CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man described as a community activist has announced his candidacy for mayor.
Jorel Robinson, 30, said he wants to engage younger people and provide a voice for those not part of the “establishment,” who he said currently occupy city leadership roles.
“If you look at the landscape right now you see a lot of people playing political musical chairs and there’s a population in Cedar Rapids feeling left out,” said Robinson, who is the youngest candidate in the race. “A big part of me wanting to run is a lot of them are friends and know each other and they are a good deal older. There’s an establishment in place and I am not part of it.”
He said by getting elected he would become part of the establishment and could provide an avenue to bring forth new ideas and voices.
Robinson is hosting a campaign kickoff at 5:45 p.m., Friday at Redmond Park, located at Third and Park avenues SE. The event includes food and drink and entertainment for children. It is free to the public.
Robinson’s priorities include programming for children to keep them active and out of trouble, building relationships between police and residents and growing the city’s technology sector, he said.
Robinson was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, having graduated from Metro High School, and now works at GoDaddy as a productivity specialist.
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On his campaign Facebook page, Robinson described the challenges growing up in a biracial family while his father spent time in prison and his single mother raised six children while working full time as a nurse.
“Growing up, I experienced what, sadly, many more kids than we like to think have also experienced,” he wrote. “Real life everyday struggle!”
Other candidates are City Council members Kris Gulick and Scott Olson, former director of the Department of Corrections 6th Judicial District Gary Hinzman, former City Council member Monica Vernon, attorney Brad Hart and pastor Tim Pridegon. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, who is running for governor, is not seeking re-election.
The candidate filing period ends Thursday. The election is on Nov. 7.
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