Cedar Falls is a wonderful place to live. I have only experienced living in Cedar Falls for a year and a half, but it has proven to be a place I am proud to call “home.” Towns don’t just become great on their own, it takes great leadership and guidance from those who care about maintaining the beauty and order of the town. The Cedar Falls candidates forum consisted of potential leaders all getting the chance to speak about why they would be great in that position. For one night, they were able to introduce themselves and answer questions, hopefully proving to citizens why they deserve a role of power in the community. As an outsider looking in, I was excited to learn more about the conflicts that have arisen in the past, and how each of these candidates would handle them. I was unable to attend the actual forum, but through watching the video online I was able to hear the sides of opinion each citizen presented. I was able to form my own opinions but was excited to get the chance to hear the opinions of my peers to see if they aligned with those I had formed.
One of my initial reactions was surprise. I was warned there might be moments that seemed awkward because it is an important election. It was more cut-throat than i had expected, where there were unexpected moments of calling out opposing candidates. One candidate who resorted to this tactic was Jim Brown. He would be talking about his own plan of leadership and then politely explain how Jon Cruz would not be able to be as successful as him. It almost seemed comical to me, because he was saying it in the nicest way possible, even with a grin on his face. It would take me a second to realize that what he just said was a slam on Cruz, and I grew to appreciate his approach. He seems to be a very kind individual, but you can’t always win just because of kindness. He is in the race because he believes he can make a positive change for the community, and he wants people to understand that it is time for a leader other than Jon Cruz. After watching the forum, he won my vote. I had a general understanding of all of the candidates after researching them in class, but after watching him speak I realized he would be getting my vote. His readiness for the forum was impressive, and he is obviously taking his potential role very seriously.
After watching Jon Cruz and David Haltermann, I knew they would both make credible candidates as well. They present the appropriate leadership qualities needed to be the mayor of a town, but their speaking at the forum did not win me over. Cruz seems worn, most likely from his repeated job of being mayor of Cedar Falls. I feel as if he has held power for much longer than any mayor should, and I feel that it is past due for a new leader. Dave Haltermann was interesting to watch as well. He was there for a reason, he has many changes he would like to see done, but I do not think he is mayoral material. He did not have his introduction memorized, which immediately put him on a different level than the other two candidates. I feel like he would play a great role on the leadership board but I do not see him being the mayor of Cedar Falls in the near future.
I was very excited to collect the opinions of my peers, to determine whether our beliefs lined up with each other’s or not. I began my interview process with Holden Feagler, a 19 year old intern with BMW in Cedar Rapids. I started by asking if he had any opinions on the mayoral candidates. “As an economist, I fully support Jim Brown for wanting to create more jobs instead of raising the city minimum wage. If Jim Brown were mayor one of his focuses will be creating new jobs, which would make Cedar Falls a much more profitable place to live,” stated Holden Feagler. Holden is an economics major at the University of Cedar Falls, and he seemed to resonate with a lot of Jim Brown’s ideals, and we were able to agree on the fact that we both wanted him to be mayor. Byron Fritch, a 19 year old intern with the University Physics department, has lived in Dike New Hartford all his life. This is a rural community outside of Cedar Falls. I was excited to hear his input as he has been in the Cedar Valley area during the past leadership of Jon Cruz. I asked him if he wanted Cruz to continue his position as mayor. “He hasn’t done anything too radical to upset me in the past few years. Although I do not agree with the housing ordinance he had passed. It might help to have a younger person in the position of mayor to bring more energy to the city,” said Byron Fritch. It was interesting hearing the perspective of a citizen who has experienced the leadership of one of the mayoral candidates. He shared the same belief that it is probably time for a younger mayor to take office to bring new ideas and energy to the city of Cedar Falls. The third person I asked was Nicolai Gibbens, who is a 21 year old working for a private painting company. “I do not approve of Jim Brown because he is trying to commercialize Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls is the perfect size where it is not too small and it is not too big. Making it bigger will not always make it better,” said Gibbens. I understand where Nicolai is coming from, as I come from a small town myself. It does seem that if Jim Brown is elected mayor there could be a definite increase in population from the increase in business and jobs. It is good to look at his plan with that perspective because there could be a lot of citizens with the same thinking as Gibbens. People are comfortable with the size of Cedar Falls and would not appreciate the inevitable increase of population that would come with Jim Brown being mayor.
After the process of viewing the candidates forum and hearing the opinions of my peers, I feel as if I have garnered an increased amount of knowledge regarding the mayoral race in Cedar Falls. I was glad I was able to get differing opinions rather than all of the opinions supporting Jim Brown. It was good to hear why people would and wouldn’t like Jim Brown as mayor. I feel like I have enough information to form a valued opinion and cast an educated vote. There are three credible candidates running for the position of mayor in Cedar Falls, and to be honest I would be comfortable with any of the three being elected. There are certain qualities that stand out to me that prove leadership I would want to follow, whether its the president of the United States or Mayor of Cedar Falls. Jim Brown has those qualities and I hope my vote will be one of many on November third that will land him the spot as mayor of Cedar Falls.