Government

Hai Huynh wins Coralville special election

She replaces council member who quit amid controversy

Hai Huynh (Supplied photo)
Hai Huynh (Supplied photo)

CORALVILLE — Coralville has a new City Council member — a city resident for two decades and a project coordinator for a food pantry.

According to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, Hai Huynh earned more than 50 percent of the support of the 1,813 voters who voted in Tuesday’s special election. With 951 votes, Huynh had a comfortable margin over fellow challengers Barry Bedford, Nick Burrell and Heather Seitsinger.

Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert said in social media that the 1,813 votes in the special election are likely the second highest in city history, behind only the 2013 election.

Huynh, 42, is the community projects coordinator for the Coralville Food Pantry. She also has served as a paraeducator at Coralville Central Elementary School and as a community volunteer.

In a statement announcing her candidacy, Huynh said her goals included prioritizing development that “puts everyday people first,” improving community mobility, addressing racial and economic justice and battling climate change through a community action plan.

Huynh replaces former council member Tom Gill, who quit in July after more than 28 years on the council. Gill’s departure came after he called Black Lives Matter protesters “criminals” during a workshop session. His remarks received condemnation from Mayor John Lundell and other members of the City Council.

The council could have opted to appoint a replacement for Gill, but instead chose to have a special election. Huynh will take office within 10 days of the votes being canvassed. She will then serve the remainder of Gill’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2021.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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