Government

Marion voters return incumbent city council members, mayor to office

But mayor says there still is trust to be earned

Neighbors toast the victory of Colette Atkins during a watch party Tuesday night at Goldfinch Eatery in Marion. Atkins was appointed to her Ward 1 seat last year, and was one of four incumbents on the City Council facing challengers in the election. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Neighbors toast the victory of Colette Atkins during a watch party Tuesday night at Goldfinch Eatery in Marion. Atkins was appointed to her Ward 1 seat last year, and was one of four incumbents on the City Council facing challengers in the election. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
/

MARION — Voters sent all four Marion City Council incumbents back for another term in Tuesday’s election, signaling support for the growing city to continue its strategy for development.

Mayor Nick AbouAssaly and at-large council member Paul Draper, as well as Ward 1’s Colette Atkins and Ward 3’s Will Brandt, will continue serving four-year terms on the City Council.

Election results: Full results from the Marion city election, other Linn County cities

AbouAssaly, 53, a lawyer at Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC, said he was proud to be a “Marionite.”

“I’m just really pleased with the trust Marion voters have put in me for another four years,” he said.

AbouAssaly, however, said this election cycle made clear that there are still divisions in the community the City Council needs to work to heal.

While AbouAssaly said this council has worked hard to be transparent with the public, that doesn’t mean members can’t do more.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

AbouAssaly said council members have convened meetings in each ward, held weekly office hours and been available at “any time” to answer questions.

He said he has personally spent “thousands” of hours meeting with residents.

“We’re willing to do whatever we need to do ... to answer questions, to be available,” he said.

AbouAssaly is excited for the future of Marion, a rapidly growing city of about 40,000 people, which he said has the potential to be the “jewel” of the metro area.

Draper, 85, will serve his third term on the Marion City Council.

While Draper said he was “worried” about the race, he was tickled to see the results.

Draper would like the City Council to continue talking about plans for the future of its library, construction of a new YMCA and the expected crunch at the Solid Waste Agency’s landfill in Marion if something isn’t decided in the next few years.

The landfill, especially, is of great interest to Draper, he said.

“It takes away or ability to grow to the north, which we desperately need to have because it’s really our last growth area,” he said.

Atkins, 46, of Ward 1, a dean at Kirkwood Community College, was elected for the first time Tuesday. She had been appointed last October to fill a vacancy on the City Council. She celebrated her election victory at a watch party at the Goldfinch Eatery.

Brandt, 44, is “pretty darn happy” about being elected to serve another term in Ward 3.

“You’ve got four incumbents that all won hands down,” Brandt said. “I think it speaks volumes for Marion, for how the citizens are viewing the city.”

Brandt said he would like to focus on the upcoming budget session.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

A citizen survey showed residents are concerned with infrastructure, particularly sewer and roads, he said.

In Marion, the mayor receives a stipend of $10,037 and City Council members receive $5,018 a year.

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.