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Cole outlines council plans

BY CORY PORTER | FEBRUARY 09, 2015 5:00 AM

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Last week, local attorney Rockne Cole announced his plan to run for City Council in this fall’s election, and despite the early announcement, his competition will soon be hot on his heels.

On Feb. 6, Cole talked about his platform to a crowd of around 20 people in the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.

Cole lost in his bid for a council seat in 2013, and this time around, he decided to announce earlier to get the word out about his candidacy, he said.

“One of the things that I’m going to do this time is really have an opportunity to have individual conversations through door-knocking because I think some of the best ideas that I’ve got really come through that one-to-one individual exchange,” he said.

Councilor Michelle Payne said she hasn’t decided if she’s going to run again, but she is considering it and will make an announcement soon.

One thing she learned during her first run in 2011 was how time-intensive a political campaign can be, she said.

“I don’t know any other word to say but intense; it is just very intense,” she said, “[But] I actually really like being on the City Council. I like the exposure of knowing what’s going on and understanding what’s going on in our community.”

She said the main election issues would most likely be the city’s budget constraints because of the loss of property-tax revenue, historic preservation, and economic development with a special focus on tax-increment financing.

Cole also said historic preservation and economic development would be important issues this year.
“The [economic] development is incredibly exciting,” he said. “There’s a lot of it that I support … but I think the question is, ‘What are we losing in the process?’ ”

Another development-related issue he said he wants to work on if elected is how TIF is doled out for development projects.

“I think there needs to be a clearer plan as to how these projects are awarded,” he said. “I want to see essentially smaller TIFs that are more equally distributed … to be able to sort of capture the dynamic skill set that a lot of university students have.”

He said he wants to see more opportunities given to graduating University of Iowa students’ start-up business plans.

“I really want to make sure we’re capitalizing on all the energy that comes out of the University of Iowa,” he said.

Other current city councilors still haven’t decided whether they will put themselves on the ballot in November.

Councilor Jim Throgmorton said he expects to make an announcement in one to two weeks.

When asked by The Daily Iowan to reflect on what issues he thinks will be important in this year’s election, he declined to comment.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

One of the reasons given by councilors up for potential re-election is the massive time commitment of serving and campaigning.

Councilor Rick Dobyns said he hasn’t decided on running again, with his seat on the council and his work as a physician keeping him busy, but that he will announce his intentions soon.

“My plan is to make my decision within the next month,” he said.


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