NORTH LIBERTY — Voters elected RaQuishia Harrington to the North Liberty City Council on Tuesday.
Harrington, a recreation program supervisor, won the special election with 275 votes, of 33 percent of the 822 ballots cast.
The term lasts through the end of this year and fills the vacancy caused by the resignation of council member Jim Sayre, who moved to Arizona.
“As an avid youth and family professional, wife and mother, I have had the opportunity to work with and in part with very diverse groups to provide opportunities for all to thrive,” Harrington told The Gazette last week. “My ability to be transparent, relatable, fiscally responsible and committed to serving community has been proven time and time throughout the years.”
Six candidates were on the special election ballot.
Brent Smith came in a close second, with 253 votes, or 31 percent.
The other totals were Steve Sherman, 115 votes, 14 percent; Josey Bathke, 78 votes, 9 percent; Abdouramane Bila, 72 votes, 9 percent; and Matt Zacek, 29 votes, 4 percent.
Turnout was 7.2 percent of North Liberty’s 11,473 registered voters.
Harrington, 37, has lived in North Liberty for 11 years. Before the election, she told The Gazette she hopes to immediately work on the city’s sense of community by forming a committeeto “identify current gaps in basic amenities, housing trends and professional services.”
“I think this will serve as an opportunity to gain further insight while working on a comprehensive plan that truly represents our growing and diverse community,” Harrington said.
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The biggest challenges facing North Liberty, she said, are keeping up with the demands of growth in one of Iowa’s fastest-growing cities.
“Our needs for businesses, affordable housing and transportation, in addition to recreational and leisure opportunities, must keep pace with our residential growth,” Harrington said. “As we define our community, while preserving the small-town feel, we will need great vision and continued strategic planning that is inclusive and beneficial for many years to come.”
North Liberty council members voted 3-2 in January to hold a special election rather than appoint a new member. The election will likely cost the city between $2,000 and $3,000.
Harrington will be seated after an official canvass of votes nextg week and will be eligible to run in November’s regular city election.
She will join Chris Hoffman, Jennifer Goings, Sarah Madsen and Annie Pollock on the council.
Members earn a salary of $50 per council meeting attended.
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