When the Quaker Oats facility wanted to shut down and leave, it was the union committee under my leadership that negotiated union contract changes that saved a thousand direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs. And as you know, Quaker Oats still is here today in Cedar Rapids, paying good wages with good benefits. I believe that how this issue was resolved reflects great leadership, negotiating skills, and the ability to resolve tough issues.
During the flood of 2008, did experience matter? This massive natural disaster caused tremendous difficulties for people in the 5th District and across Cedar Rapids. One day people had homes, and the next they were homeless. Now we had to find a place for men, women, and children to live. But it wasn’t just their homes, it was their jobs, their cars, their clothing, nearly all their possessions. A large number of people were suffering from emotional and monetary destruction.
City leaders collaborated with local, state and federal disaster relief organizations to find homes and provide the basic necessities for the people affected by this disaster. All this was done as quickly as humanly possible.
The loss of private property was not the only consequence. Roads, sewers, public buildings and other crucial utilities were in some cases destroyed and in others severely damaged. It took massive amounts of money to reconstruct the infrastructure. Immediately after the flood, I was put in charge of state and federal flood relief programs. I relied on my experience and connections to work with state and federal officials to procure some much-needed relief. To this day, I still am fighting for important aid, including flood protection. These are just two examples of the important issues I have worked on.
Issues important to me and people in the 5th District include flood protection, fixing roads and sidewalks, developing strong public safety initiatives and preventing shots fired or other acts of violence, securing more high-paying jobs with benefits using initiatives such as the 1,300-acre Big Cedar Industrial Center and other job creators, making sure that if schools are to be shut down they are replaced with modern, up-to-date schools in the 5th District, pushing for a multigenerational facility that would provide education, recreation, and wellness programs for people in every stage of life, from day care to activities for seniors and everything in between, developing more parks and recreational facilities on the west side, completion of the new city market, formerly the flooded out Roundhouse City Market on 16th Avenue SW and to continue to maintain District 5 as the fastest growing district.
The above are all very important issues to me and the people in the 5th District. I am asking for your vote Tuesday to continue the fight for these issues.
• Justin Shields is seeking re-election to the District 5 seat on the Cedar Rapids City Council