Pastor Damian Epps announces bid for Cedar Rapids City Council

He hopes to be the voice of 'everyday Iowans'

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids pastor on Wednesday announced his bid for the at-large seat on the Cedar Rapids City Council.

Damian Epps, 45, plans to advocate for stronger families, safe communities and neighborhoods, education, living wages, fair housing and for the “Fresh Start” program for ex-offenders, he said.

“I don’t have a political background, but I believe if you have heart you can make a difference,” Epps said.

Epps plans to hold an announcement event at 6 p.m. Thursday at Redmond Park, located at Third and Park avenues SE. The event is free to the public.

Epps is a New Orleans native who came to Cedar Rapids nine years ago by way of the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the senior pastor at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 6621 C Ave. NE.

Epps has a background in crisis intervention work with Cedar Rapids Police Department and Foundation 2, he has served as a mediator and hosted community conversations at Mount Zion, according to a news release.

Epps said he arrived in Cedar Rapids shortly before the 2008 flood and rather than leave, he set about helping the community recover. He said he intends to run a grass roots campaign that brings in people from neighborhoods across the city.

“One of the things I hope to do is bring a different perspective to the council,” Epps said. “We need a voice that represents every person in Cedar Rapids. We need a voice for the everyday Iowan. If we keep electing wealthy career politicians to the City Council then the voice of the everyday Iowan will never be heard.”

This is an open race as incumbent Ralph Russell announced he is not seeking re-election. Businessman and former state representative Tyler Olson and community activist Lisa Kuzela also are running for the seat.

The candidate filing period ends on Sept. 21. The election is on Nov. 7.

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

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