116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — Coralville Mayor John Lundell will not seek reelection this fall, bringing to an end an 18-year run as an elected official in the community.
“That’s a long time serving the city,” Lundell said this week. “I’m very proud of what I’ve done. It’s probably a good time to let someone fill my chair and provide some fresh ideas and fresh perspectives.”
Lundell, 65, is in his fourth two-year term as mayor. Before that he served 10 years on the Coralville City Council. In his 41 years as a resident, Lundell also spent 20 years on the Coralville Library board of trustees and is a retired Coralville Fire Department volunteer. His wife, Diana Lundell, served for 15 years on the Coralville City Council.
“She was a great mentor for me,” he said. “You add us together and that’s 33 years of Lundells. That’s certainly enough.”
The last term has been a memorable one for Lundell, who led the city through a pandemic, social unrest related to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Aug. 10 derecho. But Lundell said those events didn’t influence his decision to not seek reelection. Rather, Lundell said he wanted to be mayor when Coralville’s Xtream Arena opened last fall.
“I was so proud of that project,” said Lundell, who includes the arena, the development of the Iowa River Landing and more than $60 million in flood protection efforts among his proudest accomplishments.
Lundell was elected mayor in a 2013 election that received national headlines and saw outside interference from Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group associated with the Koch brothers that challenged the city’s debt and use of tax increment financing. After Lundell’s win, he never faced a challenger for his seat.
“It shows I was able to prove myself in that first term as mayor,” said Lundell, whose first meeting as mayor included a visit from “The Daily Show.” “There was apparently not a large contingent of folks that didn’t agree with me. To me, it was sort of an endorsement of my leadership.”
Lundell, who retired five years ago as deputy director of the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, said he’ll miss representing Coralville and forming relationships in that role. Then-Vice President Joe Biden called Lundell the night of the 2013 election to congratulate him, and the two have stayed in touch since. Biden watched the 2019 Holiday Bowl at Lundell’s home.
Lundell said he has not endorsed a successor, but timed his announcement to allow anyone interested in running for mayor time to consider the decision before the Nov. 2 election.
“I didn’t want to wait until the last opportunity and say, ‘Hey, I’m not running,’” he said.
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