CEDAR RAPIDS — The head of the local ambulance service with a background in law enforcement has declared his candidacy for the third district seat on the Cedar Rapids City Council.
Keith Rippy, 65, chief executive of Area Ambulance Service, touts his background as a “team builder and change maker” with leadership skills that have helped him build a strong reputation in the community, in a statement released Thursday. He traces his decision to run to the support he felt during the 2016 flood, including when strangers rallied to fortify his home with sandbags.
“After the flood, I began to think, ‘How could I give back to the city that has helped me so much?’ ” Rippy said. “I am a candidate ... because I believe it is the best way I can serve our community.”
Rippy’s background includes a 20-year career in law enforcement. He later spent 18 months working on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice in Haiti to help establish Haiti’s first civilian police force, according to the news release. He has lived in Cedar Rapids since 2005, and he volunteers on the Cedar Rapids Public Safety Committee and Civil Rights Commission.
Rippy has pledged to focus on maintaining quality neighborhoods, prioritizing public safety and encouraging business and economic development, according to his website, KeithRippy.com. He also identified goals of improved streets, sewers and making flood protection a reality, including finding alternative funding to pay for it.
“Although federal and state dollars will likely support our flood prevention efforts in the long-term, we can no longer wait until that happens,” Rippy stated on his website. “I will collaborate with other city leaders to identify and secure alternative funding sources to implement flood protection for the immediate future.”
Rippy is running for the seat being vacated by Pat Shey, who said he won’t seek re-election. Former television reporter and parks commissioner Wade Wagner and Justin Wasson, a self-employed power washer and Wellington Heights neighborhood volunteer, also are vying for the seat.
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The third district incorporates the downtown and neighborhoods, including Wellington Heights and Kingston Village. The candidate filing period is Aug. 28 to Sept. 21, and the election is on Nov. 7.
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