116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
As we close in on this runoff election, I am overcome with gratitude. I launched this campaign in response to the request of the people of Cedar Rapids. After spending months listening to the stories of our citizens, I am even more committed to being the leader that this city deserves. I continue to focus on the important issues facing our city and our shared values. The people of Cedar Rapids need to be seen and heard by their leaders. I am a champion for the working class, for small businesses, for families, for all people who, for too long, have been ignored.
For my entire adult life, I have strove to make a difference by building coalitions, educating youth, helping those in need and working with people to reach their full potential. I pride myself on my demonstrated ability to bring people together. In Cedar Rapids, after spending a few years finding work and getting my kids situated, I have spent my time serving on boards, lending a helping hand where I could and leading the largest peaceful protest in the city’s history. This is how I live my life, and this is how I will lead our city.
As a volunteer, grassroots organizer and nonprofit board member, I have worked tirelessly to make Cedar Rapids a better place for all. I want to continue this work as mayor. My vision is one of inclusion and equity. It is a vision that believes we can promote local business and grow our economy, while strengthening the social safety net at the same time. My vision challenges us to move beyond the status quo, into a progressive future that works for all people. It is a vision that gives us a choice between change or more of the same.
After George Floyd was murdered, many of us were left stunned, but emerged with a renewed commitment to action. Ensuring that we live in a city where such an atrocity could not happen became our mission. There were two efforts in play: a group of young women organized a protest while another group of Black leaders was meeting to discuss top priorities in our city. It was my idea to bring these two groups together to create what came to be a historic movement in our city, one that led to the City Council’s unanimous vote approving our seven demands.
Despite differences of opinion, including Mayor Brad Hart’s refusal to continue negotiations with citizens, we persisted. We confronted our differences and found common ground. We built a coalition of unlikely people, including city staff and leaders from NACOLE (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement) to draft an ordinance that created Iowa’s second Citizens Review Board (CRB). Furthermore, the city subsequently engaged NACOLE to assist with training and onboarding those appointed to the CRB.
Establishing a CRB was a significant move forward for our city. We also need to move forward from the natural disasters that have disproportionately impacted our citizens. We need to ramp up flood mitigation on the west side. We need to remove tree stumps so we can replant.
We need to make affordable housing more accessible. We need more shelter space for our homeless population. We need to increase public safety efforts and confront gun violence.
This campaign isn’t about me. It’s about the future for you and your family, your job and your neighborhood. Cedar Rapids is a great place to live. Let’s take a step forward and make it even better. Together, we can break with tradition and make history on Nov. 30.
Amara Andrews is a candidate in the Nov. 30 runoff election for Cedar Rapids mayor.