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Dickens running for District B

BY ROBERT CROZIER | JULY 30, 2013 5:00 AM

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Following some city redistricting, City Councilor Terry Dickens will seek re-election to the Iowa City City Council — but for a different seat.

Dickens will vacate his at-large seat to run for the District B seat that Connie Champion currently holds. After serving for 16 years, she won’t seek another term.

“I’ve learned a lot in the first three and a half years of being on the council,” Dickens said.

Dickens has served on the City Council since 2010. A lifelong resident of Iowa City, Dickens co-owns Herteen and Stocker Jewelers, 101 S. Dubuque St., with his father.

Champion said she encouraged Dickens to succeed her, and she endorsed his candidacy.

“I thought with him running in District B — it’s a sure win that would open up the at-large seat to anybody in town, whereas District B you have to live in District B,” she said.

Dickens said he decided to make the switch after consulting with Champion when the 2012 precinct redistricting drew him out of District C and into her turf.

“She was very pleased to have somebody she knew and could trust move into her district and run in her spot,” he said.

Downtown business owner Catherine Champion, Connie Champion’s daughter, is running for one of two at-large seats available this November. 

City Councilor Rick Dobyns praised his colleague without actually endorsing his candidacy.

“I enjoy working with [Dickens],” he said. “I think he’s a very effective leader for the community, and I think he’s an excellent representative.”

Dickens said he prefers to seek compromise but is also willing to take a stand. When asked about an issue he felt strongly about, he pointed to the discussions the City Council had with the Johnson County Board of Supervisors regarding the SEATS contract.

Mark Weaver, who owns Active Endeavors, 138 S Clinton St., said he supports Dickens’ return to the City Council.

“Terry’s done a very solid job, and he obviously is a business owner downtown,” he said. “He makes well-thought-out decisions that benefit the community.”

It appears as though Dickens may have some opposition for the seat.

City Clerk Marian Karr said Royceann Porter has also picked up the paperwork necessary to file for candidacy, but she does not consider anyone to be a candidate until the paperwork is filed.

“Picking up papers is not returning them,” she said, noting that the papers can’t be filed until Aug. 12.

Porter, who has lived in Iowa City since 1993, works at the Shelter House, 429 Southgate Ave, where she assists people who are chronically unemployed and homeless.

“I’m committed to maintaining fiscal responsibility as Iowa City provides essential services and community development,” she said. “I plan to continue to work with others on establishing living wage jobs, affordable housing, and a better quality of life for those in our community.”

Champion said she thought Porter would be a viable candidate in the election but called Dickens a “shoo-in” for re-election.

Despite having a wide range of support, Dickens hasn’t started celebrating victory yet.

“You never take anything lightly. I have the same election committee that I had the first time,” he said, noting that his large extended family, consisting of 40 to 50 local people, also helps.

Mayor Matt Hayek said he does not endorse City Council candidates, but he was willing to comment on Dickens’ past performance.

“I think Terry Dickens does an excellent job for the community,” Hayek said. “He’s prepared, easy to work with, and thoughtful.”

Dobyns praised Porter as well.

“[Porter] has shown some excellent leadership as well for the community,” Dobyns said. “We’ve really appreciated Royceann’s activity on the Police Citizen’s Review Board. I can’t show any favoritism, and I wish them both luck.”


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