CEDAR RAPIDS — A self-employed pressure washer active in the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association announced he plans to seek the third district City Council seat in Cedar Rapids.
Justin Wasson, 28, said he hopes to bring a pragmatic approach to government, including more careful use of tax incentives, a focus on core services and a sensible approach to zoning.
“Right now there’s no one on council from a poor neighborhood, and there’s a lack of representation for the core and all the opportunities there are,” said Wasson, who also cited a lack of a young voice on a council loaded with those 50 and older.
“I think it is time for a younger voice,” he said.
Wasson operates his own small business, Affordable Pressure Washing, and is involved in volunteer efforts. He served four years as president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association, and now serves as vice president.
Wasson grew up in Cedar Rapids, attending Kennedy High School, and later earned a finance degree from Iowa State University.
Wasson supports use of tax incentives to spur challenging redevelopment, such as brownfields and grayfields, but is critical of tax breaks for development that would otherwise occur, such as the downtown high rise, One Park Place.
On zoning, Wasson prefers a more flexible approach to land uses for small businesses and startups, and favors a move toward form-based zoning over use-based zoning. Form-based, which is being considered as part of a zoning code overhaul, emphasizes how structures complement each other from aesthetic and functional standpoints.
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“I want the city to focus on the things we need to have: fire, police, water, streets,” he said. “I want to have the best services for the things we have to have and then focus on other things.”
Wasson is running for the seat being vacated by Pat Shey, who said he won’t seek re-election. Former television reporter and parks commissioner Wade Wagner is also vying for the seat.
Wasson ran unsuccessfully for an at-large City Council seat in 2011, he said was inspired by his opposition to repeated attempts to enact a local-option sales tax.
The candidate filing period is Aug. 28 to Sept. 21, and the election is on Nov. 7.
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