Guest Columnist

Bedford: Restore trust and fiscal stability in Coralville

Barry Bedford is a candidate in the special election for Coralville City Council on Sept. 29.

My priorities for the City Council are recovering fiscal stability, cultivating community trust, and advancing social and racial justice.

Cultivating community trust is the first step. Our family has made our home in Coralville for 47 years, 43 of which I served Coralville as a peace officer solving daily problems and practicing conflict resolution. This work put me in touch with every street, neighborhood and school in Coralville — along with community nonprofits and businesses. I learned that progress and conflict resolution could only happen when trust is strong.

Community trust in cities and local government is in decline. My work taught me how to cultivate community trust: through real relationships, honest conversations, and genuine acts of service. This is the leadership style I will bring to the City Council.

I believe recovering fiscal stability is Coralville’s most pressing need. Our city has $340 million in debt. Much of that was taken out to build the Iowa River Landing, Convention Center and the new Arena. Taxes from TIF projects have been paying off this debt and Coralville has never missed a bond payment, but COVID-19 and the derecho have severely impacted our local economy. Consequently, Coralville’s budget and finances will be put to the test.

As police chief, I balanced one of Coralville’s largest department budgets for 28 consecutive years. As a City Council member, not only will I work with council to hold the line on spending and new development projects, I will be an experienced resource able to encourage and support city administrators as we steer Coralville to a firm fiscal position.

My final priority for City Council is advancing social and racial justice. Community life in Coralville must reflect the truth that every man, woman and child is created equal by God. As police chief, I put these values into practice by leading initiatives to recruit female officers and officers of color, oftentimes going as far away as Chicago to find candidates. I oversaw extensive training programs focusing on LGBTQ issues, mental health, domestic violence, and fair and impartial policing. My goal was to build a department reflective of, and specifically educated and trained to serve, Coralville’s diverse community.

I invite you to review my background & priorities for Coralville on my website: bedfordforcoralville.com, and vote for me on September 29.

Barry Bedford is a candidate in the special election for Coralville City Council on Sept. 29.

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