Imagine an Iowa City that could be a beacon of progressive politics and tangible solutions to issues like climate change, low wages, inadequate affordable housing, and public transportation. I believe in this future and will work tirelessly to see it realized.
I moved to Iowa in 2015 for a green energy job with Green Iowa AmeriCorps in Decorah where I enrolled into my third year of AmeriCorps, a national and community service organization. I was trained as a home energy auditor and I performed blower door tests and installed efficient light bulbs, shower heads, and faucets in order to alleviate the financial stress of high energy, water and housing costs.
Many folks in our community struggle with their cost of living and are burdened by paying more than 30% of their income on housing and utilities. My family experienced this housing burden and we all had to take on low wage yet available jobs to stay afloat following 2008’s recession. I know from first hand experience the additional stress this hardship creates on families and their children living on lower incomes. I want to actually do something to alleviate the stress working families feel in Iowa City.
As a council member, I will work toward $15 per hour minimum wage for city workers, to expand options for public transportation, and prioritize the city’s Climate Action Plan. As a community, we can work together to ensure that all neighborhoods and those living in them have clean water, healthy food, and fair and equitable access to public services and amenities such as parks. We must do more for our youngest and most vulnerable residents, regardless of country of origin, class status, and access needs.
Iowa City has historically worked well for a certain genre of resident. We must be mindful of who it has and has not worked for and create a sustainable vision for the future of all of our residents. I believe that Iowa City can be the blueprint for how local policies can pave the way for innovation and equity. If elected, I will remain steadfast in my commitment to engage folks pushed to the margins through displacement, high cost of living, and other barriers to success that are present in our community.
This campaign is about an Iowa City community that has limitless potential to address poverty, build a sustainable future, clean our water, and prepare our young folks to be leaders. I am running because young people need to get involved in community issues and local politics. We must bridge the gap between the student population and the residents of Iowa City. We must come together to face the issues in our community. I will be a voice for all people. This includes Iowa City’s working class, students, renters, immigrants, people of color, and other marginalized groups of residents.
I respectfully ask for your vote in the special primary election on Tuesday, September 4 and the general special election on October 2. I look forward to working for you.
• Ryan Hall is a candidate in the Iowa City Council September 4 primary.