Four newcomers seek Council seats
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 5:03 AM
Four newcomers have entered the race for openings on the Decorah City Council.
Marion Pruitt Jefferson and Chuck Lore are running for the Ward 5 spot, while Bill Wagner and Matthew Gausmann are running in Ward 4.
Pruitt-Jefferson was pastor at First Lutheran Church from 1996 until 2012. During that time, she said she became "acutely aware of the persistent and growing needs of those in the community who cannot find affordable housing, who routinely face food insecurity and who struggle each winter to pay utility bills." Pruitt-Jefferson is currently self-employed as a piano teacher and occasionally fills in at area congregations. If elected to the Council, the candidate said she hopes to help shape a "vibrant, sustainable future for all the residents of Decorah."
Lore is a dairy nutritionist for Nelson Dairy Consultants in Decorah.
If elected, he said he would preserve the "history that is Decorah while moving the city into the 21st century."
"There is a rich tradition in Decorah that values the opinions of its residents, and I want to be the Council representative of my ward. I applaud and recognize the great works of Decorah's past leaders, and I aspire to be a part of bringing new ideas and strategies to meet the expectations of the Fifth Ward," Lore said.
Wagner works for the Iowa Braille School as a driver and assistant for a teacher of the visually impaired. He has lived in Decorah since 1984 and previous employment included managing Yellow Freight, working in sales for CamCar Textron and driving for Hawkeye Stages.
Because no incumbent is running in Ward 4 and because of his current work schedule, Wagner said the timing was right for him to run for Council. Council member Carolyn Corbin, who represents Ward 4, no longer lives in her ward due to the new ward boundaries and is not seeking another term.
Since announcing his candidacy, Wagner said he's received a lot of encouragement.
"I really like what's happened in Decorah since I've been here. More good things are going to happen and I want to be a part of it, he said.
Wagner's opponent, Gausmann, is a Luther College sophomore from La Crosse, Wis.
"I am running for City Council because I am very passionate about Decorah and want to be of service to it," he said.
City ward boundaries were redrawn due to redistricting following the 2010 census and as a result, all Council members except Rachel Vagts are up for re-election.
Seven-year Council member Randy Schissel, who has represented Ward 5, now lives in the new Ward 1. Schissel and Jarrad Walter, who was appointed to fill the Ward 1 vacancy after Council member John Franzen resigned this summer, are both running for the Ward 1 spot.
Council member Gary Rustad, who serves at-large; Paul Wanless, Ward 3; and Jody Niess, Ward 2; are running for re-election unopposed.
Mayor Don Arendt is facing a challenge from Jim McIntosh.
The mayor and Council members serve four-year terms, but in order to maintain staggered terms following redistricting, the terms of Wards 2 and 4 will expire in December, 2015. The deadline to file nomination papers was Thursday. City elections are Tuesday, Nov. 5.