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Two incumbents, one newcomer gain seats on City Council

BY REBECCA MORIN | NOVEMBER 06, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa City City Council has gained one new face.

Leading with 42 percent of the vote on Tuesday, Councilor Susan Mims regained an at-large seat. Kingsley Botchway came in second at 41 percent, filling the second of two open at-large seats. Incumbent Terry Dickens won the District B seat at 58 percent.

Catherine Champion and Rockne Cole were the other two at-large candidates. Royceann Porter campaigned for the open District B seat.

The District B seat became available after long-time City Councilor Connie Champion decided to retire. January will be the start of the new terms for the councilors.

Mims will serve her second year on the council. Emphasizing her experience and knowledge of city logistics to encourage growth in fiscal responsibility, she hopes to continue on track with the city agenda, as well as to emphasize and encourage more diversity initiatives.

“Well, the first thing we’ll be doing is the strategic planning and setting our goals for the next five years,” Mims said. “When the council appointed the diversity committee, we were looking at transportation and police, but we hope to include housing and job opportunities; it can’t be city level versus broader community, we have to work together.”

Dickens will also serve his second term. The Iowa City native will represent District B, but hopes to continue development in all areas, in particular the southern and southeastern areas. He also hopes to create more affordable housing options.

Dickens was unable to be reached as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Six-year-resident Botchway first decided to run for the council because citizens were unable to take advantage of the positive assets the city offered. Throughout his campaign, he emphasized embracing diversity — both ethnic and socioeconomic — as well as helping the city use its finances responsibly and to help the council become more involved in public events.

“I’m speechless, and I’m just at a loss of words to be honest,” Botchway said. “I’m hoping [the council] will stand by what they say as far as everybody following through with their main points; I want to really work with the current City Council and address some issues differently and bring a different outlook on some issues.”

Cole, a local attorney and council candidate, said he was very pleased with the results and believes Botchway was a “fantastic candidate.”

“I think we changed the conversation,” Cole said. “We’re going to keep trying to get new voices, and I would really like to see him be successful and will support him in any way to keep moving forward.”

Champion, a local business owner and council candidate, said she will run for city council again in two years.

“I think everyone has to get to know each other, and there is already an agenda and a plan, and we expect them to continue going through with it,” Champion said. “I’m so happy I ran, and I will be back in 24 months.”

Porter, a 25-year resident of Iowa City, had emphasized affordable housing, as well as creating more diversity initiatives, during her campaign. Although she did not win the District B seat, she said she felt like a winner.

“I really won,” she said. “I got issues on the table, and now I’m only going to keep [the councilors] accountable, especially for some of the candidates making part of the platform affordable housing and embracing diversity.”


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