Why are you running for Davenport City Council?
I want Davenport to be the Vibrant City on the Mississippi that we can all be proud to call home, a place where our children want to live as adults. In order to achieve this goal we need to invest in the kinds of infrastructure that supports the businesses that will attract professional and skilled workers. The future of Davenport will be as good as the effort we put into an intentional path addressing the needs of our citizens, present and future. I am running because I want to held accountable for not only addressing the routine issues we all expect the City to perform in the most efficient manner possible, but for assuring that 10-25-50-100 years from now, Davenport citizens will look back and appreciate the planning that went into the trajectory that lead to being the Vibrant City on the Mississippi.
How does your work, public service or volunteer experience translate to serving on the Davenport City Council?
Governor Branstad nominated and the Iowa Senate confirmed me to the Iowa Early Childhood State Board in 2013. I am currently serving as Vice President. I have worked extensively with the Iowa Directors of Public Health and Human Services to develop a collaborative approach to early childhood funding in the state resulting in a strategic plan, which will benefit young children throughout Iowa. From 2011 until 2017 I also served on the Scott County Kids Early Childhood Iowa Board, one of 39 area boards across the state. I was elected to the Davenport Community School District Board of Directors in 2001 and retired last month after being on the board for 16 years. As the board's Chair of Legislative Advocacy Committee I developed relationships with many legislators, including our local state senators and representatives. I believe having these relationships is valuable to a City Council Member. I have participated in numerous intergovernmental meetings with area mayors and the Scott County Board of Supervisors. As a board member I was responsible for approving the district budget, which is larger than the City of Davenport's.
In your estimation, what are the strengths of the city of Davenport?
After some early concerns about meeting the requirements of Iowa's Open Meetings laws, I believe the Mayor and Council are doing a good job of leading the city's affairs. I believe the collaborative efforts being taken with Quad Cities First to market our regional assets is vastly superior to individual city's competing directly against one another for business locations. Despite the uptick in crime, I believe our police are doing a commendable job of trying to anticipate and prevent crimes before they happen. The Neighborhood Energized to Succeed (NETS) is a prime example of preventative efforts. I believe our broad diversity in so many areas is an absolute strength both in our schools and in our city as a whole. Over the last couple of years the city-school partnership has grown stronger, recognizing that as former Mayor Gluba liked to say, "As goes the schools, so goes the city."
What are the areas the city of Davenport can improve on?
Over the last 10 years our council members have worked collaboratively in the interest of the city. I am concerned that recent inter-council bickering detracts from the ability to work in our best interests. While walking door to door many people have indicated that they are not receiving services commensurate with their taxes.
The news of a Costco Wholesale location coming to the 6th Ward was met with both excitement and concern. As a resident of the 6th Ward and potential representative of its constituents, how would you assess the city of Davenport’s response to the concerns and do you agree with the decision to rezone the property? If no, how would you have handled it differently?
Forty-one residents of D62 petitioned me to represent their concerns regarding potential traffic congestion and water runoff from the proposed COSTCO. I talked with Community Planning and Economic Development Director; Bruce Berger who carefully explained the planning that had gone into the effort to minimize traffic congestion and storm water runoff. Based on my discussion with a number of residents, I believe their questions had merit and might have been more fully addressed by the city.
Regarding re-zoning: I believe the City Plan and Zoning Commission and City Council followed due process and made the right decision. Would I have liked to have seen the facility built on blighted property? Yes, but I understand that business decisions about location are carefully vetted.
The 6th Ward has not had regularly scheduled ward meetings for some time. Will you look to reintroduce regular meetings? If not, what are the methods you intend to use to engage residents of the 6th Ward with?
Absolutely. I'm not certain why Alderman Justin did not hold Ward 6 Meetings but as a representative of the 6th I very much look forward to providing an opportunity for residents to come together and discuss issues. There are obviously many ways for residents to contact their alderman, but I consider 6th Ward Meetings an essential aspect of local democracy.