116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — A former principal and superintendent of the Linn-Mar school district has announced his candidacy for the Marion City Council.
Dale Monroe told The Gazette on Tuesday that he is running for one of the at-large seats that are up this election cycle.
“I think I can make a contribution to an already progressive city council,” Monroe said. “I decided to run because of my extensive background and knowledge of Marion, my work with the schools, the chamber, MEDCO (Marion Economic Development Corp.) and my understanding of business finance and strategic planning.”
Monroe, who has lived in Marion for 42 years with his wife of 48 years, grew up in Sioux City and received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.
“My wife and I originally came here when I became assistant principal of Linn-Mar and I thought I would stay a couple of years and move on, but turns out we realized quickly it's a great place to live, work and play so we just stayed here and enjoyed it,” Monroe said.
Monroe, now retired, most recently worked as chief administrator for the Cedar Valley Catholic Schools in Waterloo, but has also worked as a program manager at Kirkwood Community College and as superintendent of Anamosa Community Schools.
He has served on boards for the Marion Chamber, MEDCO, Marion library and various others.
He serves on the city’s planning and zoning commission as secretary.
The at-large seat he is running for is filled by Randy Strnad, who told The Gazette earlier this year that he is running for reelection, making for the first contested race this year in Marion.
In April, YMCA Development Director Sara Mentzer announced she is seeking the open Ward 4 seat on the council. Current council member Rene Gadelha told The Gazette earlier this year she is not seeking reelection.
Council members Grant Harper and Steve Jensen also said they are seeking reelection.
Harper was appointed to the City Council in May 2020 after late council member Paul Draper died three months into his third term.
Because of state code, Harper must run for a two-year term to reestablish the normal four-year cycle for the at-large seat he fills. Monroe was also a candidate to fill Draper’s seat, which ultimately went to Harper.
“I decided I’d run at some point,” Monroe said. “I decided if I was going to take the time to do this, I want to serve the community in an at-large role.”
Monroe said he thinks the current council has worked hard to be a professional, organized collaborative group, but he wants to have a larger role in helping shape the future of Marion.
“What I bring to the table is experience and evidence of being able to do strategic planning, to understand and operate in finances at the local, state and federal level and the knowledge I have of the community and its members,” he said. I think I can fill the bill and help create a plan that 50 years from now, people can look back and say, ‘Wow, it seems that city council took care of us.’”
Monroe said his biggest focus as a council member would be continuing to plan for Marion’s growth, including on the east side of town near Highway 13. He added that he is excited about Marion’s redevelopment in the Uptown District.
“There are a lot of exciting things about Marion right now,” Monroe said. “The biggest challenge is how do you move forward from that and make sure you don't go stagnant?”
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