Lisa Kuzela announces run for Cedar Rapids City Council

She has been a watchdog and critic of the city

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CEDAR RAPIDS — City government watchdog Lisa Kuzela announced on Thursday she is seeking the at large seat on the Cedar Rapids City Council.

Kuzela, 54, said top priorities include eliminating wasteful spending, bonding and tax breaks for the wealthy; fixing roads and stormwater runoff issues; and building community trust.

“I am not a politician; I’m an outsider without special interest wants or conflicts of interest,” Kuzela said. “I seek after the people’s endorsement.”

Kuzela said she would work to protect civil rights, empower residents and do away with favoritism.

Kuzela grew up in Cedar Rapids, graduated from Brigham Young University and lives in the northwest quadrant.

She helped lead successful efforts in 2011 and 2012 to defeat local-option sales tax extensions for street repairs and flood protection. She helped lead an effort to appeal the city’s budget to a state panel, which concluded the budget was appropriate.

Kuzela is under a court order through Nov. 20 not to communicate with and stay away from Assistant City Manager Sandi Fowler. The order stems from an incident in June 2012 when Kuzela was accused of assaulting Fowler in the lobby of City Hall. Kuzela pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in December 2012.

Kuzela criticizes the city’s flood protection plan as “overpriced” and focused on “development rather than protection.” She also says dredging the Cedar River is vital.

“Good governing requires courage to forego the wants in order to meet the needs,” she said. “Our city is not doing that. I will.”

Kuzela isn’t a stranger to running for public office. She served on the Cedar Rapids School Board and was defeated by Scott Olson in the district 4 City Council race in 2014 by nine percentage points.

Incumbent in the at large seat, Ralph Russell, announced he will not seek re-election. Businessman and former State Representative Tyler Olson is the only other candidate to declare in the race.

The candidate filing period began Monday and continues through Sept. 21. The election is on Nov. 7.

More information about Kuzela is available at Kuzela4Council on Facebook and LisaKuzela.com. The website says Kuzela is running for mayor. Kuzela acknowledged she was planning to run for mayor but shifted gears.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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