Cedar Falls prepares for contested mayoral, city council runoff races

CAROLINE CHRISTENSEN, News Editor

Cedar Falls is gearing up for a contested run-off election for mayor and city council Nov. 30. 

Mayoral candidate David Sires received the most votes on election day Nov. 2 with 3,470 people reporting 40% of the votes, while incumbent mayor Rob Green received 2,717, reporting 31% of votes. Third mayoral candidate Tom Blanford received the least amount of votes with 2,527. Sires and Green will go head to head in a runoff election to select Cedar Falls’ mayor as none of the candidates got 50% plus 1 of the vote.

As reported in the Northern Iowan’s by Elle Olthoff, Green is the incumbent mayor and has been serving as such since January 2020. Green is a 1998 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. and served for a decade as a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard. He also received a master’s degree in instructional technology from the University of Northern Iowa in 2016, as well as another master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019.

A few issues Green’s campaign emphasizes is making streets more walkable for pedestrians, and he 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. 

Green also 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, he desires to make City Council meetings easier to understand for the public so they can be a part of what takes place at them, and make Council Chambers more accessible for those who may have a disability. 

“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.”

Green’s competitor, David Sires, is currently a Councilman representing the 4th Ward, a position he has held since 2020 as well as a position that will not be contested this election cycle. Sires is a long-time citizen of Cedar Falls as well as a local business owner. According to Sire’s candidacy signs, he runs his platform on the statement to “Put the People Back in Charge.” 

Sires’ campaign focus is being a voice for the community. Much of his platform is based on what he believes community desires. He has emphasized his interest in being a voice for the residents of Cedar Falls and feels in the past residents have not been paid enough attention to by public officials. 

“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. 

One of his main focuses is to have 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.

City Council Runoff

City Council ward three’s seat is also up for grabs and will go into a runoff election along with the mayoral race Nov. 30. Candidate Carole Yates garderned 46% of the votes, while contender Daryl Kruse received 29% of the votes. Third candidate Kara Bigelow received 25% of the votes.

As reported by the Northern Iowan’s David Warrington, incumbent Daryl Kruse, is completing his first term serving on Cedar Falls’ City Council 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. 

Carole Yates is a retired program manager for UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education. Yates states her reason for running is to “continue contributing to the community in a positive, future-oriented way, and to inspire others to do the same.”

 

School Board, City Council Election Results

Two seats for City Council and three new seats for the Cedar Falls School Board were filled Nov. 2. Kelly Dunn won the contested at-large city council seat with 53% of the votes against candidate T.J. Frein. Ward one’s seat was won by Gil Schultz who received 82% of votes against candidate Derek Peisen. Ward five’s seat went to Dustin Ganfield with 55% of the votes against Frank Darrah.

School board results were also announced amidst city council results. R.J. Meyer, a senior vice president at VGM Fulfillment and known for being a former Iowa Hawkeyes football player, garnered the most votes reporting 4,077 ballots cast. Another newcomer to the school board, software consultant Brenda Fite, received 3,775 votes making her the first out LGBTQ+ elected official in Cedar Falls. John Deere engineer Lowell Stutzman came close behind Fite receiving 3,710 votes. Stutzman is also a newcomer to the school board.