Sirianni clinches victory

Sirianni clinches victory

by Grant Rodgers

On Tuesday, March 1, Indianola voters elected Simpson’s Director of Athletics, John Sirianni, to the second ward city council position, defeating challenger Richard Sindric. 

Sirianni joined the council in November of 2010, receiving an appointment to fill the seat after the death of Councilman Bob Kreamer. His position, originally appointed to last until the general election in the fall of 2011, opened for challengers when the wellness center construction required a special election. 

According to Sirianni, two main factors drove him to join the council. First, he cites his interest in fostering greater relationships between the city and the college.

“I think a very healthy Indianola stimulates a very healthy Simpson College and vice-versa,” Sirianni said. “The community has some unique advantages with the college and both of those entities need to work closer together so that the community as a whole will grow.”

Second, Sirianni seeks to encourage growth aimed at raising Indianola to a competitive level with other communities around Des Moines. From his experience, he says this need became extremely evident last fall when the Indianola Community Schools discussed dropping from a 4-A to a 3-A competition level due to enrollment remaining near the line.

“Due to the fact that we are competing for families, business and industry with (Ankeny, Waukee, Johnston, Urbandale) we need to be able to provide the same amenities that they have in order for us to attract more families,” Sirianni said. “This gives us more students, which gives us a stronger tax base, which allows us to grow, you know, the whole snowball effect.”

Although only a councilman for four months, Sirianni has served on numerous civic boards and receives strong support among his colleagues, both in the city government and at Simpson. According to Indianola Mayor Kenan Bresnan, Sirianni brings a Simpson “flavor” to the council, but truly works to represent the entire community.

“When you get to talking about the south sewage plant, eventually it’s important to Simpson, but he’s got the ability to detach himself and look at things in another way,” Bresnan said.

Furthermore, Bresnan says, Sirianni built up support in the community from his 22 years as Simpson’s head baseball coach.

“He knows a whole lot of people that I don’t, which is wonderful,” Bresnan said.

For Nicci Whalen, assistant professor of sport science and health education, who worked closely with Sirianni during the wellness center campaign, his time at Simpson and in the Indianola community speaks to his qualifications as a civic leader.

“He raised his family here and has a real devotion to the school and to the city and wanting to help advance it as much as he can,” Whalen said. “He can be persuasive and he doesn’t give up, if he’s told no once or twice, he goes back to the drawing board and tries to find another solution to the problem.”

With the election now over for a week, for Sirianni, the work has only just begun and future projects coming up on the council’s agenda include fire department and police facilities, street repairs and discussions on “beautification” projects around Simpson.

“I want to work hard to make that a very positive thing for everybody involved,” Sirianni said.