116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It seemed every day of 2020 presented a new situation. From the derecho to racial injustice to a pandemic, my first year as mayor of Iowa City taught me that no elected leader has all the answers, but every elected leader has the tools to get there — the voices of their people.
I have always believed input from the community will yield more innovative and equitable outcomes. The unique complexity of the challenges we have faced in recent years has confirmed that action without engagement cannot be the way of the future.
When our community demanded action to address the climate crisis upon us, our city acted swiftly. The community assured us those steps were not enough. We heard their fears and realized we could go further — adopting an accelerated climate action plan, hiring climate action staff and creating an appointed climate action commission.
We have dedicated $1 million annually to addressing the climate crisis and have set out on an ambitious path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
When the murder of George Floyd re-ignited our nation's fight against systemic racism, we heard the chants in our streets and the stories at our Listening Posts.
We have set out on a path toward re-imagined community policing, including investing in new partnerships with community health professionals, strengthening our Community Police Review Board ordinance and redrafting several policies while refocusing officer training to include a greater emphasis on bystander intervention and crisis intervention.
As our community grappled with how to better meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness, we listened to those in the community who work on the front lines of the housing crisis, as well as our downtown liaison officers that work daily to serve those in need of shelter.
As a community, we partnered to open winter shelters and pursue the first FUSE-Housing First project in the state of Iowa. The success of those partnerships has now led to the creation of a second Housing First project for the chronically homeless that has broken ground in Iowa City.
This past year the city also partnered with the Shelter House to help create the community’s first full-time position that is focused solely on street outreach services.
It is these examples and so many more that go untold that tell me we need to continually commit to engaging with our broader community. Iowa City is full of passionate, energetic people who love this great city and put in the time and energy to ensure it thrives and never stops moving forward.
Our community is engaged — as leaders we need to seek the voices, listen and continue to innovate and act.
One mayor will not solve all the hopes of today. Seven councilors will not find all the solutions for tomorrow. It will take all voices at the table here in Iowa City — which must include the voices of the young and old, gay and straight, Indigenous and people of color. So, let your voice be heard.
Bruce Teague is mayor of Iowa City.