Government

Virginia Miller elected to University Heights council

She wins with almost 70 percent of vote

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS — Virginia Miller was elected Tuesday to a City Council seat in University Heights.

Miller, 36, captured almost 70 percent of the vote — 178 to 79 — over her opponent, Doug Swailes, 58.

Miller served on the five-member council from 2014-15 and is a member of the City Tree Board.

“Now I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Miller said. “I’m grateful that my community trusts me with this responsibility, and I take it seriously and I’m excited.”

The seat was left vacant after Noah Hughes, who was elected in November, moved outside city limits. The term lasts through 2019.

University Heights, which is surrounded by Iowa City, has 748 registered voters. The special election saw a voter turnout of almost 35 percent.

Miller said the issue she brought forward during the election is using affordable housing to increase owner-occupancy in the city. She said something like Iowa City’s UniverCity program, which allows Iowa City to purchase homes around the University of Iowa, renovate them and sell them as single-family homes, could be used as a model.

“We now have a great opportunity to create a proactive program for converting older rental houses back into owner-occupied housing, and I’m excited to work through the details on that,” Miller said. “Now we get to come up with something that fits our needs here.”

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City Council members are paid $200 per quarte and serve two-year terms. Miller will join council members Nick Herbold, Dotti Maher, Liesa Moore and Silvia Quezada.

Miller is an arborist and recently earned a graduate certificate in urban forestry from Oregon State University.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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