116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Bruce Teague, Megan Alter and Jason Glass are seeking two at-large seats on the Iowa City Council. ► Get to know the other candidates
Candidate: Bruce Teague (incumbent)
Office sought: Iowa City Council at-large
Age: 45 (born July 27, 1976)
Occupation: Owner, Caring Hands & More; CEO, Home Care & Family Services
Campaign website: electbruceteague.com
Have you held office before? If so, what office did you hold?
Yes. City Council — Iowa City since 2018
Personal bio: Mayor Bruce Teague has been in this community these past 28 years. He graduated from Iowa City West High School and the University of Iowa with majors in psychology and nursing. He's worked in the community at various jobs from sacking groceries at Hy-Vee to assisting dying patients at Iowa City Hospice. The past 17 years he's owned Caring Hands & More and CHARM Homes which serves seniors and people with disabilities. He's been consistently active in the community with his commitment to serving human kind. He was elected as an Iowa City city councilor, in October 2018 and was appointed mayor of Iowa City on Jan. 2, 2020
Why are you running for city council?
Iowa City, over the last two years we have experienced tremendous challenges together. I have faced many difficult decisions as mayor. I’ve been on council since 2018, I’m energized to continue our ambitious work together. We have much more to accomplish on social justice, policing, COVID recovery, sustainability, and climate action.
I've never been more certain that we can achieve an Iowa City that is a beacon of collaboration, innovation, and prosperity. I hope I’ve earned trust and the chance to serve Iowa City for another four years.
How do you rate the city’s current performance? What areas are going well, and what could be improved?
For many years, City Councilors in Iowa City have prioritized advancing social justice and racial equity. The reality is that there is still a lot of work to do and there are still residents in our community who don't have equitable access and opportunity. But each year, we make incremental but meaningful progress. We continue to sponsor a Social Justice and Racial Equity Grant Program with $75,000 each year. Expansion of translated documents has been a priority of the City in recent years. Language should never be a barrier to full participation in the community.
The way those in our City moves is also important to reaching our goal of reducing carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. All city parking ramps are now equipped with electric vehicle charging stations. The City received a $3 million grant from the USDOT to purchase our initial electric buses. We launched new bus routes in August with the hope to increase ridership and create less dependency on vehicles. For our two-wheeled commuters, we continue to make progress on our Bike Master Plan.
We're committed to improving our parks and natural areas each year, adding amenities, and making accessibility upgrades.
The City's Climate Action and Outreach office also launched new energy efficiency incentives for industrial properties in TIF districts and provided $50,000 in climate action grants for projects like local food production for immigrant, refugee, and low-income residents.
What are the three largest issues facing the community and what will you do to address them?
Surviving and recovering from COVID has challenged us all. I appreciate everyone for doing their part and protecting others by wearing a mask as mandated. We have unvaccinated children and individuals with underlining health conditions that need us to help keep them safe. I will continue to follow the guidance from officials with the CDC and Johnson County Public Health. I ripped my mask off when they stated vaccinated folks no longer needed to mask and I quickly put it on again when the delta variant warranted that guidance.
The world witnessed the murder of George Floyd, which begun long overdue and tough conversations on an issue that is extremely and personally important to me: eliminating racial injustice in our community. Our city is making strides to make our city equitable for all.
COVID and witnessing the murder of Mr. Floyd, are two life-changing crises, and we have just begun to chart our path forward. As your mayor, it’s been my responsibility to keep everyone safe and engaged in the face of overwhelming fear and uncertainty.
When I first ran for council in 2018, I campaigned on the vision of Iowa City being a “Human Rights City.” I asked you to imagine with me: What does it mean to be a safe city where every resident has their basic needs met? Housing is a right and we have unhoused folks and people paying more than 30% of their income for rent. The city has and I will continue to designate city resources that provide for these basic rights.
How should the city facilitate more affordable housing options for buyers and renters?
In recent years, the City has committed $1 million for Affordable Housing. I look forward to the outreach work of our new steering committee tasked with recommending an updated Affordable Housing Action Plan. Recently, we made progress in increasing affordable units in the downtown with six units at the Augusta Place apartments and the acquisition of five units for public housing at The Chauncey. We are also excited that as part of the South District Homeownership Program, we have purchased and rehabbed homes that has impacted this area in so many ways. Besides some climate action effects and providing true affordable homeownership, this program gives hope to those in the neighbor. It creates joy when someone who's been a renter for years becomes a homeowner in the very neighborhood or property that they’ve rented for years.
Oct. 5, 2021, the City Council unanimously adopted a form-based zoning code in the South District, providing property owners more revitalization opportunities in this historic and vibrant neighborhood.
Elsewhere in and around the City, City Council has focused on creating sustainable solutions to development in our community.
If you were forced to cut the city’s budget, how would you approach these reductions? What areas would you look to for savings and why?
Annually, the community has been invited to “budget on a dime,” which is an opportunity for the community to prioritize and create a budget by what they feel is important. This process gives council and staff a sense of what's important in that moment and time from the public perspective.
Listening to the community is vitally important when budget cuts need to be considered. Although, I wouldn’t compromise our values even if we had to determine the best option within our budget.
What do you see as the most important pieces of the city’s “Preliminary Plan to Restructure the Police”?
The Preliminary Plan to restructure the police focuses extensively on a continuum of responses to crisis calls for service, a commitment to unbiased policing, and public safety for the 21st century. There were 36 recommendations and they're all vitally important. Although, I believe the most important element is for everyone on an individual basis to acknowledge and believe that the disproportionate effects people of color have experiences through our criminal justice system is not right and we each can play a role to change it. The belief must be held by every individual and not just our police officers.
What should the city’s state legislative priorities be and how would you help advocate for them?
Just a few priorities would include:
- Economic Development Tax Credit Programs: This program could be ways to attract a workforce to Iowa and grow its population.
- Protecting Local Control/Home Rule: Mask mandates, and housing regulations especially when it comes to rentals housing. Things such as a check-in list would provide documentation that would help tenants get their deposit returns.
- Advocate for the continued funding of commercial & industrial property tax replacement. — The loss of these funds negatively effects our city and would make it a challenge for us to provide our current level of services without raising property taxes.
- COVID recovery funds to help individuals and businesses to recover from the effects of COVID.
- Child Care solutions to ensure we have adequate, qualified, and highly trained staff in child care centers. We also have a deficit of centers that at this point requires the state intervention.
- There are several LGBTQ+ bills I believe we could support, especially those that attempts to erase Trans folk rights.
- Decriminalize small amounts of marijuana — an offense which contributes to the racial disparity in our criminal justice system.
Are there quality of life improvements that could be made in the city? What are they and how would you fund them?
The pandemic has encouraged people to spend more time outside, enjoying Iowa City's beautiful and well-maintained park and trail system. We continue to budget for improvements which sometimes takes years to get to. We’ve obtained grants in the past and we can continue to seek more grant opportunities.
What steps should the city/city council take to address gun violence?
The community has been in fear and the Iowa City police is doing what they can to work with members of the public to identify these bad actors. The council can assist by ensuring the public is on alert and feel empowered to reach out and report wrongdoing should they witness or have any knowledge of those performing these horrendous acts.