City Council candidate debate: A Culver Fellow’s perspective

by Dustin Peters

Last Tuesday, Nov. 1, the Culver Center hosted a panel debate with the Indianola City Council candidates over different issues affecting Indianola.

The candidates covered a variety of issues including how to attract businesses to Indianola, street pavements, funding for the police station, fire department and library and, of course, the closing of C Street.

The candidates were of a wide variety of backgrounds, including not having much experience in Indianola politics, being extremely active in the community and being involved in Indianola politics for several years.

Both as a student of politics and a Culver Fellow, I found that the candidates represented city politics well and provided effective answers for their constituents.

However, I also found that it was difficult to separate the candidates from each other. Many of them had the same answers and continually repeated each other.

For a majority of the night I had a tough time deciding who I would vote for simply because they almost all had the same standing on all of the issues and did little to convince me as an electorate that I should vote for them.

A refreshing tone, however, was hearing the candidates admit to not knowing enough about an issue to make a decision and them wanting to be more informed about the issues in order to make a decision that would best help the citizens of Indianola.

I was happy to hear that standpoint, mostly because that is what politics is supposed to be about: listening to the constituents, looking further into the issue and deciding on the best decision with an informed point of view.

The biggest issue on students’ minds that night was, of course, the closing of C Street.

The general consensus among candidates, it seemed, was that more information was needed to understand the benefits and drawbacks of the street closing.

Two candidates, Mark Vickroy and Shirley Clark, did publicly state that they were against closing C Street, but were for either repaving the street or having the street partially closed.

This means that the street would be elevated to encourage drivers to slow when driving through Simpson’s campus.

Student body president and senior Joe Sorenson brought this issue to attention during the question and answer portion of the event to try to encourage the candidates to take a stance on the issue to make it easier for electorates to vote for certain candidates.

Unfortunately, the candidates continued to be very vague and unresponsive with their answers, making it very difficult to see where they stand on the issues.

But, they did promise to look further into the issue and make what they would see as the correct decision for the city of Indianola and Simpson College.

From an educational point of view, this event gave students a great idea of how city campaigns are run, what it takes to be a city council candidate and how to be involved in city politics.

City politics are often very overlooked by Simpson students, myself included, and it was excellent to hear from members of the city government and remind us that the city government is just as important the federal government itself.

I would like to thank the candidates, Eric Mathieu, Mark Vickroy, John Parker, Jr., Greg Marchant, Randy L. Gathers and Shirley Clark, for participating in the debate and the Student Government Association for helping with the event.

Dustin is a sophomore political science and philosophy major. In addition to being a Culver Fellow, he is active in Kappa Theta Psi, Sexual Assault Response Advocates, Alpha Phi Omega, College Democrats and the Comic Book Club.