116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Oct. 13, 2021 5:00 am, Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 3:26 pm
Mike Knudson, Laurie Goodrich, Hai Huynh and Cindy Riley are running for three seats on the Coralville council. ► Get to know the other candidates.
Name: Mike Knudson
Office sought: Coralville City Council
Age: 60 (born Aug. 17, 1961)
Occupation: Professor in pathology at UIHC; medical director of the DeGowin Blood Bank and Donor Center; physician scientist
Have you held office before? I am a first-time candidate for office.
Personal bio: My wife Beth and I have lived in Coralville over 20 years and raised both our daughters in Coralville. I also work at the University of Iowa and am a professor in the Department of Pathology. I am a physician scientist and currently am the medical director of the UIHC blood bank and donor center. I have done research in a variety of areas including cancer, transfusion medicine and COVID-19. In 2020, I initiated the convalescent plasma program at UIHC which has been used to treat over 130 UIHC patients with COVID-19.
I have roughly 15 years of experience as a volunteer in Coralville including Current Member of Coralville Planning and Zoning Commission. Former member of the Coralville Board of Adjustment and the Parks and Recreation Commission. I proposed a Coralville Community Gardens which remains in use today. I also participated in the Coralville Citizens Academy. I enjoy golfing at Brown Deer and am an avid recreational and commuter biker.
Why are you running for city council?
I have volunteered/served in various capacities for the city of Coralville for a long time and now with fewer personal commitments I felt like it was a great time to increase my service to the community and play a larger role in City development and growth. I think my experience and engagement with the community will allow me to have a major positive impact on Coralville. While I think Coralville is already a nice place to live, work and raise a family, I would like to see Coralville become the best place in Iowa and one of the best places in the country to live.
How do you rate the city’s current performance? What areas are going well, and what could be improved?
The city’s efforts in the Iowa River Landing over the last 10-plus years have been outstanding and I fully support those changes. It is my understanding the city’s deficit, which has been a problem in the past, has improved and their credit has also improved allowing them to obtain favorable loan rates. Some of the challenges the city faces includes infrastructure challenges in “old” Coralville related to the electrical grid, water lines and sewer lines. I would also like to see the city take advantage of solar power and potentially of electric vehicles for the city. Other areas that could be improved is recycling and composting. A new recycling center is needed that would ideally include a place to recycle glass.
What are the three largest issues facing the community and what will you do to address them?
I would like the city to help facilitate the private development of the area west and south of the First Avenue/Second Street interchange. This is a very attractive location for both businesses and dense residential living if it can be redeveloped. I would also like the city to develop plans to address the infrastructure challenges in “original” Coralville including water, sewer and electrical grid challenges. Finally I would like to see Coralville expand/improve its recycling programs/facilities.
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?
I would work closely with the city administrator and staff to address any budget challenges. Essential services such as water, street maintenance and solid waste removal would be maintained. Delaying costly new areas of growth (new road/facilities) might be an attractive way to address short term budget challenges.
What new policies might you propose for the city to enact? Why do you think they are necessary?
I am interested in looking at a variety of city policies related to parking, zoning and recycling programs. I am currently in the process of meeting with key city leadership and plan to complete this process before taking office after the election.
Are there quality of life improvements that could be made in the community? What are they and how would you fund them?
One major quality of life opportunity we have relates to the quality of water in Coralville. While I believe the water is safe, it is currently very hard water which results in most businesses and residences purchasing (if able) and maintaining water softeners. Without a water softener, the hard water is very hard on appliances, fixtures and dishes. Since not everyone in the city can afford to purchase and maintain a water softener we have many residents who are forced to utilize hard water which comes with many disadvantages. With modern water quality equipment we have the opportunity to provide high quality “soft” water to all. This would likely require municipal bonds to pay for this that would then be repaid mostly with water utility payments. For many residents, the increase in fees would be offset by the money they save in purchasing and maintaining water softners or in purchasing/maintaining new appliances, fixtures and dishes. You can’t be the best city in Iowa to live without high quality water for all.