Several times recently, I’ve been asked by my supporters which other two candidates I’d like to see get elected.
It’s an interesting (and sensible, I suppose) question to ask. I have to admit, I’m bullet voting for myself only. The way the system is set up, if I voted for two other candidates, I’d be voting against myself. Twice.
But I have gotten to know the other eight people running in this election cycle with me. And I’m glad to share what I like about each candidate, for whatever little it’s worth. Your job is to decide who else among these good folks you’d like to see representing you at the board table.
(P.S., I do know that this is a kind of weird thing to do. But I strongly believe that our district politics could use a little more positivity, especially toward those with whom we are “competing.” Here’s hoping it’s taken in the spirit in which it’s intended. )
Karla Cook: Karla was a teacher in the Iowa City schools for 25 years, so she knows first-hand what happens in the classroom. As an incumbent, she also has an understanding of the day-to-day work of the board.
Tuyet Dorau: Tuyet has spent her time on the board asking thoughtful questions before making her decisions. She’s certainly not afraid to dissent if she feels it’s warranted. She’s very well-informed about our district’s needs.
Gregg Geerdes: Gregg has a critical eye on our financial outlook and a clear focus on spending money wisely. When you talk to him about non-financial issues, it’s obvious he has a softer side, too.
Phil Hemingway: Phil is a fun guy to talk to one-on-one. He has clearly demonstrated his commitment to school board politics over the last several years. He’s dogged about accountability.
Brian Kirschling: Brian has strong connections throughout the community and, as a City High alum, demonstrates a strong passion for our schools. He’s a friendly and approachable leader.
Jason Lewis: Jason, as a fellow southeast side parent, has a first-hand knowledge of this area’s equity concerns. He earnestly wants to create a bold vision for the district.
Chris Lynch: Chris was one of the main public supporters of the Revenue Purpose Statement, which was a huge step forward for our schools. Without its passage, we’d still be staring down all of these facilities needs (air-conditioning, third high school, more elementary seats) and have no way to pay for them. He’s a fair thinker.
Jim Tate: Jim is a genuinely nice guy. He’s also a regular at board meetings. As a union rep who works at United Natural Foods, he has a different perspective to share. I admire his determination to run again after falling short last time.
Who to choose? I can’t say. But I feel optimistic that on September 11, we’ll have a board of seven people who truly want to keep our district moving forward.