Three new members take seats on Marion City Council

Strategic planning first thing on new council members' minds

Steven Jensen
Steven Jensen

MARION — Three new members will sit on Marion’s seven-member City Council after no incumbents ran Tuesday for re-election.

The incumbents’ terms expire this year and did not run for re-election.

With all the votes counted in unofficial results, retiree Steve Jensen, 63, will serve as Ward 2 representative after winning more than 63 percent of the vote.

Jensen beat business owner Peter Johnson for the seat being vacated by Joe Spinks.

Rene Gadelha, 46, a former Linn-Mar school board member who ran unopposed, will sit in the Ward 4 seat after winning more than 92 percent of the vote. The spot currently is filled by David Nicholson.

Business owner Randy Strnad, 48, who beat opponent Bruce Cummins, will fill the at-large seat being vacated by Mary Lou Pazour. Strnad previously represented Ward 4 and won with more than 63 percent of the vote.

Those elected will join Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly and members Kim Etzel, Will Brandt and Paul Draper. Council members earn $4,800 a year and are elected to four-year terms.

Jensen said his first order of business is attending Saturday’s strategic planning meeting.

“That’s an excellent way to learn a lot more about some areas and issues I may not be totally aware of,” he said. “I’m very excited about being able to represent Ward 2 and continue my service to the community. I look at this as the people are wanting to continue the momentum the council has started.”

Gadelha’s priority is updating the master plan with as much input from residents as possible.

Strnad agreed.

“I’m very excited we’re going to have a strong council going into 2018.” he said. “Our city is growing, and we have a lot of work to do.”


Don Andrews, who lives in Ward 2, said he voted for Jensen because he thought Jensen would be fiscally responsible.

“That will hopefully lead to running the government well,” Andrews said. “I’m not too happy with all the money being spent on roundabouts. They need to manage the money well.”

While voter Allen Heefner’s pick for Ward 2 did not win, he said he wants council members to focus on bringing business into Marion.

“We’ve got a lot of things going on with motels, but if we don’t have business built up, then we aren’t going to fill hotels,” he said. “Marion has a good mayor and is starting to grow and needs to keep it up.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8516;



CORALVILLE - Iowa City native, advocate and author Zach Wahls announced Thursday he will run for the Iowa Senate seat held by Bob Dvorsky, who does not plan to seek re-election in 2018. "I'm running for the Iowa Senate for one si ...

CEDAR RAPIDS - Business lawyer Brad Hart will be Cedar Rapids' next mayor after beating former City Council member Monica Vernon in a runoff Tuesday.Hart took more than 54 percent of the vote.Hart said he was excited to get starte ...

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.

Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.