116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Sara Mentzer on Friday announced she would seek election to the open Ward 4 seat on the Marion City Council.
The seat represents northwest Marion and is now held by Rene Gadelha, who told The Gazette she will not seek re-election.
Mentzer, the YMCA’s development director, said people had approached her recently about running for city council.
“Rene [Gadelha] is doing a great job,” Mentzer said. “But when I knew she wasn’t running again, that got me thinking.”
Mentzer, 52, has lived in Marion 27 years with her husband, Mark. Their three children attended Linn-Mar schools, with her youngest graduating this year.
“I just love Marion,” Mentzer said. “It has grown so much in the time I’ve lived here. I want everyone that lives here to feel welcome, to feel at home. I want to be able to help build that. I want people to feel connected.”
Mentzer was heavily involved in the planning and opening of the new Marion YMCA. She serves on the Marion Aquatic Feasibility Study Committee, the Linn-Mar Safe Routes to School Committee and the Marion Independent School District’s Wellness Committee.
She is on the Linn County’s 5210 Committee and Obesity Task Force. She also was on the city of Marion’s Brand Development Task Force.
“I think I bring a grassroots involvement to this community,” Mentzer said. “I have enjoyed serving as a volunteer. I believe in Marion.”
Her goal in running, she said, is to serve the community.
“I have no political ambitions to do anything else,” she said. “This isn’t a steppingstone for me.”
An advocate for healthy living, Mentzer said she thinks it’s critical to continue to build Marion’s infrastructure.
“We have to make sure everyone can get where they need to go, and that’s not just cars,” she said. “We have to be thinking about people biking in our community. Can people walk where they need or want to? Do our trails connect throughout the community? And is it accessible for everyone?”
Mentzer said continued partnerships between the city and other organizations are important in attracting new businesses.
“We need to keep building connections,” she said. “That’s an ongoing process, but we have to keep bringing people in. We need to set a table that makes Marion attractive for businesses to move in or expand their business here.”
City council and school board elections will be Nov. 2 in Iowa.
Mentzer is the first person not currently on the council to announce for the seven-member Marion council.
Four council seats are on the ballot this year — the two at-large seats held by Randy Strnad and Grant Harper and the Ward 2 seat (northeast Marion) held by Steve Jensen.
Ward council members must live in the ward they represent. Council terms are for four years.
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