Government

Conservative activist Gage West seeks at-large Cedar Rapids City Council seat

CEDAR RAPIDS — A young conservative activist is seeking an at-large seat on the Cedar Rapids City Council, he announced Thursday.

Gage West, 18, who lives in the southwest quadrant, said he would table his partisan positions on national issues to focus on the nonpartisan council and would “work across the aisle” with council colleagues and those in other branches of government.

“I’m young, I’ve been in politics for five years, and I have new ideas,” West said. “If voters give me the chance, I’m looking forward to representing all citizens of Cedar Rapids.”

If elected, West would be 19 when he takes office, making him the youngest council member in recent memory, and possibly ever.

West is a lifelong Cedar Rapids resident. His top issues include better serving veterans, seniors, small businesses, and at-risk and foster kids.

“I want to be a voice for the voiceless,” he said. “I believe our City Council doesn’t pay attention to veterans as much as it should, and I think they left business in the lurch with ‘newbo evolve,’ ” he said, referring to a festival last summer.

Money invested in infrastructure — particularly roads — could be better spent, redevelopment of the former Westdale Mall is not as promised, and stronger lobbying would have brought flood protection money to Cedar Rapids more quickly, he said.

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West has a background as a political consultant, speaker and volunteer, he said. He previously worked for the Populist Wire, a conservative blog, but said he no longer is affiliated with it and doesn’t align with its views, noting it has “gone extreme.”

Two of the three at-large seats, which have four-year terms, are on the ballot. Incumbent Ann Poe and union leader Pat Loeffler also have announced their candidacies. Incumbent Susie Weinacht announced she will not seek re-election.

The filing period to run is Aug. 26 to Sept. 19. Voter preregistration deadline is Oct. 25, and the election will be Nov. 5.

In Cedar Rapids, when two seats are on the ballot in an at-large race, a candidate must receive at least 25 percent of the vote to win without a runoff. The part-time council position pays $18,391 annually.

• Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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