Meet the candidates for Cedar Falls City Council

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Four City Council seats are up for grabs in the election starting Nov. 2.

DAVID WARRINGTON

Alongside the Cedar Falls mayoral race, there are also four city council seats -up for grabs this election cycle. All of these races are to earn a four-year term. 

One of the two at-large city council spots will be up for grabs. The incumbent is Kelly Dunn, who has held that spot since 2020, finishing the rest of Green’s term after he took over as mayor. Dunn grew up in Aurora, about 45 miles from Cedar Falls, and moved to the area in 1996 to attend Hawkeye Community College and later UNI. Dunn is currently a licensed practical nurse. 

Dunn’s opponent will be T.J. Frein. Frein, who is a veteran of the Waterloo Police Department, was one of the five candidates in a special election for Green’s vacant at-large seat in 2019 – the race that was eventually won by Dunn.

The Ward 1 city council spot will also be decided, and this race is unique because the incumbent Mark Miller, who has held the position since 2014, has decided not to run for reelection. The first challenger, Derek Peisen, is a lifelong resident of Cedar Falls, a veteran of the United States military and now works as a mechanic. 

His opponent, Gil Schultz, retired from Deere and Co. in 2016 after working there for 29 years. He is now a professor in UNI’s industrial technology department as well as a consultant for Kelly Services in Waterloo.

The next spot up for election is the Ward 3 city council position. Like the mayoral race, this will also be a three-way race, and is likely to force a runoff election. 

The incumbent is Daryl Kruse, who is completing his first term that started in 2018. Kruse is a UNI graduate, receiving a degree in finance and economics. Since then he has worked as a certified financial planner for Ameriprise Financial for the past 31 years, and has also been a real estate investor and a landlord. 

Kruse’s first challenger will be Kara Bigelow-Baker, a hairstylist who was inspired to run by hearing complaints from her customers. 

Kruse’s second challenger is Carole Yates, who is retired from a career as a program manager for UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education.

The final city council spot up for grabs is the position representing Ward 5. Frank Darrah is trying to earn a fifth term in the spot that he has held since 2006. Darrah, who has lived in Cedar Falls for over 30 years, is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, where he received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Darrah spent his 35 year career as a special education administrator, the last 29 of which were in Cedar Falls. He has also instructed classes both at UNI as well as Wartburg College in Waverly. 

Trying to take down the four-term incumbent will be Dustin Ganfield, a core systems analyst with Veridian Credit Union. Ganfield has just under 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, and is currently studying emergency management and disaster recovery at Upper Iowa University in Fayette.

The Cedar Falls city election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2.