116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Opinion / Staff Editorials
The Gazette’s endorsement: Two competent candidates vie for Marion City Council
Note: Staff editorials represent the consensus view of The Gazette’s editorial board. Read more about the process: Previewing The Gazette’s 2021 election endorsements
In Marion, the race for an at-large City Council seat pits incumbent Randy Strnad against challenger Dale Monroe. Both candidates are capable public servants, but our endorsement goes to Monroe.
Monroe’s broad community experience gives him the edge. He is a former superintendent and principal at Linn-Mar and currently serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. He’s served with a wide array of community organizations during his 42 years in Marion, including MEDCO, the Chamber of Commerce and library board.
Monroe also showed us he has a good grasp of the issues facing Marion, including the future of the city’s airport, the development of Tower Terrace Road, guiding new development on the city’s east side and continuing to address long-standing issues spawned by the city’s heavily residential tax base.
Monroe said the city must plan for more commercial development, especially along corridors such as Highway 13. Commercial property tax growth is key to funding services in a rapidly growing community without putting much of the burden on homeowners.
A new aquatic center is on the horizon and a new city manager will take over in the coming months, and Monroe’s knowledge of the community will be an asset. The city faces a shortage of affordable housing and still is recovering from the derecho.
Monroe also said diversity is an issue in Marion, conceding, without prompting, the city has a reputation of being unwelcoming to people of color. Neither candidate favors the creation of a citizen review board to monitor police conduct, which was a disappointment to this board.
On the subject of regional and local government cooperation, Monroe said he supports a regional approach and would favor the creation of a periodic joint entities meeting where elected officials from cities and Linn County would discuss topics of regional interest.
Strnad deserves credit for serving on the City Council in tumultuous times as Marion dealt with a pandemic and the August 2020 derecho that devastated the community. Regardless of which candidate wins the race, the city will be well-served.
(319) 398-8262; email@example.com
Opinion content represents the viewpoint of the author or The Gazette editorial board. You can join the conversation by submitting a letter to the editor or guest column or by suggesting a topic for an editorial to firstname.lastname@example.org