Government

Hart and Vernon pick up more endorsements

Local lawmakers back Vernon, more council members support Hart

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Just days before a runoff election to pick a new Cedar Rapids mayor, two more City Council members came out in support of Brad Hart and several local Democratic state lawmakers announced their endorsement of Monica Vernon.

In Saturday’s endorsement of Vernon, state Sens. Rob Hogg and Wally Horn and state Reps. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, Todd Taylor, Liz Bennett and Art Staed cited the businesswoman and former two-term City Council member’s work helping the city bounce back from the 2008 flood and her leadership skills.

“Monica is a strong advocate not only for the westside of Cedar Rapids but our entire community,” said Running-Marquardt, the District 69 representative. “We’ve worked together on tough issues, and I’ve seen firsthand how this hardworking Czech woman puts Cedar Rapids first.”

Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers also announced support for Vernon. They join several trade unions, Supervisor Jim Houser and former Supervisor Lu Barron, former Cedar Rapids Parks Commissioner Wade Wagner and current Cedar Rapids City Council member Ann Poe among those supporting Vernon.

Poe is the lone member of the nine-person City Council backing Vernon, while five have come out in favor of Hart after Saturday’s announcement.

Scott Olson and Susie Weinacht say they are backing the lawyer with Bradley & Riley because he is a community leader who they’ve worked with on local initiatives.

“Brad Hart is a community leader, who has the experience to lead our city forward,” said Olson, who was a mayoral candidate beat out by Vernon and Hart to make the runoff. “Having participated in numerous campaign forums with Brad, I am confident he is ready to maintain the positive momentum of Cedar Rapids and will keep political divisions out of City Hall.”

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Council members Pat Shey, Justin Shields and Ralph Russell already have backed Hart, along with former council members Kay Halloran, who served as mayor, Tom Podzimek, Don Karr, Chuck Wieneke and Jerry McGrane.

Dale Todd, who was elected in November to fill the District 3 council seat, called it inappropriate for current council members to make endorsements for the board, saying it makes things “very awkward down the road.”

Without making a formal endorsement, he stood up for Vernon.

“I am dismayed by those who question her leadership ability. This is a person who chaired the development committee during the most explosive period of growth this city has ever experienced,” Todd said. “That should count for something.”

Hart and Vernon face each other in Tuesday’s runoff to replace outgoing Mayor Ron Corbett.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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