Elizabeth VanCamp, former Marketing and Development Director at QC Hand-in-Hand and current Social Media Specialist for the University of Iowa Hospitals, announced her candidacy for Davenport Mayor on Saturday at Emeis Park.
In her announcement, VanCamp highlighted that she was currently working with Parks and Recreation to start a community garden at Emeis.
"The biggest perk of a community garden is the community aspect it provides. It brings people together from all walks of life within a neighborhood and creates a common goal," she said. "That's perfect because that's what I want to do in Davenport. I want to bring people together, identify common goals and what needs to be improved and work collaboratively to make Davenport a better place to live."
VanCamp said she was running for Mayor because she wants to incite positive change in the city where she grew up, attended school and is now raising a family. Davenport still has a lot of work to do, and VanCamp says she would focus on crime and juvenile justice reform, climate change, poverty and jobs, infrastructure, riverfront and flooding plans and school improvement.
"Some people will say we need to focus on just one of these things. Others will say that not all of these things need to be focused on equally," VanCamp said. She exhorted those people and others to put themselves in another's shoes for a moment. "Imagine you're one of the thousands of families in Davenport that can't afford basic essentials each month. Imagine you're a teenager of color being charged as an adult for a crime while a white teenager is being charged as a juvenile for a much more serious crime."
The agenda may sound like a lot but it all must be addressed to continue progress on Davenport, VanCamp said. "We'll do this by bringing our community together, working collaboratively to find solutions and fighting for better quality of life for every citizen."
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VanCamp quoted Michelle Obama in her announcement, saying it's important to have one foot planted in reality while having the other planted in the direction of progress. "This is my belief too, and it's what I would do as your mayor."
Currently in the process of gathering signatures, VanCamp says she will accept any and all help as a grassroots candidate.
In an interview after the announcement, VanCamp said she had been thinking about getting into politics for some time but her lack of political experience and age had held her back. "I decided that that shouldn't matter because I want to help make this community better and I want to be a voice and an advocate for those who maybe haven't had that so far."
VanCamp says she'll be meeting with people at the juvenile courts office to find out what there is to improve in the juvenile court system and how she can advocate as Mayor at the state level for juvenile justice reform, as well as with public works to find out what their needs are.
The fifth declared candidate, VanCamp joins Alderwoman Rita Rawson of the 5th Ward, Alderman Mike Matson of the 7th Ward, retired insurance man Steve Duffy and Davenport public works employee Dean Weber. Current Mayor Frank Klipsch announced he will not run again in December.