Monica Vernon announces bid for Cedar Rapids mayor

Vernon was a two-term City Council member

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A former Cedar Rapids mayor pro tempore announced a bid for mayor on Wednesday.

Monica Vernon, 59, a businesswoman who served two-terms on City Council from 2008 to 2015, vowed to pick up where departing Mayor Ron Corbett leaves off and touted her ability to “bring people together to get things done.”

“We’ve come a long way since the devastating 2008 flood, but we can’t stop now,” Vernon said in a statement. “We need to continue growing and developing jobs and retail, and cultural and entertainment opportunities. There is so much we can do as we work together to enhance our neighborhoods and make sure that we keep all of our community safe, welcoming and thriving.”

Vernon’s background includes founding Vernon Research Group, which is under the umbrella of The Gazette’s parent company, Folience. She’s also worked as a journalist, volunteered as chairwoman of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber Commerce and helped launch the Madge Phillips Shelter, a homeless shelter for women and children in Cedar Rapids.

On City Council, she served as chairwoman of the city’s development committee, and was involved in post-flood recovery and rebuilding.

Vernon did not seek re-election to City Council in 2015 as she ran for higher office. In the November 2016 general election for the 1st District congressional seat, she lost to incumbent Rep. Rod Blum, R-Dubuque. She also was on the Democratic gubernatorial ticket as lieutenant governor in 2014. Gov. Terry Branstad defeated then State Sen. Jack Hatch in that election.

The Cedar Rapids mayor seat is a non-partisan office and the mayor earns a salary of $35,378.

Vernon joins a crowded field for mayor. City Council members Kris Gulick and Scott Olson, attorney Brad Hart, former Cedar Rapids Police Chief Gary Hinzman, and Tim Pridegon, a pastor and public safety chaplain for the city of Cedar Rapids, have all declared their candidacy.

Two-term Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett announced last year he won’t seek re-election as he considers a bid for the Republican nomination for governor, leaving an open mayoral contest on Nov. 7. The candidate filing period is Aug. 28 to Sept. 21.

In the event no one wins the election outright — receiving 50 percent of the vote plus one vote — the top two vote getters would enter a runoff election on Dec. 5.

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

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