116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Council seemed poised for a shake-up leading into Tuesday's election. But results show the term shake-up might be an understatement.
Members of the coalition of candidates identifying as the Core Four — incumbent Jim Throgmorton and newcomers Rockne Cole, Pauline Taylor and John Thomas — swept the board in the Iowa City Council race, beating out challengers and unseating two incumbents.
'I'm speechless, I'm thinking of the four of us, it's going to be such a great group,' Taylor said. 'For us to sweep the election, it's a historic moment in Iowa City politics.'
Current District C council member Throgmorton and Cole took the two at-large seats, ousting incumbent Michelle Payne and beating challenger Tim Conroy.
In District A, Taylor unseated incumbent Rick Dobyns, and Thomas won the District C election, edging out Scott McDonough.
A total of 6,860 votes were cast in Iowa City, or 15.18 percent of registered voters.
Cole said the first task of the new council members will be to move away from campaign mode and begin preparing to join current council members Kingsley Botchway, Terry Dickens and Susan Mims.
After that, development — arguably the biggest talking point in this campaign season — will be the first item to address.
'We're going to move forward with reaching out and reconciliation, but I think priority Bo. 1 is going to be economic growth,' Cole said. 'I think what we're going to do is look at every aspect of the community and figure out where we can really grow.'
Throgmorton said those discussions could begin yet this year in the strategic planning process, which includes the current and incoming council members.
'I think extensive conversations will take place, beginning with our strategic planning session,' he said. 'Surely we will have something to say about what our priorities should be.'
With some of the members of Core Four expressing criticism for the current council's use of tax increment financing and approval of large-scale developments, particularly the 15-story Chauncey, Thomas said there is potential that the new council will be more open to the possibility of mid- to low-rise projects in the future.
While none in the Core Four have identified as anti-development, all four have said they feel the council needs to re-evaluate the use of TIF and place more emphasis on sustainable building and the inclusion of affordable housing.
But while some council decisions on future projects could change, Cole said that will only follow ample discussion as a whole.
'We're going to build upon what's already great, so those programs that are already really strong, we're going to leave untouched,' he said. 'Those areas that need to be improved, we're going to try to engage in spirited collaboration.'
So how did Core Four achieve a landslide victory?
Thomas said it was a mix of issues and positive campaigning, but added the results largely reflect the voting public's desire for change.
'I felt everything fell into place for us, we stayed on message, we stayed positive. I think what this tells us is the negativity does not resonate well in the community,' Thomas said. 'The people of Iowa City have spoken basically ... that we need a change.'
Come 2016, the council looks to see plenty of change, not only with new faces but also in the council's majority opinion.