are discussed then passed onto planning & zoning and eventually presented to council as an example.  By having a platform in which to work from, businesses and city officials can collaborate and eventually come to a conclusion.  We all want and desire success for our community, but we have a process and path to follow.  Marion has wonderful existing and new businesses.   It’s exciting to see what the future holds.  By continuing to collaborate and work together, we will build the strongest city ever.  The decisions we make today will be the home for generations to come.

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Marion At Large - to Fill Vacancy

Grant Harper

Grant Harper *

Age: 67 Occupation: Retired, Member of Marion City Council

Why should the business community vote for you?
My experience on City Council has shown that ongoing municipal development is vital to show community vibrancy as a beacon to attract new businesses, customers, and residents, all of which must be completed with transparency and effective communications to the community. Therefore, my focus has been to ensure city funds are expended on driving a real cost-benefit and value to the community, advocating for a balance between promoting new development and maintaining existing community infrastructure and services.
 
As a council liaison to the Marion Metropolitan Airport Committee, I’ve helped focus on safe operations and the airport’s forward-looking development. Marion’s airport can be so much more than a hobbyist airfield to stimulate future business development in Marion. I am anxious for the business community to help energize future visions for the airport. 
 
As a member of the Executive and Policy Boards of the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization, the effective management of available federal funding for critical transportation projects is vital for Marion’s development and the broader Cedar Rapids metro area. Developing Marion in unison with the metro area helps to serve and drive our overall regional objectives.
 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Fortunately, city council positions are nonpartisan and legislatively focused, with most issues facing the City being service and infrastructure-based matters supported by fundamental analysis. Driven by the community’s needs, responsible spending on community assets like roads, water, sewer systems, and recreational facilities is primary. In addition, such expenditures benefit the overall business climate of the city. 
 
For the more complex issues facing the City, all stakeholders need to focus on measurements that accurately affirm the depth and severity of a given problem. Doing so allows the community to validate the issue and measure whether they are solving the identified problem for the community’s general good. A myriad of such problems faced the City during its ongoing response to the derecho. But while not a perfect fit, more typical examples of those matters that I have promoted through my assignments are periodic, structured reviews of city policies and the creation of operating standards and a development plan for the Marion Municipal Airport.
 
I believe I have effectively established my ability to work in a thoughtful, collaborative, manner and I shall let that belief underpin my future contributions to the City of Marion.


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Marion Ward 2

Steve Jensen

Steve Jensen *

Age:  Occupation: 

Why should the business community vote for you?

Sometimes, people tell me it must be bad to be in public office because then you get people complaining all the time. Actually, I have experienced the opposite. When I am representing the city at events like the farmers market, the majority of the comments I receive are positive and they are asking about the volume of projects going on throughout the city.

The biggest challenge businesses’ have is finding and retaining employees. Marion has invested in a wide variety of areas that enhance the quality of life for its citizens. That has been a key factor in the 20% population growth that Marion had since 2010. One of my main goals is to continue that momentum that Marion has been built up over the last several years.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

There are always differences of opinion within the city council and with citizens and outside groups. I am willing to listen to positions that vary from mine so that the best decision may be reached. One person or a group may not always have the best or complete information to make a decision. The respect for other people’s opinions and what they can contribute is key in working with others. Areas we have experienced recently with the pandemic, derecho and diversity issues have shown that collaboration is essential for a good outcome.

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Marion Ward 4

Sara Mentzer

Sara Mentzer

Age: 53 Occupation: Development Director, YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area

Why should the business community vote for you?

We have lived in Marion for over 25 years and I have spent most of those helping or leading initiatives to make Marion and our region the best place to work, live, play and raise a family.

I have deep experiences in Marion including working with both school districts on well-being initiatives, the Linn-Mar Foundation as a Board member, the Marion Chamber on tourism initiatives and the City of Marion on branding and the aquatics feasibility study. In addition I initiated the City of Marion well-being initiatives which include Sunrise Yoga at Lowe Park and our Uptown Community Garden providing produce to the Churches of Marion Food Pantry.  For over a decade I worked as a voice for the business community and appreciate the interdependent relationship between residents, workforce, business and amenities; a balance of these four components is critical.

Marion is growing at an exponential pace and residents are looking for the amenities that make Marion feel like home. It is the responsibility of leadership to bring everyone into the conversation giving all a voice within our community. The flavor of a community is often set by the heart of the area.  The Uptown area in Marion’s case, sets the community apart for visitors and residents as a place to gather, feel at home and tell the community story.  A strong economic engine of good paying jobs and careers along with amenities are top priorities for all communities and an area I have worked my entire career. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Much of my professional career has been spent working with differing approaches to either policies or positions on issues.  I have found that understanding the why in the side that may be in opposition is one step; the second is finding the areas where you do agree and moving those initiatives forward.  It is rare that everyone agrees on something, either the outcome or the how to do it, but when those involved are willing to be respectful of each other much can be accomplished.   Keys are listening, understanding and not creating a “them” vs. “us” scenario. Honest and open conversation is valued by most people.  As a resident I prefer knowing and acknowledging differences of opinions; working to find a compromise versus things being done behind the scenes leaving the process feeling not genuine.


While my past is filled with community initiatives that involved different groups and political parties working together, most recently my involvement with the site selection, design and fundraising for the new Marion YMCA and Rec Center is filled with examples. Building this community amenity involved residents, community partners, sponsors, donors and staff all with input and ideas on how to make design the best facility for the decades to come. We collaborated and compromised with all constituents on everything from location to building design and have successfully delivered a premier facility to our community.
 

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Hiawatha City Council

Steve Dodson

Steve Dodson *

Age: 69 Occupation: Retired from Mercy Medical Center as of June 2020

Why should the business community vote for you?
I believe that all businesses, both large/small, corporations, mom and pop stores, restaurants whether a large chain or family owned/operated, should be treated with respect and equitably. When they speak, I give my attention to them and listen. Those that operate these businesses and the people they employ, are just as important to a city as well as their citizens. While in fact, a lot of them work and live here. If a business has a problem, I want to be able to help find a solution with them. As a council member it is my responsibility to help promote our city, our business climate and our citizens. Together, we can grow and do almost anything. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

The City of Hiawatha has a great working relationship with most all of the businesses in Hiawatha and the developers who want to build here. They have found it easy to get permits, information and the ability to talk with city hall about their needs. We have had a developer who wanted a higher and longer TIF than we normally give out. They were asking for 100% over a 10 year period. We had discussions with the developer and explained that our city tries to maintain a fair TIF to all developers, which is 75% over a 5 year period. They agreed with us, stating that in some cities, it seems like they play favorites and determine their TIF based on that. Another example is our sewer rate. For years, Hiawatha had a flat rate for sewer for businesses. Our city engineer and city manager did a lot of research and found that the city was "losing" money every year by having a flat rate. We are raising the sewer rate for businesses based on non-permeable surface area their business has. The rate will go up in small amounts, incrementally, for 5 years and then level off. The city has had very little pushback and in discussions with businesses who have locations in other Iowa cities, they wondered when we would do this. They know, as we have found out, that other cities have done this for a long time.

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Robert Archibald *

Age: 38 Occupation: Industrial Health & Safety Specialist, Collins Aerospace

Why should the business community vote for you?
Over the last four years I have been a relentless advocate for all Hiawatha businesses, and this will continue. During the difficult last several years the City of Hiawatha has done our best to create an environment that allowed Hiawatha business to remain successful through a pandemic, natural disasters, and other difficult times. As a council member I have and will continue to make sure that Hiawatha businesses are serviced by the highest level of services and promote any changes that are needed to continue this growth. I will continue to support the Hiawatha Economic Development Company as a tool for local business to grow and thrive within Hiawatha. The continued growth of regional businesses will recruit top notch candidates and retain the fantastic candidates that already call this area home. Effective use of tax incrementing financing will be used as a catalyst for business growth that supports the region and does not drive competition amongst cities.  

I have a goal to make myself available to listen to business owners and all residents about concerns and suggestions that would improve working with the City of Hiawatha. I will work with everyone in the community to create solutions that support the city and our residents holistically.  

"Growing up in the area, I have a passion for the city and firmly believe Hiawatha is a great place to raise a family and grow a business."

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Not answered.

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Jeffrey Carter

Age:  Occupation:

Why should the business community vote for you?
Not answered. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Not answered.

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Marcia Correll

Withdrew from race. 

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Robins Mayor

Photo Not Provided

Chuck Hinz *

Age: Occupation: 

Why should the business community vote for you?
Not answered. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Not answered.

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Robins City Council

Dave Franzman

Dave Franzman

Age: 68 Occupation: Retired from KCRG-TV9 as on-air reporter in 2019.

Why should the business community vote for you?
I would appreciate any support from your members who live in Robins and consider economic development one of the areas I would concentrate on if elected.  When I moved to Robins in the early 90s, the entire retail sector of this community’s economy consisted of a soda pop vending machine outside a garage on Main Street.  There were perhaps a handful of commercial businesses.   In recent years, that has changed with the addition of two bar/restaurants, car wash, bank, fitness center, convenience store and other offerings in a commercial development.  There is also even newer health care facilities with a skilled nursing care unit and a hospital transitional care location.  I would like to encourage more developments like this to keep diversifying Robins and become even less reliant on residential housing to grow our community.  Specifically, I would like to work on bringing independent senior living options to our community. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

As to collaboration, when I was a reporter I did not get to pick and choose only certain groups or individuals and limit my reporting to their activities.  I had to learn how to approach and listen to many different individuals and persuade them to participate in local news coverage.  Local news is obviously different from local politics.  But there are certainly some similarities.  Listening to people who might not share your ideas or beliefs and treating all with fairness is certainly something I had to learn to do in my former working life and would apply to local government if elected to the city council.
 

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Robin Jamie Henley

Jamie Henley

Age: 46 Occupation: COO at Community Health Free Clinic and Owner, Giving Tree Theater

Why should the business community vote for you?
As a small business owner, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities that face the business community and will work hard to ensure we work together to address those and help businesses thrive in Robins.As a small business owner, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities that face the business community and will work hard to ensure we work together to address those and help businesses thrive in Robins.

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

I believe it is vital for the business community and city government to collaborate and work together to improve our community.  I take the approach of finding areas where we can agree and focus on those to help improve our community.   

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Kim Johnson

Withdrew from race.

 

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Photo Not Provided

J D Smith

Age: Occupation: 

Why should the business community vote for you?
Not answered. 

Promoting bipartisanship and collaboration is important to the Economic Alliance and our members. What is your approach in working with people or groups that may disagree with your positions? Please provide examples.

Not answered.

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