Meet Cedar Falls’ mayoral candidates

Elle Olthoff, Guest Writer

On Nov. 2, Cedar Falls citizens will place their votes for who will become the next mayor of Cedar Falls and hold the two year term position.

The election for mayor this year is a split three way race between incumbent Mayor Rob Green, Dave Sires and Tom Blanford. 

“If Mayor Green retains the office of mayor, he will remain the 47th mayor of the city of Cedar Falls,” Cedar Falls City Clerk Jacque Danielsen said. “If someone else is elected as mayor, they will become the 48th mayor of Cedar Falls.”

Current Mayor Green has served in this role since Jan. 1, 2020, and will finish up this term Jan. 1, 2022. He has his masters degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Northern Iowa and also has a Government and Public Policy degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Currently, he is in the works of getting another masters degree from UNI for Library and Information Science. 

In his past, he has spent time as a U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska and Washington D.C and was a full-time web-developer at UNI. Besides being the current mayor he is also a successful start-up entrepreneur. Now Green is married to Waterloo native wife Jocelyn Green, and together the two of them have two young children. 

Green is focused on a few major categories during his mayoral candidate run. He groups his issues into three categories, including quality of life, economic development, and government efficiency. 

Within the quality of life category, Green is focused on making streets more walkable for pedestrians and is in favor of more people using public transportation. Additionally, he is in support of a limited window of time for firework use but wants to increase fines for misuse and increase education on the proper use of fireworks. He would like to keep downtown as a place to promote business and be the city center for Cedar Falls. 

Under his economic development platform, Green wants to incentivize development with existing infrastructure and create a tighter community between older generations and millennials. He also wants to place a focus on remote worker retention and attraction of Cedar Falls as a great place to settle down. 

Finally, with government efficiency Green desires to make City Council meetings easier to understand for the public so they can be a part of what takes place at them. He also wants to make Council Chambers more accessible for those who may have a disability, and he wants to address certain City Ordinances that may be left up for interpretation.

“I believe one of the mayor’s most important responsibilities is to be the ‘conscience’ of the city,” Green said in response to a candidate questionnaire. “Any mayor should be committed to representing the best of what the community’s all about – to put the city’s interests light years ahead of their own interests.”

Another person in the running for mayor is Blanford. Blanford is a long-time citizen of Cedar Falls. He grew up attending Cedar Falls High School and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Political Science degree.

Currently he works as the Vice President of Administration for Collins Holding Company in Cedar Falls, serves on a number of boards throughout the community, and has in the past held positions on the Cedar Falls City Council. 

Blanford breaks down his platform into three main categories as well, and they include, Community, Economy, and Trust.

“The three points, Community, Economy, and Trust, are to me, the core functions of local government,” Blanford said, “I view the role of local elected officials as creating a community that is safe and welcoming, building a diverse local economy that provides opportunity, and generating trust in the idea that local government can be a partner and a force for positive change.”

Under Community, Blanford discusses that he desires to create a healthier community with a focus put towards mental health, build partnerships within the community from schools to businesses helping each other, as well as preserve historic downtown areas and plan and prepare housing for the expansion of the city. 

With his Economy platform, Blanford wants to expand Internship opportunities and create a student loan forgiveness program for students who agree to stay in the community for a certain number of years. Additionally, he wants to create a new mode of public transportation and place a focus on energy efficiency.

Finally with his Trust platform Blanford discusses how he would be a “24/7 mayor.” He would remain engaged with the public and work to create an open and accessible City Hall.

The final candidate running for mayor is Sires. Sires is a lifetime Cedar Falls resident. He is also a business owner to several different businesses, and he has worked in construction for a portion of his life.

Currently he is serving on the Cedar Falls City Council as the Council Member at Large. He has held this position since January 1, 2020 and will hold it until December 31, 2023. So, if elected to become mayor someone else would be elected to finish his role on the City Council. 

According to Sire’s candidacy signs, he runs his platform on the statement to, “Put the People Back in Charge.” 

“It is time to put the power back into the hands of the residents and establish the people’s voice in the elected members that represent the public,” Sires stated in his Official Statement of Candidacy. 

Because his platform runs on being a voice for the community much of his platform is based on what he believes the desire of the community is. He has a strong desire to be a voice for the residents of Cedar Falls and feels that in the past this has been something that has not happened. 

One of his main focuses is to have a separate fire and police departments, because he believes that this will better allow each separate department to take care of the City and be more properly trained in their field. He also wants to eliminate the Public Safety Director position in support of establishing separate Fire and Police Chiefs who maintain this role.

He also wants to place a focus onto public safety, economic development, and making sure that taxes people are paying in Cedar Falls are actually going towards projects that are taking shape and not just sitting.

The election is particularly interesting this year because typically it is a two person race, but this year it is a three way race, so it becomes much harder for one candidate to receive a majority vote and win the election. 

“The Cedar Falls City Code of Ordinances calls for a runoff in the event that no candidate gets 50% +1 of the votes. If no candidate can get over 50% of the votes in the regular election, then the top 2 vote getters run against each other in a runoff election,” Cedar Falls City Clerk Jacque Danielsen said in an email interview. “This is to assure that the winner is elected by the majority of the voters who voted in the election. What is important to understand is that although one candidate may receive the most votes in the regular election (but not 50% +1), they can lose in the runoff because the votes of the third candidate who was eliminated may get directed to the second highest vote getter.